NEW YORK (RNS) St. Patrick’s Day is associated as much with Roman Catholicism as it is with Irish-Americans, but this year some of the faithful aren’t happy with the inclusion of gays and lesbians marching under their own banner for the first time in parades in Boston and New York.

The Knights of Columbus of Massachusetts and a local Catholic school declined to take part in the Boston parade on Sunday (March 15) after two LGBT groups — the military veterans service group OutVets and Boston Pride — were invited following decades of lobbying and court battles.

“The saint’s venerable name should not be cheaply misappropriated by nominally Catholic politicians and anti-Catholic organizations with a same sex agenda,” said Catholic Action League head C.J. Doyle, a leader of the opposition.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York greets a New York City firefighter while reviewing the 253rd annual St. Patrick's Day in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York on March 17, 2014. RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York greets a New York City firefighter while reviewing the 253rd annual St. Patrick’s Day in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on March 17, 2014. RNS photo by Gregory A. Shemitz

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The New York parade marches down Fifth Avenue on Tuesday (March 17), the saint’s feast day, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan is facing renewed calls from conservative Catholics to step down as grand marshal because an openly LGBT group is taking part for the first time.

When it was first announced last September that an organization of LGBT employees at NBC — the network that broadcasts the popular event — would be marching, Dolan voiced support for the parade organizers and prayed “that the parade would continue to be a source of unity for all of us.”

Critics ripped Dolan for his stance, and they ramped up their efforts as the day approached.

“Now there can be no doubt — Timothy Cardinal Dolan has been played for a sucker by the organizers of the 2015 New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade. He must step down as Grand Marshal,” Matthew Hennessey wrote at the website of Crisis magazine, a conservative Catholic media outlet.

“(B)y personally leading the procession, he blesses the whole shameful affair,” he concluded.

On the other side, gay and lesbian advocates and their supporters are stepping up protests because they say that more gay groups should have been included in the Manhattan pageant.

“It is clear that last year’s decision was just to placate the parade sponsors,” New York City Council member Rosie Mendez said last month. “Until my Irish queer brothers and sisters can march in this parade, I will not be marching at all.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this month that he would boycott the parade if more gay groups were not included; de Blasio did not march last year either in protest.

“We need something more for it to really feel like we’ve turned the corner. A lot of people feel — I think, rightfully — that that is too small a change to merit a lot of us participating,” de Blasio said.

Meanwhile in Virginia, the pastor of a Catholic parish in Norfolk cut ties with a local council of the Knights of Columbus after the group chose Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to be the grand marshal at its annual parade. McAuliffe is a Catholic who supports abortion rights and gay marriage.

The Rev. Dan Beeman of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Norfolk told parishioners on March 8 that “it is dumbfounding how the Knights could … decide to honor the Governor.”

Virginia’s two Catholic bishops, Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, issued a joint statement backing Beeman’s actions.



  1. The St. Patrick’s Day parades should be discontinued or just handed over to the LGBTQRSTMOUSE groups. Their only interest in marching is to rile the public and cause fighting within the historically Irish Catholic celebration.

    St. Patrick, bottom line, IS a Catholic Saint….one who would drive out the Gay Pride minority as he did the snakes in old Ireland.

  2. “The saint’s venerable name should not be cheaply misappropriated…with a same sex agenda,” said..Doyle”

    Bigoted fraternity boys on a bus sing a song about lynching blacks
    and they are rightly punished, humiliated and expelled in SHAME.

    But these bigots in their fancy Christian clothes disparage ALL gays and transgendered people.
    Are they punished? Do they feel shame?

    Not at all. They throw a PARADE!

    Religion makes otherwise nice people act like nazi jerks.
    Shame on everyone who would participate in this fascist nonsense.

    • The non-religious should steer clear of the religious.. as should the pseudo-religious who demand religion change to their liking.

      Hate fuels the atheist to action, Religion is only responding defensively to this hate.

      • Maybe if some religious folk understood that their beliefs are not license to act in a malicious and harmful fashion, they might be accorded respect.

        I don’t see atheists lobbying legislatures for legalized discrimination, but it is par for the course of some people calling themselves Christian. Hardly a “defensive” response.

        I guess when someone has exerted undue privilege for so long, equality fairness and civility is looked upon as “persecution”.

      • James Carr,

        “Hate fuels the atheist to action, Religion is only responding defensively to this hate.”

        Wrong again.
        Atheists are simply asking religious people to stop attacking everyone.
        We are asking you to stop forcing your religion on the rest of us and stop inciting murder and hate:

        “The only cure for homosexuals is that they be put to death” – Pastor Robbie Galaty, Tennesee Megachurch, Sept 4, 2014

        People are being killed because of Pastors and Priests keep insisting that gays are evil – Gays are not evil. Gays do not deserve this blatant discrimination and cruelty.

