In Boston and New York, persons with same-sex inclinations representing gay activist groups are marching openly for the first time in Saint Patrick’s Day parades after years of lobbying and court battles. In Boston, two LGBT groups have been invited to participate in the parade “honoring” Saint Patrick – Out Vets and Boston Pride. In New York, Out@NBC-Universal will be allowed to march in the parade for the first time.
These groups reject Catholic teaching on the immorality of homosexual acts and advocate for same-sex “marriage.” The Church is on the defensive, and Church leaders are concerned about appearing intolerant. Of course, the Church does not reject those who struggle with same-sex attraction, but does teach that homosexual acts are contrary to Natural Law and are gravely immoral—just as any sexual acts outside of the sacrament of marriage are immoral.
The LGBT groups are not simply marching as individuals. They march to advance an agenda that is diametrically opposed to what the Catholic Church stands for. Too often the celebration of the man who dedicated his life to Christ and opposed idolatry, heresy, hedonism, and debauchery has been turned into a celebration of paganism and vice.
How would Saint Patrick react to these events? On his Saint Patrick’s Breast-Plate, he bound himself against the snares of demons, the seductions of vices, and the lusts of nature. He defied the Druid elders by lighting a fire at the Easter vigil on top of the Hill of Tara on the Celtic feast of Beltaine (feast of fires).
He would encourage us to celebrate – but for the right reason – the beginning of the Christian faith in Ireland. He would point to Christ and His sacred teachings. He would boldly proclaim the truth about marriage as a union between one man and one woman, united for life, and open to the transmission of life as Christ clearly taught:
“Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Matthew 6:25, 33)
Saint Patrick would also ask us to pray for those who oppose us, as he prayed for those who mistreated him.
As a person of mostly Irish heritage, I thank God for Saint Patrick and the fire of faith that he lit on the Hill of Tara that has been handed on to me by my Irish ancestors and spread throughout the world by Irish missionaries. Yet, in the face of hardship, famine, and persecution, the Irish people remained steadfast in faith over the centuries.
But now there is a new persecution today against those who uphold Christian sexual morality. Saint Patrick would be bold as he was in his condemnation of the attempt to turn a parade with his name into a celebration of vice and pagan ideology under the guise of “political correctness.” May we be equally as bold in standing up for the truth about chastity, the true nature of marriage and family life, and not be cowed by those who attempt to silence us or brand us as intolerant.
In standing up for chastity and marriage, we are standing for the values that bring men and women true, authentic happiness and protect the best environment in which to raise happy, healthy children.