Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Actually Saint Patrick's Day in Macon is celebrated with Holy Mass which of course we offer everyday in Macon. But there will be no parade. There will be no drunken celebrants in the streets of Macon, no green fountains (actually every fountain is pink in anticipation of the Cherry Blossom Festival that begins Thursday).

However, Savannah has one of the largest Saint Patrick Day parades. It is usually somewhat family friendly if you watch it near the Cathedral, but the closer you get to River Street the more questionable it becomes and then after the parade the public drunkenness at River Street is something to behold-NOT!

Augusta has a smaller St. Patrick's Day parade and party afterwards and the parties can get a bit rowdy. The Catholic schools in Savannah and Augusta are closed (in fact all schools and offices are closed in Savannah, it is a big holiday for the city).

I don't think Augusta or Savannah has to contend with the overt politicization of their parades with Gay groups wanting to parade with their gay banners. I don't think the straight groups have straight banners either, if I'm not mistaken. I suspect, though, that straight and gay people have been in the parade together since day one, the only difference being no one made an issue of their sexuality, lack there of or their orientation. It wasn't open to bragging rights in a parade for a Catholic saint.

The biggest controversy to hit the Savannah parade occurred when I was stationed at our Cathedral and it was around 1986 or '87. A street vendor decided to sell condoms with an image of the jolly green saint imposed upon it. Yes, you got that correct and this was before it was politically correct to talk condoms publicly or in polite company let alone on a blog by a Catholic priest!

This got Bishop Raymond Lessard and a goodly number in the Catholic Irish community up in arms; I guess you can say it got their Irish up!

So the parade committee at the prompting of Bishop Lessard demanded that the street vendor stop selling these condoms. And I guess a little bit of strong armed Irishness let the vendor know that he should and he did.

But it was a spectacle hearing a Catholic bishop in 1986 speaking to the press about condoms with Saint Patrick on it. I thought to myself at the time that this was surely a spectacle and sign of the end times. Bishop Lessard had a peculiar way of pronouncing the word; he said "con-dome."

As fate would have it, as I was sitting on the Cathedral plaza watching the parade, WTOC TV News interviewed me about the con-dome, I mean condom controversy. Rather than turn green I turned red!

My how times have changed. Now we have women hawking Viagra on prime time, family time TV praising its results.

Maybe the end times are here?????

In the meanwhile, maybe the Church should get out of Saint Patrick Day parades while the getting out is good and simply have a Eucharistic Procession with a statue of Saint Patrick leading the way around the neighborhood church!


Anonymous said...

Speaking of fascism..... "So the parade committee at the prompting of Bishop Lessard demanded that the street vendor stop selling these condoms. And I guess a little bit of strong armed Irishness let the vendor know that he should and he did."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I am sure the Irish were just using hyperbole! Bazinga!

Daniel said...

The binge drinking and the rampant stupidity it leads to is a much greater problem at your typical St. Patrick's Day event than a few guys holding hands. Talk about an affront to St. Peter (If I'm not mistaken from my catechism days, excess drinking to the point of public drunkenness that puts other at risk is also a sin, but not one you'd ever hear a priest sermonize against.)I'm pretty sure nobody ever "turned gay" from seeing gays march in a parade, but every year, the booze will kill a few somewhere.

Paul said...

Another day taken over by the "cult of alcohol".

Anonymous said...

I hope you manage to ignore...not get too offended by the wild, raucous, drunken Irishmen in other parts of Georgia...and the world.

Just slip into your darlin' pink blazer and wave at all of the sober, moral people from your perch in the convertible.

Are there gay groups in your parade?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes I will wear the borrowed pink blazer and yes there will be gay and straight in the parade but no banners celebrating chastity or fornication or any unusual proclivities.

Anonymous said...

Father, do you have any opinion on "religious liberty" legislation pending up here in Atlanta in the Georgia House? The bill passed the Senate by about 2-1 margin a few weeks ago (on a party-line vote---you can probably figure which party members voted yes and no). Today there was a protest at "Liberty Plaza" (the new "green space" here at the Georgia Capitol 85 miles to your northwest). The protestors represented the typical liberal denominations. The bishop of Atlanta has not taken any public stand on it, either in the diocesan paper or other media.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The US and Georgia Constitutions already protect religious liberty. The bill before the Georgia legislature is redundant and accomplishes nothing that is not already codified.

It is also a smokescreen for enabling people to discriminate against some individual or class of individuals if they base that action on religious grounds.

"The law's language also makes it particularly difficult for the government to meet the legal test of having a good reason, or a "compelling governmental interest," for saying someone can't discriminate against others as long as that person says they did so based on their religious beliefs."

George said...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh:

The bill could be characterized as political posturing on the part of certain members of the legislature. Sure. Certainly not all though. There is genuine concern on the part of some. Religious freedom should extend beyond the walls of church and temple. No party or individual should be compelled under the threat of punishment and legal sanction drawn up and enacted into law by some political subdivision and imposed by a court because they refuse to cater say, a same - sex "wedding". A persons religious convictions should not be confined to the inside of an ecclesial structure. It is true that when you have a problem needing an answer the solution ends up generating other problems. I don't think the answer is to force those who have certain convictions to violate principles they hold or if they refuse, to put them out of business.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

George, so a baker whose religious convictions lead him to believe that marriage between a black man and a white woman is immoral can refuse to bake their wedding cake?

