For the fourth year in a row, openly gay groups will march under their own banner in a parade founded to honor Ireland's patron saint — as the archdiocese of New York looks the other way. Only this year, they will be given pride of place: marching at the front.
The 2018 New York St. Patrick's Day Parade will feature two gay groups: Out@NBC-Universal and Lavender and Green Alliance. On Thursday, a parade spokesman told Church Militant that the initial controversy is waning.
"That's pretty much disappeared," he said. "No one's brought it up, there's been no comment, no media references. You're the first one who's asked that question."
According to a former representative of the affiliated organizations marching, the controversy seems to be shifting to the positioning of marchers. Reportedly, the gay groups are being given more prominence this year. On Thursday, Fr. John Sheehan, SJ told Church Militant:
I was very involved in the parade controversy when I was in New York, and I continue to watch it with dismay. For instance I have just learned that two gays groups who have been in the parade for two years are this year marching at the front. Now your position in the line of march is something that has been organized by tradition and seniority for years — and now this?
As Church Militant reported in 2014, Dolan caved as part of a behind-the-scenes quid pro quo: Democrats in the state capital, Albany, promised to open Catholic schools to the voucher system in exchange for Dolan's acquiescence over the parade issue.
Dolan agreed, but the Democrats failed to keep their part of the bargain. Dolan made a "deal with the devil," some say, that he hoped would help stave off the collapse of the N.Y. Catholic school system — itself a victim of modernist corruption, with half having closed under Dolan's leadership. But it was all for nothing; the Democrats failed to keep their part of the bargain.
Four years later, gay groups are marching forward under their own banners, while accounts suggest the parade's Catholic identity is in full retreat.