American Catholic laity have expressed deep dismay over Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s decision not to oppose a group of homosexual activists marching in New York’s St Patrick’s Day parade next year.
In the face of years of controversy over excluding public homosexual marchers, the parade committee decided last week that Out@NBCUniversal, an LGBT group, will be given a place in the event. Cardinal Dolan said he had “no trouble with the decision at all” and that he thought the decision was “a wise one.”
In a follow-up statement, the cardinal – who will also be Grand Marshal at next year’s parade – said the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee “continues to have my confidence and support.” He added that neither his predecessors nor himself had “ever determined who would or would not march” in the parade, but have always left the decision to the organisers and that he “appreciated the cooperation of parade organizers in keeping the parade close to its Catholic heritage.”
Cardinal Dolan added that he would pray that the parade “continue to be a source of unity for all of us.” His supporters also argue that pro-life marchers will also probably be allowed to parade with banners and slogans.
But those opposed to his decision contend that Cardinal Dolan’s decision does break with the past, as his predecessors took strong positions not to politicize the event. The parade was also confirmed as a “religious procession”, and therefore constitutionally protected from including groups with views opposed to the Church.
Michael Hichborn of the American Life League called the about-face “a dereliction of duty,” LifeSite News reported. Pat Archbold of the National Catholic Register said Cardinal Dolan’s decision was “a shameful and sinful capitulation” as it was “nothing less than an endorsement of the normative nature of the gay identity.”
Meanwhile, George J. Marlin and Brad Miner, writing in The Catholic Thing, said the Archbishop of New York “truly is naïve if he imagines his participation in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade will not be seen by – dare we say? – most Catholics as yet another endorsement of the “gay” agenda.”
Phil Lawler, writing on the Catholic Culture website, wrote: “How has it come to pass, that a parade organized to honor the patron saint of Ireland has furnished the occasion for a major symbolic victory in the fight to overthrow Christian moral standards?”
Noting that Cardinal Dolan will also be Grand Marshal at next year’s parade, he said his participation will emphasize both the parade’s connection with the Church “and the implicit blessing of the participants.”
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