George said...

St Patrick's feast day seems to me to be more subdued than it once was. Yes, I know we have parades in New York and Savannah and other cities. I wonder if they are as they use to be (setting aside the impropriety and saturnalian debauchery of some celebrants). The receding in prominence of this great saint (to my mind) mirrors the decline in faith in the country he spent so much of his life converting. This country which sent so many apostles out to other parts of the world in service of the Lord. Let us today dedicate some of our prayers and ask St Patrick to take these prayers to join with his for the re-conversion of the peoples of Ireland.

Paul said...

The baker may be clearly in the wrong, however, do we destroy the baker over a cake? Or, do we destroy the baker for something else?

Catholics are, to some, cannibals do we destroy the priest over wine and crackers? Or, do we destroy the priest for something else?

In both cases the destroyers believe that they are truly correct. Much evil has been done in the name of "the greater good" through the use of intolerance. Tolerance is to endure whatever wrong that is perceived. From the Latin: Toleratus.

We know what The Catechism teaches.

If we can tolerate the cannibals can we tolerate the baker?

This is the Year of Mercy. I think we can.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - And when businesses refuse services to Catholics because, in the firmly held religious beliefs of the owners of these buisnesses, Catholics are the spawn of Satan, do we Catholics simply throw up our hands and say, "Oh well, that's religious freedom or ya!"?

The State will intervene when, according to the bill, there is a "compelling governmental interest." What constitutes that "compelling interest" and who decides? Is it the legislature, the governor, local judges? Is the D.A. in one district going to bring charges when, for the same action, the D.A. in the neighboring district does not?

If a parent beats a child and claims it is his/her Biblical faith that grounds his actions (Prov 23:13-14, Prov 23: 24), is this going to be protected?

Baking a cake is not an example of the free exercise of one's religion.

The bill is plainly an effort to legalize/protect discrimination against individuals or certain classes of individuals. It has nothing to do with protecting religious freedoms which are already protected by the US and Georgia Constitutions.

Anonymous said...

If I were a baker, a dress-maker, or a photographer, owned a wedding chapel, catered, whatever, I would not facilitate nor profit off the faux-marriage of two men. At the same time, I would treat these men with human dignity, as is their right, as is my obligation, but I would not assist nor ratify in the least their quest to have civilization bless their destruction of civilization. If the law does not respect such a fundamental choice, we have no civilization.


Anonymous said...

Would you force black caterers to work a KKK event? Jewish bands to play for neo-nazi parties?


JusadBellum said...

It was not merely baking a cake but baking a cake with a specifically gay-marriage ornament and message.

The baker didn't mind making a neutral cake and giving the men the frosting so they could add their own message.

The florist didn't mind selling flowers. But she balked at being forced to make a specifically gay-friendly message in the arrangement.

A true analogy would be if Catholics demanded Protestants to routinely bake us cakes saying "The Bible is not enough" or some other hot button phrase that directly affronts their core beliefs.

Would it be proper for the KKK to rent a black-owned restaurant for their next Klegel meeting?

Can Pro-lifers demand employment at Planned Parenthood? May a card carrying Tea Party member insist the local chapter of the DNC provide him employment?

The question seems to be that the LGBTQ is bent on cultural aggression and wants everyone to shut up and go along in ways few other groups would behave.

Most of us live and let live and if we know there's some controversial disagreement with some group, we avoid giving offense. We don't insist Kosher delis sell us Pork. We don't insist Muslim butchers process our wild boar. We don't demand the Amish do business on-line.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

So, then, a motel may refuse to rent a room to an unmarried business woman who is traveling alone because the owners believe religiously that a woman should 1) not be a business woman and 2) that she should be in the home?

If your business offers services to the public, that includes everyone. Businesses don't get to discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, sexual orientation. If a black run business sells to the public, and if the KKK is part of the public, then the black owned business should be required to accept their business.

Public accommodations are PUBLIC accommodations. (The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title II, Public Accommodations)

No, a business that does not offer a service (pork sold by a kosher deli, for example) cannot be forced to provide a product or service. No one would force McDonald's to serve Cock-a-leekie or a Honda dealership to sell a Ford.

Anonymous said...

Intolerance for the sake of tolerance.
Rejection for the sake of acceptance.
Sameness for the sake of diversity.
Tyranny for the sake of freedom.

This will end well.


JusadBellum said...

But the issue with the LGBTQ is that they don't merely ask for neutral service. They demand that people agree with their truth claims or sue them/bully them into silent groveling.

Look, I fundamentally disagree with the Amish about the morality of modern electrical technology. But I respect their religious views on the issue so when I go to Amish country, I wouldn't demand that they cater to my religious sensibilities in the performance of their business - like demanding they accommodate my level of comfort.

It's called respecting other people.

I wouldn't demand a Veggan/Jewish caterer to prepare me a Pig roast out of respect for her religion and sensitivities.

