It's time for a news update -- care of The New York Times -- on National Irish Pride, Political Clout and Green Beer Day (previously known as St. Patrick's Day).
If you have followed the political wars over New York City's iconic St. Patrick's Day Parade, you know that they have boiled down to one basic question: Does this event have anything to do with the Roman Catholic Church and, well, one of the greatest missionaries in the history of Christianity, a saint beloved in both the Catholic West and, increasingly, in the Orthodox East.
Now, there isn't much question about how the organizers of this parade would answer that question. Yes, most of New York City goes nuts, for reasons that have little to do with a feast day for a holy man. I get that. I once accidentally spent the evening of St. Patrick's Day in a hotel directly above an Irish bar, which was not a wise choice.
However, if you go to the official website for the New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade, you can still read this:
The New York City St. Patrick’s Parade is the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the world. The first parade was held on March 17, 1762 -- fourteen years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The parade is held annually on March 17th* at precisely 11:00 AM in honor of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland and of the Archdiocese of New York. The parade route goes up Fifth Avenue beginning at East 44th Street and ending at East 79th Street. Approximately 150,000 people march in the parade which draws about 2 million spectators.
That's pretty clear.
However, if you read the new Times update mentioned earlier you will certainly notice that it is missing two rather interesting and important words, for a story on this topic.
Trying looking for the words "Catholic" and "saint," even in a background paragraph or two. What did you find?
It is also interesting that the story does not quote a single person among the folks -- highly likely to be Irish and Catholic -- who are convinced that this event should, well, be held "in honor of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland and of the Archdiocese of New York."
Instead, this story is a completely one-sided victory dance for the winning side of this culture war, as noted in the headline, "Activists Recall Fight to Allow Gays in St. Patrick’s Day Parade." Here's the overture:
It was a moment that some feared might never come, after so many years of viewing the St. Patrick’s Day Parade from the outside, politically and personally.
This year will be different.
Now that a group representing gay Irish-Americans will march in the parade, activists choked up on Thursday as they recounted their battle, and celebrated Bill de Blasio’s decision to march in the parade for the first time as mayor.
“Perhaps our hearts will be dancing all the way,” said Brendan Fay, a leader of the group, the Lavender and Green Alliance, which will participate in the parade on March 17.
Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, had boycotted the event during his first two years in office because of the organizers’ stance toward gay and lesbian groups.
Is there any chance whatsoever that this parade is actually linked to the Catholic church and St. Patrick?
Apparently not. The losers do not deserve a voice at all. Honestly, how to you write this story without a single reference to the Catholic side of the debate?
Journalists, here is a question for you. How would civic leaders in New York City react if the original organizers asked for a permit to hold a liturgical parade with musicians and worshipers following clergy, incense, candles and a large icon of St. Patrick? Would such a permit be granted?
Has anyone in the church even contemplated such an event? That might be a question worth asking.
Front page image: From the Mass Resistance website.