Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said he will not march in the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City because he was repeatedly misled by parade committee officials that a pro-life group would be allowed to march, along with a pro-gay contingent, as part of an alleged rules change agreement.
Bill Donohue has defended the exclusion of a gay group marching with its own banner in the parade because the parade rules prohibited such action, rules that applied to pro-life groups as well. The point of the parade is to honor St. Patrick and the Irish-Catholic heritage.
Donohue explained that, this year, “when I was asked how I would react to a gay group being asked to join, I said I could support this decision only if a pro-life group were also invited. Indeed, I explicitly pressed for confirmation that there has been a formal change in the parade’s rules. I was told that there was and that a pro-life group would march in 2015.”
“The goal of some in the Irish community is to neuter the Catholic element in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” said Donohue. “They want it to be an ethnic celebration. But as I have said, we are not the Irish League: we are the Catholic League. Indeed, our full name is the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.”
He continued, “Under the direction of [Committee Vice Chairman John] Lahey, who has effectively taken over control of the parade, there is no room for a pro-life Catholic group in 2015, but there is room for a non-Irish, non-Catholic, gay group. But the worst is yet to come.”
“When Lahey was told that radical gay groups, led by Brendan Fay, would like to march in 2016, he ‘reacted enthusiastically,’” said Donohue. “Fay is a former official of DignityUSA, an outfit that works against the teachings of the Catholic Church. ‘I think Brendan Fay will find we’re very receptive,’ Lahey said.”
“For the record, DignityUSA is a group which had Paul Shanley as its chaplain, the most infamous child rapist priest in the history of the Catholic Church,” said Donohue. “More recently, it opposed the request made by the Catholic League that the Empire State Building light its towers in honor of Mother Teresa’s centenary. … This explains why the Catholic League is finished with the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”
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