        “Kill my enemies in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

        This nonsense is useless, harmful and indefensible.

        • Atheists are discriminatory rabble rousers. If their minority opinion of a godless universe is their outlook, then why bother at all w/religious matters.
          Atheists should go about their lives disinterested in the majority mindset, and spend their finite life enjoying their self-pleasure, their mythical world that came about by itself, and have a good laugh at the mainstream population that is not as wise as you.
          Oh, and your quote accredited to Jesus is included in a Parable. Now get your thinking cap on a look that big word up.

          • @James Carr,

            “Atheists….why bother at all w/religious matters..?”

            It is apparently not enough that you have your god – you have to force it on the rest of us?

            I don’t think your god is real and until you have evidence that it is you need to keep stop making laws forcing this nonsense on the rest of us.

            The St. Patrick’s Day Parade should be permitted to go forward – freedom of speech demands it – and I support your right to it.

            But it should be called what it is:
            A fascist show of force against Gays and non-believers. They might as well be wearing Swastikas.

            And I know what a Parable is: A veiled attempt by Jesus to hide behind his true feelings!
            “Execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

            You don’t think Jesus meant it? Tell that to the 400,000 dead witches who died at the hands of priests. What a despicable set of beliefs!

          • Charlie Sitzes

            “Atheists are discriminatory rabble rousers. If their minority opinion of a godless universe is their outlook, then why bother at all w/religious matters.”

            “Atheists should go about their lives disinterested in the majority mindset, and spend their finite life enjoying their self-pleasure, their mythical world that came about by itself, and have a good laugh at the mainstream population that is not as wise as you.”

            Speaking of minorities, Mr. Carr, are you aware that only 67% of our planet’s population of 7.2 billion reject Jesus as their personal savior? And of the 33% who do, half of them (16.5%) think the other half are headed straight to hell.

            That’s what priests tell clueless Catholic adherents about Protestants and what Baptist preachers tell their clueless adherents about Catholics. Whichever side you are on, you are in a distinct minority. How on earth can an entity proclaim a religion for 2000 years and, even with a god on its side, be batting only 16.5%?

  3. DeaconJohnMBresnahan

    It was great to see so many in the media, the political world, and gay activist groups demand to be included in a parade celebrating a Catholic saint and all he stands for morally.
    But every intelligent person knows that this was not the honest case, but a fraud and a sham. It was just a power play to crush those who have sincere moral objections to the gay agenda.

    • DeaconJohn,

      “sincere moral objections to the gay agenda.”

      You claim there are MORAL objections to helping a harmless minority? What a bigoted, wicked thing to say!

      You think there is a Moral Argument for inflicting harm on a minority!!?
      Religion makes people say such stupid things!

      Religion is such immoral, inhumane nonsense.

      • What harm is being inflicted on the gay minions? From my viewpoint, they have carte Blanche to satisfy their every whim…..and god forbid anyone says one tiny word against their lifestyle. It’s an “Emperor’s New Clothes” world where everyone is terrified to speak up for fear they will be libeled, lose their job, or be labeled a homophobe. This mea culpa mentality towards gay “discrimination” needs to end. No one cares what they do in their beds, just please don’t raise a flag of righteousness about it.

        Just read an article on a Playboy interview of a Black hip hop “star” who states she hates this country, especially the rich, fat, white ones in Middle America. Wonder if a white person could espouse such hatred today. Same goes for the overwrought gay whiner, who can say whatever and be sent roses of congratulations, but an opposite view is publicized as right wing conservative religious fanatical ignorance.

        Yeah, the gays are fair!

        • Gays have done nothing to you.

          You simply claim superiority
          and you claim the right to tell them they are “wrong”.

          You base this on the authority of your murderous god:
          “Homosexuals must be killed” – God (Leviticus 20:13)

          Yet gays have no book threatening you, no law demanding your death.
          Shame on you.

        • @Michael,

          If you are going to imply that gays are harmful, you better have some dramatic, solid evidence. Otherwise stop being a bigot.
          The fragility of your preening sensibilities is irrelevant.

      • Charlie Sitzes

        Nor do we have atheists shooting abortion doctors in the face.

        Delusion: “A persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence, especially as a sign of a psychiatric condition.”

        And to think, we have six on the Supreme Court who had their views chiseled into their little minds while they were still innocent children. Childhood indoctrination, a practice that should be punishable by a prison sentence.