But gays are so vested in cultural aggression that they seek people out to silence or dragoon into acquiescence with their moral claims about sexuality.

As we saw in the cases, both the Baker and florist were willing to sell them neutral cakes and flowers. It was just the messaging that they objected to being forced to participate in.

They didn't want to be dragooned into making a public display on behalf of someone else's belief system.

So the KKK renting a black owned hall isn't alone the analogy. It would be complete if the KKK demanded the black owners personally stencil a sign saying "Black people are inferior to whites" to hang outside the hall.

The point of the KKK doing that would be to get the owners to participate in public speech they disagree with OR go out of business. Such an act might be legal but how can it be moral and defensible? Thus the law to protect people from being forced to participate in speech they disagree with.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Jus - A baker who sells a decorated cake to a couple is not, by that act, agreeing with that marriage. If that were the case, then every Catholic baker selling a wedding cake to a couple entering an invalid second or third or fourth marriage is "agreeing" with that serial adultery.

Baking/decorating a cake is not an expression of one's religious convictions, unless one worships flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, vanilla, and milk.

George said...

Fr. Kavanaugh:

Any law enacted for whatever purpose needn't be a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. The legislature we hope would draft a law which would survive any court challenge (becoming more difficult I realize). Should church property be used for a same sex marriage wedding reception? I ask that in relation to those churchs or ecclesial communities that allow outside groups to use their facilities for a fee.Where does religious freedom end? It shouldn't end at the church door.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

George - Religious organizations and private clubs are excluded from Public Accommodations laws.

Daniel said...

The so-called "religious liberty" bill makes no sense, partly because the conservatives pushing it can't explain what problem it's intended to remedy or why.

I'm not aware of any issue with black caterers being forced to work a KKK event or Jewish bands forced to play for neo-Nazis or Catholics forcing Protestants to bake them special cakes, or any of the other fantasy-world rationalizations being offered here.

It is a solution in search of a problem, exactly the kind of thing that small-government conservatives claim they're against.

The bill makes sense only if you're looking for a legal loophole to allow special discrimination against gays.

The good news is, Archbishop Gregory and Bishop Hartmeyer appear to be sitting on their hands with respect to the bill this year, which is good.

Nobody is asking anybody to endorse anybody else's religion or lifestyle, just to do business fairly, with dignity and respect. That is the Catholic way.

Anonymous said...

I have not read the bill, besides we have enough laws on the books to govern anything remotely resembling polite society, but I reject the interpretation of law that one human person can force another to labor against their will for a cause they do not support or for someone whose values they do not share merely because they engage in commerce, aka desire to eat and are not a member of a protected class. Our country has had that argument before.


George said...

R Kavanaugh:

For right now they are which is good. For how long though? To me the principle applies the same whether your a religious organization (exempt) or an individual with religious convictions who does not want to compromise their beliefs by being involved in something(in a proximate way) which violates those beliefs. A Jewish caterer should not have to do business with a Neo-Nazi group, an unlikely possibility I know but as crazy as things have gotten you never know.

Paul said...

"Baking/decorating a cake is not an expression of one's religious convictions, unless one worships flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, vanilla, and milk."

Ask the Pagans. Do they?

Some people are convinced the consecrated host (cracker, death cookie) is nothing more than wheat and water.

Both sides are strongly convinced.

Can we tolerate the "conscientious objector" status?

I think we can. I have enough faith and hope that if I am unable to convince someone concerning the errors of their ways, another may come along who can. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will descend upon them.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

George - So a motel owner can refuse to be involved, in a proximate way, in a marriage between a black woman and white man because his religion tells him this marriage is ungodly and immoral by refusing to rent a room to them?

George said...

Fr Kavanaugh:

Absolutely not. Let's not use the extreme to surrender to inaction. If some fringe group believed in infant sacrifice or child marriage as part of their 'religion' should they be allowed to practice those things in the name of religious freedom? No. This should not preclude some legal protection against someone being forced to violate their religious principles. Could such an ordinance be enacted which would survive any court challenges? Given the current state of the juduciary in this country, it would be difficult but there is always hope.
Somewhere in the world there are places where such laws could exist(and maybe do) and I don't see that as a bad thing.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

George - I see laws that protect discrimination in public accommodations as a very bad thing.

If a restaurant owner says, "My religion teaches me that blacks and whites should not eat in the same place" your argument would allow the owner to exclude the race he chooses.

Can a doctor refuse to treat the child of an unmarried woman because that's doctor's religious beliefs condemn extra-marital sex?

A business open to the public should serve the public.

George said...

The examples you have provided are ones which no decent moral person would accept as right and just. As far as public accommodation people (the public) have need of (and a right to) access to hotel, motels, public restroom eating establishments,hospitals etc. There is no question in regard to that.
An individual who caters parties and weddings as an extra job to supplement income should not be in the same category. Beyond that a motel clerk or fast food employee is not 'proximate' to (or involved) in a situation or event in the same way this cater is. We've come along way from the wedding at Cana.
At any rate this is one of those things of which we'll have to agree to disagree.

Paul said...

If both parties "agrees to disagree" then that is the beginning of *tolerance*.