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Pelham - Windham News April 8, 2011 - 3

The Word Around Town... Letters to our Editor

An Open Letter to Bishop McCormack

Bishop McCormack, I wanted to take a moment to write to you regarding my comments made yesterday that were directed at you.

Upon humble reflection, the characterization

of my feelings towards your leadership as bishop was at best undiplomatic and a better choice of words was both warranted and appropriate. I pride myself on “calling it as I see it” and standing strong for the things that I believe in. But in this case my frank words detracted from my genuine sentiment, one which is shared by many Catholics in New Hampshire and across the country. All too often, we express the greatest degree of raw emotion when we are hurt, such was the case here.

My comments emanated from the deep hurt brought forward by the damage caused by the sex abuse scandal that engulfed our church, which has resulted in thousands turning their back on the church, particularly for those of my generation. Unfortunately, your role in that scandal has, in my opinion, hurt the Church in ways that will take decades to repair. As a practicing Catholic myself, I cannot

separate your involvement in what has been the darkest period in our Church’s recent history. While ultimately the Lord will judge each of us, many people judge our faith by our leaders and I feel that it why a large number have left the Church. For many Catholics, your presence as Bishop is an ongoing reminder of an evil that was perpetrated on those most vulnerable and innocent. I came of age in the faith during the height of the sexual abuse scandal and when many were walking away from the church, I remained. I stayed in the belief that the Christian faith and our Church were more than the few individuals who betrayed one of the greatest trusts a man can be given—that of a priest. Some have suggested that it is time to move on from that hurt, but for many of us this is simply not quite so easy. My comments were in no way were intended as an attack on the Catholic faith, the Church, or on the position which you hold. I remain a committed member of our church and am proud to be so. They also had nothing to do with your message of caring for those else fortunate than ourselves. My comments reflected my feeling toward someone who, in his position, played such a prominent role in a terribly dark chapter in the history of the Catholic Church. I encourage all citizens who wish to come to the State House and have their voice be heard to do so, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with their message. But to be criticized for failing to protect those who are “vulnerable” by someone with your own history of protecting the vulnerable was more than I could stomach. It reignited all the feelings that I have worked to control in seeing that damage to the Church that this scandal created. I have been dismayed by the criticisms that

the House budget shows a disregard for the poor or disadvantaged when in reality the Finance Committee and many in the House of Representatives poured their hearts out to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society were not disproportionately hurt by our work to have the state live within its means. The New Hampshire House of Representatives is essentially comprised of volunteers who care about the state and want to serve their neighbors and make society a better place. Any notion that we neglected the most vulnerable in society is simply without basis. Ultimately we will all be judged by God and I’m sure there are areas where you have made our church stronger, but from my perspective it will be a much needed new chapter for New Hampshire Catholics when your retirement is accepted and we can bring new leadership to the church that is untainted by the past abuses. For many, this will be a much-needed step toward healing. However, as I feel it is critical for you, as a leader of our Church to consider your role and history when speaking out on issues of the day, I bear the same responsibility for how I represent myself, the House of Representatives, the state, and my faith. In this regard, I have fallen short of my own standards in my public comments. While I still feel considerable anger and hurt about the abuse scandal, you and certainly the public deserve better from me than colorful comments that are lacking in forethought. Rest assured that I appreciate the flaws of my statement and I know that you are aware that we are all human and for those who are believers, sinners. You have my word that I will use this moment as an opportunity for personal growth and will thoughtfully consider the criticism I have received.

Rep. D.J. Bettencourt - Salem What Our House of

Representatives Supported

The NH House voted Tuesday, March 15, to reduce the age students can drop out of school, to limit the recently approved anti-bullying law, and to allow parents to remove their students when they object to material or programs. On March 31, they voted on a budget to totally

destroy the spirit of middle class families, unions, and mentally challenged services. Is this why you voted our 13 Republican Representatives into office? What does this have to with spending and creating jobs? The House voted 210-134 to approve HB 429,

which returns the mandatory student school attendance age from 18 to 16 years old. Actually,

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jobs, but how hard it will be for those dropping out at 16 to find a job. Supporters of the bill said the change in law approved in 2007 gives a school superintendent control over the wishes of parents and their children to continue their high school education. And could also be a reason New Hampshire had such a low percentage in dropout the last few years. Well, there goes that percentage.

Education Committee member Rep. Charles Brosseau (R-Campton) said, “This is about parental rights and local control. This restores the parental and children’s right to decide and keeps the bureaucrats out.” The bill would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to drop out of high school with their parents’ permission. Is this what you voted for and elected our current State Representatives to do? The House also voted 248-96 (with all 13 in our district voting yes) to approve HB 370, which limits school involvement in bullying incidents that occur off school property, eliminates a superintendent’s waiver to inform parents about bullying incidents, and eliminates a list of reasons that may trigger student bullying, including sexual orientation.

Supporters said the bill preserves parental rights and reduces the overreaching of schools.

Rep. Ralph Boehm (R-Litchfield) said the

change requires that parents to be informed about bullying incidents. “Someone who sees a child five hours a week knows a child better than the parents? I don’t think so,” he said. I thought our children were in school more then five hours a week.

Once again, I ask you, is this why you voted in our State Representatives? All 13 Representatives in our district voted

to have these bills passed. I only hope when it reaches the Senate, they think more clearly. And save the best for last: A bill that ends mandatory licenses to carry a concealed pistol or revolver, HB 330, passed 244-109, with all local State Representatives voting yea. The bill allows most people, except convicted felons or those with a history of mental illness, to carry a concealed weapon, loaded or unloaded, without a license. The bill also repeals a law banning transport of a loaded gun in a vehicle and cuts the license fee for non-residents to $50 from the $100 level in effect now. So, now everyone can carry and NH gets less revenue. Is this why you voted them in?

Jane Lang - Salem

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