Gay Bullies, St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Cardinal Dolan

by Steve Ray on September 7, 2014

Al Kresta writes:

(I am out of the country and not up to date on the matter but wanted to provide Al’s response to an objection.)

Why the Cardinal was so inarticulate in discussing this change and forfeited a teachable moment puzzles and disappoints me. But that he “caved in” doesn’t. He hasn’t caved in, he has recognized the handwriting on the wall and decided to redeem what he can.

While he doesn’t formally control the parade, he does exercise an informal moral authority over it. His predecessors did not have to deal with the problems of the greatest financial supporters of the parade leaving. That’s why they look heroic by comparison. The organizers of the parade now respect Guinness and Heineken as much as the Cardinal Archbishop. That wasn’t true when Cardinal O’Connor was in town.

I am virtually certain that taking a separationist approach is wrong. From my read of the historical moment, it is fundamentally a result of frustration and only cedes territory to the bullies which is still almost entirely ours.

Think of it this way: Catholic parade organizers own 20 acres of property for Catholic residences. They have been forced to shave off a few yards for a gay organization to put up a shack. The rest of the property is lined with Catholic tents and lean-tos and sheds. Only the news media will focus on the shack which sits on a few yards.

They will do it for one or two years. After that it is old hat and the gay participants will be lost amidst the welter of all the other Catholic organizations flying their flags and banners on top of their sheds and tents.

When all is said and done this is a civic parade rather than an ecclesial procession. We don’t control it even if the organizers do it in the name of St. Patrick. If it was run by the Church like the Church regulates the pulpit and the Eucharist, the gay activists would not have had a chance. But the Church doesn’t control the parade.

The “walk away and leave it to the bullies” approach creates the illusion of taking a principled stand while just giving away the store. We can’t insure that people whose philosophies are incompatible with Catholicism will be forbidden to march. In the Church, they must be purged. But in popular cultural events like this we don’t have the jurisdictional authority to do so.

So do we keep the weakened moral authority we still have or do we say that because the parade is now an imperfect witness we will let the bad guys completely sabotage the parade? Why buy the media’s narrative that homosexual activism is at the heart of the parade. It isn’t. It is a momentary sideshow!

If the Cardinal Archbishop decides to leave, I think it guarantees that the Saint Patrick Day’s Parade will go the way of Irish kitsch and green beer. Remove the Church’s presence from the parade and you’ve given it away to the bullies. We stay on point and we can still dominate the parade. The presence of the gay organization will get attention for the next year or two and then it will cease to be of interest.

In the meantime, Catholic organizations can now fly their flag more boldly than in the past. Giving in to bullies is not wise.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ricardo September 7, 2014 at 4:37 AM

Al, Steve, I am afraid I disagree with your point of view. The fact that the parade is named in honor of St Patrick makes it a Catholic parade. It may not be an official Church activity but it is intimately tied up with the church. Every movement that has gone against church teaching always starts with an inch, the shack, to use your words, and ends up with the whole lot. Yes Card Dolan’s predecessors may not have the same problem with gay movements but they had their share of moral heresies, like the pro-hoice movement. I can’t understand why you would think that there are only two ways out of this predicament, to accept (redeem the moment …which I also don’t agree to be so) or to quit and let the gay bullies take over. There is a third way and it is to take the stand and insist to the organizers to stick with what has always been traditional Catholic practice, OBEDIENCE , and that the parade is is in honor of a Catholic saint and must in no way be tainted with moral ambiguity with the likes of Dolan giving his ascent to the gay paraders as they walk by. This burning “shack” will take the entire house down and if faithful Catholics can’t see this, then we are doomed to forever be at the mercy of these bullies.

Des September 7, 2014 at 5:32 AM

As you say, this is a civic not an ecclesiastical procession. Why give anti-Catholic groups more fuel for their indignation. The Cardinal is trying to defuse this bomb of 1st world self-righteousness, rather than set it off. Compared to the genocide of Christian communities in the Middle East it’s a non-issue. I’ve read a lot of truely vicious comments about Cardinal Dolan on Catholic websites, really nasty comments. He deserves our support in trying to turn off the media spotlight on this silliness.

MPQ September 7, 2014 at 8:59 AM

“give it away to the bullies” give me a break, what would Jesus say or do if He was presented with this issue, proudly lead as the Grand Marshall?

