Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, has agreed to serve as grand marshal in next year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He also has no objection to a group of homosexual activists, marching as such, in the parade, a first for the annual New York parade.
If homosexual activists march in the parade as homosexual activists, then not only the Cardinal, but all Catholics, should refuse to march -- or to watch. Why?
Everyone knows that Cardinal Dolan is a cardinal of the Catholic Church and everyone knows what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality, namely, that the sin in homosexuality lies not in orientation, but in behavior. The Cardinal can be magnanimous and evangelical by walking, talking, and dining with homosexual activists -- just as Jesus walked, talked, and dined with prostitutes, tax collectors, Samaritans, and Roman soldiers. There are two differences, however.
First, the prostitutes, tax collectors, Samaritans and Roman soldiers, unlike the homosexual activists, were open to His message. They were not anti-Jesus. Second, this is not a walk in the park, but a parade that honors Saint Patrick.
As to the first: The homosexual activists of our time are like the scribes, lawyers, and Pharisees of Jesus’ time. In speech, they were always trying to trick Him and eventually had Him arrested and executed. One exception was Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who came to Jesus at night (John 3:1-21) and who, with Joseph of Arimathea, buried Him (John 19:38-40). And Jesus dined with a man called Simon the Pharisee, but notice how He confronted His host. Perhaps He spoke in gentle tones to Simon, perhaps not. He certainly spoke in gentle tones when speaking of the woman:
See this woman, Simon? When I entered your home;
• you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with tears,
and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
• you gave Me no kiss, but this woman since the time I came in has not
ceased to kiss My feet.
• you didn’t anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed
My feet with ointment. (Luke 7:44-46)
So, rather than dining with them, Jesus generally warned those who listened to Him that the Pharisees, scribes and lawyers should not be imitated, should not be obeyed. He vilified them as “hypocrites,” “blind fools,” “whited sepulchers,” and like their fathers who murdered the true prophets. (Matt. 23:2-36) The homosexual activists of our time are opposed to Jesus’ message. They are blind fools.
As to the second difference: The Cardinal is free, and is encouraged, to talk, walk and dine with homosexual activists, including when they identify themselves as homosexual activists, but not at this time and place. This is a parade that honors St. Patrick. It is held on the day that the entire Catholic Church honors him and the homosexual activists do not honor him.
Patrick, a Briton, had been kidnapped and enslaved by the Irish. He escaped and was ordained a priest. When Patrick planned to return to Ireland to evangelize the Irish, the British bishops dissed him, belittled him, as a country bumpkin who spoke and wrote ungrammatical Latin. (Patrick was not educated because while a slave, he tended sheep rather than schoolbooks.) And, not only had these bishops themselves expended no energy in trying to evangelize the Irish -- either because they deemed the Irish as incorrigible, as unworthy, or whatever – they offered Patrick no support. Patrick went anyway and met with success. The bishops begrudged his success. When Patrick sought consecration as a bishop so that he could confirm the newly baptized Irish and ordain some of them to the priesthood, the British bishops only reluctantly did his bidding.
The Irish, wherever they may reside on the face of this earth -- Ireland, New York, Chicago, Savannah, Australia -- owe their lives to Patrick and to His Lord Who sent him. And 1400 years is still not enough time to thank them.
The homosexual activists do not honor Jesus, His Church, or His saint, Patrick. They march to undermine, mock, hold up to ridicule. Would a Jewish organization allow anti-Semites, as such, to march in a Jewish parade? Would a black organization allow the KKK to march in a black pride parade?
I believe the Cardinal, and all Catholics who plan to march in this parade, should accept the admonition, and discipline, of Saint Paul when he considered the problem of eating meat that had been offered to idols. Sure, he wrote in chapter 8 of his First Letter to the Corinthians, in a passage read aloud at all Catholic Masses last week, the idols are not real, there is no god but God, and thus I and fellow Christians can eat whatever meat we want. On the other hand, we are rightfully concerned with the consciences of our weaker brothers and sisters who don’t understand, what shall we call them, “nuances”? So, to save them, St. Paul would refrain from all meat. Let me paraphrase St. Paul:
There are some who have been so used to our society’s approval of homosexual behavior, even marriages of same-sex couples, that, if they see homosexual activists, marching as such, in a parade honoring St. Patrick, their consciences, which are weak, are defiled. Thus, even if you and I know homosexual behavior is wrong, the weak person is brought to destruction, the brother and sister for whom Christ died. When you and I sin in this way against our brothers and sisters in Christ and wound their consciences, weak as they are, we are sinning against Christ.
Therefore, if marching in a parade honoring St. Patrick with homosexual activists, who are marching as such, causes our brothers and sisters to sin, to think and act as though homosexual behavior was in accord with the will of Christ, then I will never so march, so that I may not cause my brothers and sisters to sin, and I adjure you in the name of Christ to do likewise.
Spero columnist James M Thunder is an attorney.