  4. With the flimsiest scriptural underpinning, gay people of Irish descent have been denied participation in this public event, held on public streets, with public services support. It might be one thing if Roman Catholics adhered to all the passages in the scriptures they quote (women, be silent . . . stone your disobedient children to death . . . do not wear mixed fabrics) but they pick and choose scripture to support their personal prejudices. Time for the nonsensical discrimination to end. Diaconal postulant – Gene

    • Gene apparently never heard of the New Testament, which repeals the Old
      Testament Mosaic law, to which he has alluded. Gene sets up a straw man
      and then knocks him down. Easy to do, but it is also fallacious argumentation.

  5. Although I believe in a policy of live and let live [and this principle applies
    to homosexuals, as well], I don’t think there are enough Irish people in the
    world. Until we reach a super-abundance of Irish people on this big blue
    marble, I think we should put “gay” groups in everyone else’s parade but
    our own. I would like to see the Protestants in our hooley, though. The
    heroes of ’98, like Wolfe Tone, William Orr, Henry Joy McCracken, et al., deserve the honor.

    • Oh, sorry. William Orr was hanged in 1797, so he wasn’t a hero of ’98.
      He got his wings a year earlier. He was the first United Irishman hanged
      by Sallow John -Seón Buidhe, an old name for the English.

  6. And the Jews, as well. In memory of Robert Briscoe, IRA volunteer, close
    friend to De Valera, and later Lord Mayor of Dublin. And to the volunteers of
    the Irgun Zvai Leumi, the Zionists who fought the British & some of whose
    members, when sentenced to hang, recalled the sacrifices of the Irish, who
    had fought the same enemy.

    Another point of interest. In an old [7th century,
    I think] bio of St. Columba, the author writes that the Gaels & Jews constitute
    the Tribe of God [tuath Dé] & their common ancestor is a fellow called-
    Móise [MOY-sha]. Go mairidh Dia Éire. Go mairidh Dia Iosrael. God preserve
    Ireland. God preserve Israel.

  7. My verbiage was of low quality? A bit harsh, I’d say. Still, it’s good to
    know that someone’s awake there.

  8. Oh, now I get it. RNS is a liberal organization, in the new sense of the
    word. So, my views are of low quality. A liberal or leftist org, with a neutral
    sounding name. I know the drill. I used to be a leftie.

    • John, what are you talking about? The only comment on this post that has been marked as “low quality” is a bounce back, which has nothing to do with you.

  9. Oops! Sorry, Jon. As Buffalo Springfield sang, “paranoia strikes deep … [.]”
    I thought the site skewed a bit to the left [as I did in my youth] and that my views
    might have seemed a bit too hard-line, to the editors. I do believe in honest
    dialogue and accept the fact that we are all, or should be, reaching for the truth,
    even if via sometimes different & circuitous routes. Dialogue is a form of strife,
    but without violence; it is a plus-sum game. I think Socrates said that. Perhaps
    Xantippe, his “better half” gave him the idea. In any case, I wish you well &
    thank you for clarifying the situation.

  10. You’re perpetuating old stereotypes of Christians fighting amongst themselves. The Catholics, though it being the guardian of the full deposit of Faith, does not preach that non-Catholics are hell-bound…….just sinners are.

    The Protestants have no firm Doctrine, but few believe Catholics and Jews are damned………just
    sinners are.
    I am in the majority of this world, a world that
    believes in a higher authority.
    Atheists are afraid of God, so they pretend He
    doesn’t exist. And they hatefully profess His non-
    existence to anyone bored enough to listen to them.

  11. James,

    “Atheists are afraid of God…”

    Otherwise why do I blaspheme the holy spirit (a victimless crime) ?

    You have no evidence for your God and you have no evidence that Atheists are fearful of any gods.

    We do not fear god. We don’t believe any gods exist.
    What we fear are people with weapons who say they know what God wants:

    AL Queda
    Pat Robertson
    Sarah Palin
    Osama Bin Laden
    Michelle Bachmann
    The Supreme Court of the USA
    Dick Cheney
    Boco Haram
    The 700 Club

    And if you were capable of giving it a moment of thought you’d be afraid of the same thing.

    • Atheist Max: “We do not fear god. We don’t believe any gods exist.
      What we fear are people with weapons who say they know what God wants…”

      Max, if you do not fear god and you do not believe any gods exist, then why should you fear people with weapons who say they know what God wants? You don’t believe in God so that should be a moot point and not even a factor in your equation.

      There are people who have weapons or resources but misuse them to wield power & their authority (law), irrespective of whether they believe in a god/diety/great spirit-power or not.

      However, there is a solution to those who would use weapons, resources and/or words to create hatred, fury, contention, dissension, divisiveness, oppression, terror, or to manipulate. The solution I refer to is comprised of “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such, there is no law.” (Galatians 5)

      Pax et bonum. Peace and good to all.

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