NY cardinal doesn’t object to gay group in St Patrick’s parade

New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan has not objected to a gay group being allowed to march under its own banner in the city’s St Patrick’s Day parade next year.

Cardinal Dolan, who is archbishop of New York, is also the grand marshal for the parade on March 17.

The parade committee chose OUT@NBCUniversal -a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource group – to march up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

NBC, the long time broadcast home of the parade, was prepared to drop its coverage unless a compromise could be reached that resulted in the inclusion of a gay group.

Sponsors had threatened to pull out and politicians had refused to participate because of the ongoing exclusion of gay groups marching with their own banner.

The committee said its “change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics”.

The committee’s statement said the parade was “remaining loyal to church teachings”. The parade is not run by the Church.

A parade spokesman said other gay and lesbian groups could apply in future years.

Last March, Guinness beer dropped its parade sponsorship.

Cardinal Dolan said on September 3 that the parade committee that operates the annual event “continues to have my confidence and support”.

“Neither my predecessors as archbishop of New York nor I have ever determined who would or would not march in this parade . . .  but have always appreciated the cooperation of parade organisers in keeping the parade close to its Catholic heritage,” he continued.

Cardinal Dolan concluded by praying “that the parade would continue to be a source of unity for all of us”.

Last year, the cardinal said he supported the inclusion of gay people in the parade, but did not take a position on whether they should be allowed to march under their own sign.

The parade always pauses in front of St Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.

In 1993, then-Cardinal John O’Connor, facing gay protesters who staged a sit-in during the parade, vowed that he “could never even be perceived as compromising Catholic teaching” by entertaining their admission as an identifiable group in the event.

But Pope Francis has made it clear he wants Church leaders to highlight Catholicism’s outreach to the poor and vulnerable, rather than always fighting culture war issues on gay marriage and the like.

Some gay groups in the US were unhappy that only one such group was in the 2015 parade.


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