The Catholic Archbishop of New York Timothy Cardinal Dolan, released a statement on September 3 concerning the 2015 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. It was on that day that it was announced that he would serve as Grand Master of the traditional march that commences at the city's iconic St Patrick's Cathedral and wends its way down Fifth Avenue. In 2015, for the first time since its inception in the late 1700s, the march will include homosexuals as a group clearly identified by banners and other symbols.
“The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee 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 (or any of the other parades that march along Fifth Avenue, for that matter), but have always appreciated the cooperation of parade organizers in keeping the parade close to its Catholic heritage," read the statement.
Furthermore, the churchman's statement said, "My predecessors and I have always left decisions on who would march to the organizers of the individual parades. As I do each year, I look forward to celebrating Mass in honor of Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, and the Patron Saint of this Archdiocese, to begin the feast, and pray that the parade would continue to be a source of unity for all of us.”
The annual St Patrick's Day parade was sponsored for decades by the Ancient Order of Hibernians - a fraternal organization that espouses Catholic faith and Irish American patriotism. However, since the mid-1990s, the parade has been sponsored by the St Patrick's Day Parade Committee - a nonprofit organization not affiliated with the Hibernians or the Catholic Church.
However, Cardinal Dolan's remarks appeared to contradict statements made by his predecessor John Cardinal O'Connor. The New York Times reported in 1993, " article in the New York Times may contradict Cardinal Dolan's assertion. “The Hibernians and Cardinal O'Connor have said there is no place for a gay contingent in the parade because it is a Catholic event and the church teaches that homosexual acts are sinful.”
Cardinal O’Connor was quoted by the New York Times as saying that so-called political correctness “was not worth one comma in the Apostles' Creed.” O'Connor also said he "'could never even be perceived as compromising Catholic teaching' by entertaining their admission as an identifiable group in the city's 232d parade up Manhattan's showcase avenue in honor of St. Patrick.”