The following statement was released today by Joe Murray, Executive Director of the Rainbow Sash Movement (GLBT Catholics) concerning the Catholic Church and the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago
The organizers and political leadership of the Chicago Pride Parade have changed both its route and the time the parade kicks off. This change has the Pride Parade going in front of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish on Belmont, and starting at 10AM as opposed to 12 Noon. The organizers of the parade say this change was necessary for safety reasons, and attempt to cut down on the drinking problem. Both reasons are responsible and in my opinion a long time in coming.
Our Lady of Mt Carmel Catholic Parish takes issue with the route change. My understanding is they have some valid concerns. The first and foremost is that the changed parade route will interfere with parishioners attending the Sacred Liturgy on Sunday. Additionally there are private property concerns. The Church recently went through a renovation project that included the redoing of the external front of the Church. Along with this is their private property concern about their two large parking lots.
It is also my understanding that they are likewise concerned about the process used to reach this decision. They say they were not part of the conversation when this decision was reached. This is a serious concern especially since Alderman Tom Tunney is a parishioner of Mt Carmel. I find it very curious that he did not reach out to his pastor on this matter.
I think the whole matter could have been handled better by the Alderman , not only from the perspective of Mt. Carmel’s reasonable complaints, but from the perspective off a broader community input, to include local community business leaders.
While I have issues with the decision making process I do not take issue with the decision of changing both the time and the route of the parade
I don’t agree with the Pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel only because a precedent has been set. The Chicago Marathon is held on a Sunday and closes off LaSalle St a major north south artery in the city, along with other streets, and many parishes along the route have difficulty in accessing their Sunday Masses. Most Catholics that live along the route understand this, and either go to the vigil Mass on Saturday, or earlier Masses on Sunday. This is what it means to live in a cosmopolitan community, sometimes we have to make adjustments for the good of the broader community.
I want to emphasize that while I support the change in the parade route and kick off time; however, I also support Mt Carmel’s concern that this whole process could have been handled better by our political leadership.
RSM Board of Directores