A Catholic priest was ordered to remove a "Jesus had 2 dads" sign amid outrage from some Catholic communities that the sign showed support of same-sex parents. The sign was put up last week and remained until the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo ordered them to be removed.
SS. Columba-Brigid Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, NY, changed its church's sign last week to read: "Jesus had 2 dads and he turned out just fine." But Rev. Roy Herberger, a priest at the church who wrote the sign, said it was intended to express support for children with stepparents -- not for same-sex parents.
"I only had one purpose," the priest told Yahoo Parenting. "After 48 years in the church, I see so many kids with stepparents, or even in single-family homes or being raised by grandparents, who feel that they're not as good as other kids who have nuclear mother and father family." He added, "I wanted to provide support and understanding for kids in that situation."
While studies have shown an emergence of younger Catholics supporting the acceptance of gays and lesbians -- as high as 85 percent, according to a Pew Research Center study in July, the Catholic Church opposes and prohibits same-sex marriage within the institution.
The Catholic Family News interpreted the sign as expressing support for same-sex parents raising a child together. John Vennari, an editor of the site, uploaded a photo of the sign Tuesday shortly after it appeared at the church, calling it a "pro-homosexual sign" that mocks "the most sacred components" of the Catholic faith. He wrote a letter denouncing the sign in The Catholic Family News.
"It expresses the idea of a family that's not consistent with what the church was taught for 2,000 years," Vennari later told WKBW, a local affiliate of ABC news in Buffalo.
Once news spread of the sign, Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, immediately called for Rev. Herberger to take it down. A spokesperson from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo told The Huffington Post, the sign was removed last Monday
"As soon as I learned of this sign, I took immediate action to have it removed," Malone said in a statement released to The Buffalo News. "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."
Although Herberger told Yahoo he had "no trouble" taking the sign down, the church's online guestbook that invites users to post comments, shows varying opinions about its message.
One commenter Lorraine, referred to the sign as "an abomination before God and a real true hate crime to encourage sin" while another commenter, Jim, found the sign to present a positive message, "one of love and support."
While the comments ranged from an expression of gratitude to utter disappointment, an updated statement from the Catholic Family News declared that Herberger should have been "aware" of the sign's implications in the first place.
A representative from SS. Columba-Brigid Roman Catholic Church told The Huffington Post that the church will not provide any further comments regarding the sign.