In a potential snub to Grand Marshal Cardinal TImothy Dolan the President of the Catholic League Bill Donohue has stated that the league may refuse to march in the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The Catholic League, a conservative watchdog group, is the largest organization for Catholic civil rights in the US, with over 200,000 members.
Following last week’s news that an LGBT group from NBC Universal, the parade’s official broadcaster, would become the first LGBT group allowed to march up Fifth Avenue on St. Patrick’s Day behind its own banner, Donohue has expressed fears that the parade is losing its Catholic identity.
"If it gets to the point where the Catholic element is completely diluted, then I will no longer march in the parade," he told Catholic news site Aleteia.org.
“Why not simply say that this is a Catholic event, and as such any group that is flagrantly promoting what the Church says is an 'intrinsic evil,' namely abortion, shouldn't bother to apply?" he asked.
Donohue, who does not seem swayed by the selection of Cardinal Dolan as the 2015 Grand Marshal, accused “political, social and corporate elites” of trying to “strip the St. Patrick's Day parades of its religious dimensions and to transform them into celebrations of Irish heritage,” adding that the Catholic League would not participate in such a parade.
“’This is the Catholic League, not the Irish League,’ Donohue said, "noting that ‘a lot can happen’ in the months leading up to the 2015 Saint Patrick's Day Parade.”
Donogue previously told IrishCentral that he was waiting for clarity on the details of the parade committee’s decision.
Speaking shortly after the news broke, he said that while he had received verbal assurances from the parade committee that other groups previously banned from marching would soon be allowed to participate, he was still waiting for something in writing.
“That’s an important qualifier,” he said. “I hope what I was told is not going to be reversed because if it is I will pull the Catholic League unit from the parade.”