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.