Cardinal Timothy Dolan has defended his decision to be the Grand Marshal of the 2015 St. Patricks Day Parade, despite it being what he describes as the biggest controversy he’s been involved with since coming to New York.

Cardinal Dolan wrote a congenial response to his naysayers in the Diocesan Newspaper – in which he said that being Grand Marshal of this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is ‘an honor.’

He wrote that the decision to accept the position had led to much criticism. “I haven’t been in this much hot water since I made the comment, right after I arrived as your archbishop five-and-a-half years ago, that Stan Musial—my boyhood hero of my hometown St. Louis Cardinals—was a much better ballplayer than Joe DiMaggio!

“Now I’m getting as much fiery mail and public criticism over my decision to accept the honor of Grand Marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. According to the critics, I should have refused, due to the Parade Committee’s decision to allow a group of self-identified Gays of Irish ancestry to march in the parade with their own banner.

“As with Stan Musial, I’ll stand by my decision,” he said.

After outlining all of the objections to his decision, such as worries that allowing the LGBT community to march would be “a capitulation to the ‘aggressive Gay agenda,’” he explained why he’s sticking to his decision.

“The most important question I had to ask myself was this: does the new policy violate Catholic faith or morals? If it does, then the Committee has compromised the integrity of the parade, and I must object and refuse to participate or support it,” he said.

“From my review, it does not. Catholic teaching is clear: “being Gay” is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.

“Homosexual actions are (immoral) – as are any sexual relations outside of the lifelong, faithful, loving, life-giving bond of a man and woman in marriage.

“So, while actions are immoral, identity is not! In fact, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, people with same-sex attraction are God’s children, deserving dignity and respect, never to be treated with discrimination or injustice.”

He stated that the LGBT community isn’t there to promote any sort of agenda contrary to the church – those marching are simply identifying themselves as gay people with Irish ancestry.

He also assures his naysayers that he, along with all of New York’s archbishops, have never had any official say in what happens in the parade. They cannot officially push, condone or oppose new policies.

“I share the hope of the organizers that the March 17th parade will be loyal to its proud heritage of celebrating Irish identity, culture, and contributions – all a beautiful part of Catholicism – thus bringing this great community together in unity and festivity, and look forward to leading it as Grand Marshal,” he concluded.