1. The Church is trying to evangelize a post-Christian society. As a priest friend of mine once told me, “We just have to admit it: we live in a post-Christian society”. It’s true and there is no way around it. The New Evangelization is taking place within the context of the most secular society to exist in the West since the Edict of Milan. We are faced with quasi-pagan world that is spiritually ignorant and morally confused. Our world is so aggressively secular and poorly catechized that we are faced with a situation similar to that of the early Christians in pagan Rome. Consequently, before we can even begin to evangelize, we have to pre-evangelize. This means that even before we begin teaching the Gospel, we have to “remove new barriers by deconstructing the false notions”, as another friend of mine put recently. One of the major barriers facing us is that many people paint the Church as a hateful, antiquated organization seeking to impose outdated rules on modern society. Perhaps no one promotes this erroneous view more than those advancing the homosexual agenda. To disarm these anti-family lobbyists of their anti-Church propaganda, we have to go out of our way to show them that we do not hate homosexuals or anyone else for that matter. This is what Cardinal Dolan is doing by participating in the next St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He is removing one more barrier between the Church and the secular world, thus making it all the easier to bring more people to true repentance and the fullness of the truth.
This rationale does not address the issue and does not alleviate the “problem” that Eric pretends exists. Jesus said that the world will always hate us. Eric should clue into this teaching because the world will hate us for many reasons, depending on the season of salvation history. In our day, the world hates us because of our teaching on sexual purity, and in particular the Church’s teaching on marriage and sodomy. That’s not going to change and pre-evangelization, while a very necessary foundation in its own right, is not going to change this fundamental reality.
Secondly, no person who is suffering from homosexual attraction is currently banned from the parade. Neither is someone who is a drunk or a drug addict or a porn addict or anything else. What they are prohibited from doing is organizing as a group and promoting the message that, for instance, Harry Flint is the next Church-approved patron Saint of Sex. Would the author of this post be so jubilant at the news that Planned Parenthood is also marching in the Parade? What’s the point of the parade, then? Just to provide a space for every group to offer their opinion, however contradictory to the other? If the parade is not a means of evangelization, and if it has been so watered-down that it’s merely a feel-good occasion for every sin under the sun, with no real ties to the Catholic Faith, then why is the Cardinal involved at all? Perhaps, it’s time to start again and hit the reset button.
Cardinal O’Connor was the Archbishop of New York in the 80s and 90s. He knew about Evangelii Nuntiandi and the pre-evangelization, but he did not see the Rainbow Jackboot getting a foothold in a Catholic parade as legitimate pre-evangelization. If it wasn’t good enough for O’Connor, why is it acceptable now? Nothing has changed…except that the Gay Jackboot has found a compliant Cardinal.
In fact, the idea of letting the Gay Lobby into the parade is really just to cede the public square to the Gays and push us further underground. There is a naïve understanding of what Catholics are facing. It will end when the Gay parade marches right up the aisle of the Cathedral and it participants demand reception of Communion. If you can’t see that, you’re either spiritually blind or very stupid or both. And that is putting it charitably.
2. Christ was not afraid to socialize with sinners despite the scandal that it caused. It has already been pointed out by many that Cardinal Dolan is in very good company. Jesus Christ himself ate with tax collectors and sinners, incurring the indignation of the Pharisees. In Jesus’s time, socializing with such people was often seen as an endorsement of their sins, but he did not care whether his actions were seen that way or not. All he cared about was reaching out to lost sheep desperately in need of his love and mercy. I believe that Cardinal Dolan is doing the same thing by marching in the parade. His action is sending a very clear message similar to what he told ABC’s “This Week” about gay and lesbians who felt rejected by the Church: “Well, the first thing I’d say to them is, ‘I love you, too. And God loves you. And you are made in God’s image and likeness.’” Cardinal Dolan is a very loving man, so I like to think that his going to the parade is his way of offering a big bear hug to all of those who feel disowned by the Church. His action is a very significant one that clearly says that the Church’s doors are wide open. All this being said, it should be remembered that the Cardinal is in no way changing Church doctrine. It also goes without saying that returning to the Church always requires repentance and acceptance of the truth. He is not saying that homosexual activity is permissible, but rather that Christ loves everyone, even those who struggle with homosexual attraction, and he is waiting to embrace them as the merciful father embraced the prodigal son.
So we see the Pastoral dimension of the Church being separated once again from the Doctrinal. “Don’t worry, everyone! The doctrine is not changing! The doctrine is not changing!” This consolation is given to us so we can have it both ways. Welcome the gay agenda and have a paper faith where we can dump the Cross of rejection and be everyone’s lollipop. It makes me sick. It’s pure evil and wrong. And this whole thinking which has started to materialize since the Pontificate of Francis is very, very dangerous to the unity of the Church and Her credibility as herald of the Gospel. “Cardinal Bravo” is not helping anyone in confusing the Church’s message about the Catholic understanding of sexuality, either.
And the Gospel passages being used to justify this pacification of sodomy (eating with sinners or the prodigal son) are completely baffling and bizarre. First of all, the Gays marching in the Parade are hardly repentant prodigal sons returning to the Father’s house to live AS A SERVANT, are they? Well, are they? Does anyone really believe that the demands and bullies and jackboots of the Gay movement who are behind this push are “repentant prodigal sons”? Really?
Secondly, the idea of eating with sinners means just that…eating with them, treating them with respect, teaching them. All this is fine. But that is not what the parade is about. It’s about the Gay movement wanting the Catholic Church to endorse their sodomy. Jesus never pretended to give that appearance when he taught and gently corrected his listeners. If the defenders of Cardinal Bravo want a scriptural passage to meditate on that fits this situation more appropriately, they should reflect on Jesus before Herod. Herod wanted to be part of the Jesus parade too, but Jesus would have no part of it.