“Jesus had two dads,” it read, “and he turned out just fine.”
A photo of the sign quickly began circulating on social media, attracting negative attention from other Catholics all around the world who felt it promoted same-sex parenting.
Perhaps no one was more distraught over the sign than John Vennari, a blogger for the website Catholic Family News.
“The sign was so scandalous I had a hard time believing it was not photo-shopped,” Vennari wrote last week. “This morning I drove to the church to see for myself. With great sadness I report it is true.”
Vennari went on accuse the “pro-homosexual sign” of displaying “actions bereft of the Holy Ghost” and making a mockery of “the most sacred components of our Catholic Faith.”
As a result of the controversy, the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s offices were bombarded with phone calls “from around the world, from callers protesting the contents of the sign,” a spokesperson said.
The church’s online guestbook was also targeted, with people calling the sign “an abomination,” “blasphemous,” “heretical” and “an outrageous mockery of the Catholic faith.”
When word got back to Reverend Roy T. Herberger that his 10-word sign had literally caused an international outcry, he quickly took it down.
In an interview with Buffalo News, Herberger said the whole thing was a misunderstanding and that he never intended to promote a “pro-homosexual” message.
“I just Googled ‘funny church signs,’” he said, adding that he thought the message was about fathers and stepfathers, not gay dads.
“My only purpose was to say, ‘Look, hang in there. People understand what you’re going through. Don’t give up on yourself,’” he added.
The Diocese of Buffalo then released a statement clearing the air: “The pastor of SS. Columba-Brigid Parish told me that the ‘2 Dads’ were meant to refer to a child who has both a father and stepfather,” it read. “There are several children in his parish who have both a father and stepfather. However, given the potential for the meaning of this message to be misunderstood and even perceived in a heretical way, it was immediately removed.”
Peace in Buffalo has been restored.