Angie September 7, 2014 at 9:03 AM

I tend to agree with Al’s point of view on this one. How do we know that Cardinal Dolan won’t take this opportunity to exercise his teaching authority in the time period leading up to the parade and perhaps even during the parade and do his part to admonish the sinners? For as important as obedience is in the Church, its funny how every time it is something with which many people may have a different way to take the “pastoral” approach, there isn’t obedience without a lot of hooting and hollering about the approach a particular bishop takes. I realize we live in a world, where this is very little trust among individuals, and that we are divided in pretty much everything we do, but in small matters, and large, it is the same thing. We in America just can’t seem to get the politics out of the church, even when the two should not be the issue.

Marjorie Morris September 7, 2014 at 9:50 AM

I think that the Cardinal has caved. He spoke at the Democratic National Convention. That sends a message that the moral issues the Democratic Party stands for are OK. It creates scandal. By letting groups that are opposed to Catholic Church moral teaching march in a parade honoring the saint who converted Ireland and the patron saint of NYC will create more scandal among a growing uncatechized population. Within a few years, this event will be just another freak show similar to any gay pride event.

Paul S. September 7, 2014 at 10:18 PM

The Cardinal is having to deal with problems his predecessors didn’t because he has been caving in for awhile now and this is the result of it.

Pete September 7, 2014 at 10:47 PM

This situation is exactly where Satan and the radical homosexual movement wants the Church to be. That being backed in a corner. It certainly is a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. The best thing in my opinion is to do exactly what our Lord commands in Matt: 10:16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” I think the best thing for Cardinal Dolan to do is just say. “You know, I have been watching this parade for quite awhile and honestly it’s just become an excuse for drunken buffoonery. Therefore, in my judgement it’s time to call the parade off. Those who sincerely want to honor the saint should do so on their own in their own way.” After all, this is exactly what this parade and feast day has become, (I’m sure he would have no problem backing this up by past police and accident reports) and when asked if the gay thing had anything to do with his decision he should just say that it’s a part of it. He could say something like. “I don’t think the saint would honored by the drunkenness, the buffoonery, or gays marching in the parade so it’s best to just call it off. If and when we return to the true spirit of the feast day, that being honoring the saint in a Holy and Pious way, then we can bring back the parade.” etc…….

Rob Sardegna September 9, 2014 at 2:01 PM


I’ve got a radical idea. Hold an alternative parade backed and sponsored by the Church that actually celebrates St. Patrick! Hold Mass at the Cathedral and then have an actual procession up and down Madison Avenue with a large figure of the saint and perhaps even he blessed Sacrament while the other parade is on 5th. People can therefore choose between drunken revelry or giving homage to a true historic man of God. That way, there can be no mistake where the Church stands on this issue. Unfortunately, though I’m sure Cardinal Dolan has good intentions, he is creating confusion in the minds of Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

David September 10, 2014 at 7:48 AM

“His predecessors did not have to deal with the problems of the greatest financial supporters of the parade leaving. That’s why they look heroic by comparison.”

Steve, I am very disappointed in your statement. Me thinks that the Cardinal’s predecessors did have to deal with exactly these kinds of issues. St. Paul for one.

STEVE RAY HERE: David, next time read more carefully. I made it very clear this was not my opinion, I was posting the opinion of Al Kresta. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Bill Russell September 16, 2014 at 11:38 AM

You are wrong in your description of the parade. The NY State Supreme Court, in the time of Cardinal O’Connor, declared that it is “a religious procession.” Moreover, the official website of the parade committee says that its purpose is to “honor St. Patrick and the Archdiocese of New York.” Cardinal Dolan clearly is in above his head – a Midwesterner who who does not understand New York, and who lacks the brains and courage of his predecessors. I think his narcissist personality is deeply insecure, which is why he tries to clown around, beneath the dignity of his office. The whole thing is pathetic, and I doubt that the Holy See can easily find some way to remove him, as it did Cardinal Law. Meanwhile, the archdiocese of New York is in meltdown, with all vital statistics crumbling. Without some kind of change at the top, the future is grim.

STEVE RAY HERE: I did not describe the parade. I posted a journalist comments. Don’t kill the messenger.

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