And after sparking headlines over the weekend, he says he will not resign over words that he now describes as “inartful.”
Details, in the Concord Monitor:
New Hampshire House Majority Leader David J. Bettencourt said he regrets calling the Catholic bishop of Manchester a “pedophile pimp” and has asked for a meeting with the Catholic leader to personally apologize for his “inartful” words.
But Bettencourt, 28, a practicing Catholic in his fourth term as a state representative from Salem, said he still has “strong opinions” on Bishop John B. McCormack and his ability to lead New Hampshire’s 290,000 Catholics because of his role in the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
Bettencourt, who is also a law student, said he has been receiving support from fellow Republican lawmakers and would not step down from his leadership post if asked to do so.
Many readers of UnionLeader.com also supported Bettencourt and told him not to apologize for anything. Patrick O’Malley of Nashua wrote: “Don’t back down … He’s a disgrace.”
But Bettencourt said the words fall below his standards, and he wants to “refocus” attention on the issues of the Legislature.
He said he’s also shut down his Facebook page, where he had posted the comments.
“Everybody needs to take a step back, calm down and humbly reflect,” he told reporters at a meeting at the State House majority leader’s office Monday.
“The terms I used were not appropriate for someone in my position and I take full responsibility for that,” Bettencourt said. “A man of God should not be addressed in that fashion.”
“Most regrettably, my comments were seen as an attack on the church and Catholics throughout New Hampshire. Nothing could have been further from my intentions. And to my fellow Catholics, I offer my sincere apology,” he said. “I failed to … separate the man from the church.”
You can read more here.
Also, local Catholics in New Hampshire have a few things to say on the subject.