Friday, September 12, 2014

Cardinal Dolan and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad St. Patrick's Day Parade

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is going to be the Grand Marshal of the next St. Patrick's Day parade in New York. Which was fine and dandy until the parade organizers decided to allow a LGBT group to march with a banner.

So now you'll see a wide variety of Catholics speaking up on whether Dolan should still be Grand Marshal. Which he is, by the way.

My initial question is this: wasn't this LGBT group always marching? Why does them having a banner suddenly make it immoral, according to some, for the Cardinal to participate? Why weren't they bringing this up before? In my view very little has changed. Banner or no banner, this group would have been very obvious to anyone attending. To my mind, this is a non-argument for this very reason.

There's also some discussion out there that since the St. Patrick's Day Parade isn't really a "Catholic" event that the Cardinal shouldn't participate. So if he's ever asked to throw out the first ball at Yankee Stadium he should turn that down too? Again, I understand the sentiment, but this makes no logical sense.

The Curt Jester has a post which sums up various responses around the web, including links. I don't necessarily agree with The Curt Jester's personal conclusion, but his post contains some of the wisest words on the tempest over Cardinal Dolan's participation in the St. Patrick's Day Parade:
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. ..."
Would that more of us kept that in mind when discussing the situation.

I myself keep recalling how many ways Christ participated in common life while people tried to use situations to judge him ... paying taxes, teaching at the Temple, attending a Pharisee's dinner, eating with tax collectors (both Matthew and Zachaeus), recruiting a tax collector as a disciple (that had to be one of the worst offenses, right?), and so forth.

All these actions could be seen as making a public statement for or against a big issue. It just depended on what group you belonged to and what group you were worried about. In fact, some of the situations were setups for traps based on that very concept.

I don't know if Cardinal Dolan's choice is right or wrong. (I really can see the validity of the arguments on both sides, although the venom some exhibit is not at all Christian.) I do know it's not my choice to make and stewing about it isn't going to change things.

(Side note: I'm also struck by what a small issue this is when I look at what people were complaining about in our bishops ten years ago, when I began blogging. Compared to the weak examples back then on issues like abortion, Dolan still comes out on the side of the angels.)

I'm not a cardinal and I thank God that I don't have to juggle all the factors he does in trying to serve God. In fact, I think all of you should also be thankful I'm not in a position of any real power. God definitely knew what He was doing with that one.

No matter whose side you think is right in this situation, let's pray for our our priests, our bishops, our Pope, and Cardinal Dolan.


  1. I think he provides the perfect balance.

  2. He should attend/host only if a pro-life group can march...they have been denied. Plus, for the greater good Dolan needs to work with Peoria on Fulton Sheen's sainthood cause...territorial issues are so un-holy and seen as prideful. Sorry , the debauchery that St. Pat's Day has become needs some good old fashion religion. Getting hammered and passing out are the primary objectives of that day for many, and a smiling, jovial Cardinal leading such an event is not inspirational. If indeed this is where he needs to be, as you say, at least, he should try to drive the snakes out of NYC, not breed more with his good nature and his 'go along to get along' leadership style.

    1. As I said, I understand both sides and yours is but one of them. :-)

      As for Peoria, which really has no application to this post other than to express your disapproval of Cardinal Dolan, I have read much which shows it is not up to Cardinal Dolan but rests on Archbishop Sheen's own final request, as you may see here.

    2. Soooo, we put a hold on this for territorial reasons (or could it be financial reasons?) either way it truly stinks. Well done for the jovial Cardinal. Well done. NY Diocese needs the money so delay it for however long. Truly inspiring....

    3. I don't feel you really read the piece. To take Sheen's and his family's wishes into consideration is not being venial but considerate.

  3. Oh I beg to differ. This is a big deal. The Out@ NBC group may have marched before but if so they did under an NBC banner. The whole point was that there were no banners for ideological groups such as gay this or anti abortion that. Groups were schools, bands, Irish societies in professions such as police, firemen, etc. Groups devoted to or under the sponsorship of St Patrick. This one group that, so far, has permission to march has broken the rule. And the gays are not happy- because they want more. If one group can march, why not all or any? And for Cd Dolan to stand as Grand Marshal is an affront to all the Cardinals before him. Wait until the day of the parade. This will only get worse. Look at the NFL firestorm over the Rice video. This has taken over the media and the world of sports for over a week. Look at the Michael Sam media extravaganza. That went on for many weeks. This parade will be a controversy like no other. I predict more TV cameras than ever, more coverage, protests at and in the Cathedral, especially at the communion rail. We have a PC media promoting the homosexual agenda. This will not be good for the church..............

  4. Wisdom and logic expressed rationally:

    1. Stephen, I think maybe you think that I don't understand objections to the Cardinal's participation. I actually mulled this over for a while before deciding on what I thought. Crazy, right? Thinking over both sides. :-)

      I thought we would be able to agree to disagree. However, I am beginning to feel that you believe you can talk me into your point of view. I feel that Pia de Solenni expressed my point of view perfectly. I'd recommend you read her piece but I feel it would fall on deaf ears. The link is for those who may be interested in a well spoken articulation of the opposite point of view.

      "But at some point, so long as he’s not breaking the law – which he isn’t – or controverting Church teaching – which he’s not, we need to step back and give Cardinal Dolan, or Pope Francis, or any other bishop, or pastor, the space to live out their duties."