Some of you have been asking me what are my thoughts on the St. Patrick’s parade and Cardinal Dolan “scandal.” I often remain neutral until I see all the facts. Once I do, I then give my thoughts on the situation. Well here it goes…
For those of you who haven’t kept up with this situation; basically, the St. Patrick’s day parade committee of New York decided to allow a gay group to march in the parade under their own banner. For decades any group representing a political ideology were banned from march, including Pro-life groups. You can read more here: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2014/09/rainbow-beats-green.html
This decision to allow a gay group to march was called a “wise decision” by Cardinal Dolan who is the Archbishop of New York. He was also named the Grand Marshal for the 2015 parade and accepted with pride. This angered some in the Catholic blogosphere, especially those who take a more “conservative” “traditional” approach to Catholicism. Here are some of the blog links, tweets and even an angry judgmental video I found of reactionary Michael Voris who is banned in many dioceses from speaking.
— CatholicsTweet (@CatholicsTweet) September 14, 2014
— Chris (@Chris_1791) September 14, 2014
@CardinalDolan what an inane piece of drivel. Let your Yes be your Yes and your No be your No anything else is from the evil one.
— Stephen B (@holdencaul) September 17, 2014
— SINOradio (@SINOradio) September 8, 2014
Go ahead @CardinalDolan, be Grand Marshal of the big gay parade. This Irish Catholic is shaking the dust from her sandals and moving on.
— OpenlyCatholic (@OpenlyCatholic) September 17, 2014
Congrats to Cardinal Dolan who is expected to be named Grand Marshal at the 2016 Planned Parenthood St. Patrick’s Day Gay Pride Parade.
— Eye of the Tiber (@EyeOfTheTiber) September 11, 2014
Boy Cardinal Dolan has sure upset many people has he not??
Michael Voris went too far calling Cardinal Dolan “wicked” and that he’s in the “grip of the devil.” I guess he – who has a degree in theology – missed the part of the Catechism that talks about Rash Judgment. What he represents is not Catholicism but his own personal views. He is a reactionary polemicist and not a Catholic evangelist. Moreover, all these bloggers and columnists are overreacting to the situation. Cardinal Dolan is not endorsing the LGBT lifestyle by being the Grand Marshal anymore than Pope Benedict XVI endorsed Communism & Atheism by being photographed with Fidel Castro.
These Catholic bloggers have a right to their own opinions and also a duty to voice their concern to their pastors:
Canon Law 212
§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
However, they do not have a right to dictate whether or not a pastor is Catholic, nor judge him as being “wicked” or in the “grip of the devil.” Comments calling Cardinal Dolan a “liberal,” “wicked bishop,” or “unfit to be a successor of the Apostles” are totally uncalled for and unchristian. It is embarrassing to me as a Catholic reading these attacks against one of the princes of the Church who is merely performing his ministry of being a shepherd. I understand the concern these Catholics have with the Cardinal’s presence in the parade as a gay group marches and also understand that his words may have been interpreted as an endorsement of the LGBT lifestyle; however, this doesn’t mean the sheep must become rabid and bite the shepherd.
The problem here is that these writers do not understand what the Cardinal is trying to do. Like a pastor, he is reaching out to those lost sheep who fell away due to personal sin and what not. He is echoing the example of Pope Francis who said, “If someone is gay and seeking the Lord, who am I to judge?” To my knowledge, this gay group that is marching will not be endorsing their lifestyle. There will be no gay floats with strippers nearly naked with their buttocks out, or sexually toned displays as seen in Gay Pride parades worldwide. These people will simply march with OutNBC banners.
Many of these bloggers argue that the allowance of these LGBT people will tarnish the image of St. Patrick or take away from the saint’s holiness and heroic life; however, to my knowledge the St. Patrick’s day parade is a celebration of Irish heritage and is not a Catholic celebration. There are no Rosaries prayed along the route, no processions with the relics of the saint, no litanies, no bishops in choir or religious banners. The parade simply has men in kilts with bagpipes, members of different schools marching, marching bands, men & women in uniform and a few floats from sponsors. There is no retelling of the St. Patrick legends, nor any catechesis offered. For all intent and purposes, this parade is a secular parade. The archbishop of New York has no say in the parade at all. Moreover, let me add that I found the participation of the Catholic League odd because of the parade’s previous no political group stance since the Catholic League does present itself as a conservative group.
Anyhow, being Catholic does not mean that we have to treat non-Catholics or those who do not live as we do like social pariahs. This is far from what Christ wanted. We cannot be like the Pharisees who only had an elite group of Jews who they believed were in God’s favor while the others were pieces of garbage lying in the street. Jesus ate and drank with the sinners and sought the pariahs of His time even though they were not in conformity with Jewish law (Mark 2:13-17). It is embarrassing that many times even atheists and gay people themselves have to remind Christians of this.
