A New Zealand Anglican vicar trying to be funny by putting a sheepish Joseph naked in bed with Mary on a billboard has infuriated Catholics. "Poor Joseph, God was a hard act to follow," reads the ad. The idea "was to lampoon and ridicule the idea of a male God in the sky who somehow impregnated Mary,” Archdeacon Glynn Cardy told the Times of London.
But Catholics were not amused. The Auckland Catholic diocese called the billboard disrespectful and offensive. “Our Christian tradition of 2,000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph,” said a diocesan official. Cardy's liberal St. Matthew's church comes up with a different billboard every Christmas. One proposal this year featured Jesus as a glowing sperm under the words "Joy to the World." But that was considered too risqué. (Read more religion stories.)