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NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - New York's Cdl. Timothy Dolan is celebrating greater inclusion at this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade, which has lifted its ban on homosexuals and allowed two gay activist groups to march officially under their own banners.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who dropped his boycott of the parade and marched through the streets of New York City Thursday, praised the event for welcoming homosexuals.
"I think it sends a moral signal," he told the press. "This says that New York City is whole again, that the people of New York City are unified, and that we're learning to overcome division."
Cardinal Dolan and de Blasio warmly embraced, Dolan telling a reporter from the local CBS affiliate that he was "thrilled" that "decades of division" had been overcome.
"There's a great spirit ... a wonderful sense of unity and friendship," Cdl. Dolan remarked. "I'd say 'Alleluia' but I can't because it's Lent."
Former New York City councilwoman Christine Quinn — a Catholic in a same-sex "marriage" — also praised the inclusion of homosexuals. "It's hard to describe the kind of thrill of walking down the street to the parade as opposed to walking down the street to get arrested," she remarked.
The reporter also stated that de Blasio credited Pope Francis "and the intervention of Cdl. Dolan" with helping parade organizers "change their tune."
Earlier this week, Cdl. Dolan expressed gratitude that the parade had "preserved" its Catholic identity.
It is important, especially given the strong secular currents in our society today, that we not forget why this parade exists. It is not just the Irish Parade: We march to honor St. Patrick. That is why so many cringe at and resist pleas to weaken the Catholic origins of the parade. ...
While everyone is invited to march in the parade and all are welcome, no one is permitted to use it for causes that are extrinsic to its origins. ...
I thank those who love and lead the parade for assuring us all that the original intent of the parade, which has flourished for over two-and-a-half centuries — to celebrate the faith, heritage, culture and tradition of Ireland — is preserved.
Faithful Catholics are questioning, however, how a parade hosting gay activist groups openly promoting anti-Catholic positions like same-sex acts and gay marriage honors St. Patrick or preserves the "faith, heritage, culture and tradition of Ireland" — especially in light of the fact that former Democrat senator George Mitchell, who supports abortion and same-sex marriage, led the march as Grand Marshal.
"Peace, openness, inclusion — let's all work together for a better future for people, Irish-Americans, all Americans, all people," he announced before the parade began.
Watch ChurchMilitant.com's analysis of the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade in "The Download—The Parade Charade."