Our Holy Father has warned us all not to fall into Catholic Triumphalism. We must not go about with head held high believing Catholics are the best. As human beings, we all have fallen short of the grace of God and should not boast even though we may have the fullness of the truth in the Catholic Church (Romans 3:23).
To the Catholics protesting Cardinal Dolan I say: gays are our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, cousins and nephews. They are everywhere whether we want to admit it or not. Most importantly, they are children of God and deserve our love, respect and welcome. Who are we to judge? Which one of us is fit to throw stones at Cardinal Dolan or the LGBT community? Jesus asked the same question to those who thought they held the power to judge the moral character and salvation status of others (John 8:7). He questioned those who thought they had the authority to be judge, jury and executioner. In reality, if we had the right to throw stones at others because of their sins then we all would be comatose right about now because each one of us is a sinner!
The catechism calls us to love homosexuals and be welcoming of them. Homosexuality is NOT a sin, homosexual acts are. Identifying oneself as homosexual is not a sin, therefore a gay group marching at the parade identifying themselves as Irish homosexuals is not immoral.
CCC 2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.
September 17, 2014
Explaining My Decision to Serve as Grand Marshal
I haven’t been in this much hot water since I made the comment, right after I arrived as your archbishop five-and-a-half years ago, that Stan Musial—my boyhood hero of my hometown St. Louis Cardinals—was a much better ballplayer than Joe DiMaggio!
Now I’m getting as much fiery mail and public criticism over my decision to accept the honor of Grand Marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. According to the critics, I should have refused, due to the Parade Committee’s decision to allow a group of self-identified Gays of Irish ancestry to march in the parade with their own banner.
As with Stan Musial, I’ll stand by my decision. However, enough of you have courteously expressed some confusion and dismay, that, as your pastor, I owe you an explanation. Let me try.
For one, the decision to change the parade protocol was not mine. The archbishops of New York have never been “in charge” of the parade. Although my predecessors and I have always enjoyed friendly cooperation with the Parade Committee—and still do—and deeply appreciate the identity of the Parade as a celebration purely of Irish heritage, intimately linked to the Catholic Faith, we’ve never had a say in Parade policy or the choice of the Grand Marshal. Nor did we expect or want one!
So, in the current “brawl,” (they have been hardly rare in the Parade’s grand 253-year history!), I did not make the decision! You will recall that I in the past often expressed support for the former policy—that the only banners and identification to be carried was that the group was Irish—and that I found it logical and fair. To those who charged that the policy was “anti-Gay,” I often observed that no one person, Gay or not, was excluded from the parade. This was simply a reasonable policy about banners and public identification, not about the sexual inclinations of participants.
I did not oppose the former policy; nor did I push, condone, or oppose the new one. While the Parade committee was considerate in advising me of the change, they did not ask my approval, nor did they need to.
However, I admit that, for most folks, this is not the reason they are upset with me, and this brings us to point two. Many of you, while acknowledging that the decision to change policy was not mine, feel strongly that I should protest it, publicly condemn it, no longer support the Parade, and refuse the invitation to serve as Grand Marshal.
While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions, I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision: you observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an “aggressive Gay agenda,” which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality.
Thank you for letting me know of such concerns. I share some of them.
However, the most important question I had to ask myself was this: does the new policy violate Catholic faith or morals? If it does, then the Committee has compromised the integrity of the Parade, and I must object and refuse to participate or support it.
From my review, it does not. Catholic teaching is clear: “being Gay” is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals. Homosexual actions are—as are any sexual relations outside of the lifelong, faithful, loving, lifegiving bond of a man and woman in marriage—a moral teaching grounded in the Bible, reflected in nature, and faithfully taught by the Church.
So, while actions are immoral, identity is not! In fact, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, people with same-sex attraction are God’s children, deserving dignity and respect, never to be treated with discrimination or injustice.
To the point: the committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture. I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching, but simply identifying themselves as “Gay people of Irish ancestry.”
If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object. As Cardinal John O’Connor remarked, we do not change the Creed—and I’d add, the Ten Commandments—to satisfy political correctness.
In fact, the leaders of the Parade Committee tried to be admirably sensitive to Church teaching. They worried that the former policy was being interpreted as bias, exclusion, and discrimination against a group in our city, which, if true, would also be contrary to Church teaching. While they were quick to acknowledge that, in reality, the policy was not unfair at all, they were also realistic in worrying that the public perception was the opposite, no matter how often they tried to explain its coherence and fairness.
I found their sensitivity wise, and publicly said so.
If, in doing so, I have shown an insensitivity to you, I apologize.
I share the hope of the organizers that the March 17th parade will be loyal to its proud heritage of celebrating Irish identity, culture, and contributions—all a beautiful part of Catholicism— thus bringing this great community together in unity and festivity, and look forward to leading it as Grand Marshal.