The decision by Cardinal Timothy Dolan regarding the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade seems to be another Rorschach inkblot test in St. Blogs and elsewhere. Opinions range from the Cardinal being wicked to modeling Christ with a range of positions in-between.
To summarize the situation as I understand it. The private group New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Inc. organizes the annual parade has allowed this year a LGBT group to march with a banner. Pressure has been mounting over the last decades or so, but up to now no message banners were allowed. They ran into sponsorship problems last year where companies like Guinness pulled out to due to this general restriction as applied to a specific group the LGBT community. So apparently this year they caved into pressure because of the PC sponsorship problem. There was never a restriction regarding people as described under the initialism of LGBT. To add fuel to the fire, this year Cardinal Dolan is the Grand Marshall.
Added in to this was another smaller controversy. Msgr. Charles Pope had written a post regarding the question “Time to End the St. Patrick’s Parade and the Al Smith Dinners?” At the time I had originally read his very balanced post, there was much I agreed with in general. Subsequently the was post removed.
Many of you have expressed concern about a blog post I wrote on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was removed. I am grateful for your concern about this and all the issues we discuss here. I removed the post upon further reflection due to the strong nature of the language I had used in parts of it. I apologize if the language I used caused offense. Source
It seems likely that he was first asked to remove the post from his Archdiocese. I certainly could find no strong language in his post (which can be read here). At the time I quipped on Facebook that the removal of this post would lead to a minor Striesand effect and that the post would be linked all over the place. Sure enough afterwards I saw this post on more blogs than usual even for the usual quality of the Monsignor’s writings. It even got covered on Brietbart, with a very misleading headlines (or the usual standard for headlines) “DC Priest Punished for Calling For End to Gay St. Patrick’s Parade in New York City”. Can’t say I was impressed with the content of the Austin Rose article which brought in ancillary complaints about the diocese and equated punishment with having a post withdrawn. It also reprinted the Monsignor’s column.
My own opinion concerning this has varied in reaction from wanting to go on full rant to ultimately decide on a waiting period to digest before pushing “post”. I think part of my original strong reaction to what is really a parade that has lost any serious connection to St. Patrick himself as a saint was that the increased pressure on Catholics and others to give up any objection to same-sex acts. Over and over we are getting pressured out of the public square. For example the President’s recent executive order regarding LGBT workplace discrimination with again no religious exemption. Constantly in the headlines are stories regarding fired teachers or organists who had attempted to get married or gotten pregnant using IVF. The mechanisms of society are bent on displaying Catholics as ignorant bigots with no possible defense regarding same-sex acts. Plus combined with the Cardinal’s less than helpful remarks regarding Michael Sam it just seemed like a long retreat from defending Catholic teaching.
Still what it comes down to is my prudential answer to the situation, did not match the Cardinal’s prudential answer to the situation. God is his great wisdom and mercy did not make me a priest or worse a bishop. So while I would rather he step down as Grand Marshall at the minimum, I am not going to freak out over it. I wish he could use it as an opportunity for a “magisterial moment” a play on “teaching moment.” Condensing Catholic teaching or really the natural law down to a sound bite has a high-decibel signal loss where the only information that gets trough is that your a bigot.
After forcing you to read though my reaction, I would like to point you to some pieces that I thought especially good (which means I agreed with them). Interestingly this two pieces are both a reaction to what Elizabeth Scalia at Patheos had to say regarding this situation.
The first being a post from the Darwin’s The Prodigal Son Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Means.
The other is Steven Greydanus Gays, Jesus and St. Patrick’s Day. He explores both the analogies and disanalogies of the story of the woman caught in adultery. He also goes on to quote Phil Lawler of CatholicCulture.org:
If this really is a Catholic event, it cannot include a group defined by its opposition to Church teaching. If it is a Catholic event, forget Guinness, forget NBC, forget the hoopla, and quietly honor St. Patrick.
But if it is not a Catholic event — if it is just another civic celebration, to which all are welcome, regardless of their attitude toward the Church — then it’s time to end an anachronism. There should be no reviewing stand outside St. Patrick’s cathedral, no sign of Church sponsorship. Cardinal Dolan should step aside as grand marshal.