The Catholic League, which has marched in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 20 years, will not do so in 2015.
Prior to the announcement that a gay group would march under its own banner in the 2015 parade, I was consulted by parade organizers about their plans. I told them that I could only support this decision if there were a formal revision in the parade’s rules governing marching units, and that is exactly what I said in my first public statement. To be specific, I asked them to pledge that a pro-life Catholic group would also be permitted. I was told that a formal change in the rules had been approved and that a pro-life group would march. Now I am being told that the list of marching units is set and that no pro-life group will march in next year’s parade. Accordingly, I have decided to withdraw our participation.
Why should this matter? For the past two decades I have been the parade’s most vocal defender of its rules. Repeatedly, I have said that gays have no more been banned from marching than pro-life Catholics have: members of both groups can march with other units; they simply can’t march under their own banner. Why? Because the parade is not about gays or abortion, or anything other than St. Patrick.
Attempts will now be made to pit me against Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Grand Marshal of the 2015 parade. The suggestion that I am at odds with the New York Archbishop is not only false, it is despicable. Cardinal Dolan has no more rabid supporter than Bill Donohue, and nothing that has transpired recently changes anything.
My reasons for withdrawing from the parade have nothing to do with Cardinal Dolan or with gays. It has to do with being betrayed by the parade committee. They not only told me one thing, and did another, they decided to include a gay group that is neither Catholic nor Irish while stiffing pro-life Catholics. This is as stunning as it is indefensible. To find out how this sad chapter unfolded, click here.