Cardinal Timothy Dolan responded yesterday to critics of his decision to march in next year’s New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, reiterating that he did not allow an openly gay group to march, but stood by his decision to serve as grand marshal anyway.

“I did not oppose the former policy; nor did I push, condone, or oppose the new one. While the Parade committee was considerate in advising me of the change, they did not ask my approval, nor did they need to,” he wrote on his blog.

He said parade organizers were concerned the parade’s policy banning gay groups was being perceived as exclusionary to people who identify as gay, which Dolan said was also against church teaching.

“To the point: the committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture. I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching, but simply identifying themselves as ‘Gay people of Irish ancestry,'” he wrote.

Organizers of the parade, which is not affiliated officially with the Catholic Church, faced backlash from sponsors and NBC last year for its ban on gay groups. They decided to let one openly gay group march in 2015, and will let others apply beginning in 2016.