Korean car maker Hyundai has pulled a television spot it was running during the World Cup after several complaints from Catholics that the ad was sacrilegious.
The ad, called "Wedding," showed a mock Catholic mass in Argentina where religious rituals and imagery were replaced with soccer-related icons, including a soccer ball with a crown of thorns on it and a stained glass window with a soccer balls in the center.
The ad also showed service participants kneeling to receive pizza for communion.
"All over the world, soccer is almost a religion, but for the members of one church in Argentina, it actually is," says Jeff Bridges, the ad's narrator.
The spot stirred controversy with the Catholic community who found the ad "offensive" and "mocking" of the Catholic faith.
"It's one thing to gently poke fun at extreme devotion to sports. It's another to satirize Holy Mass by ridiculing its symbols, sacramentals and gestures," said Deacon Greg Kandra.
"This doesn't even rise to the level of Monty Python," he added. "And really: the shot of the guy being given pizza as if it were communion is just...awful."
Tim Kandra of the National Catholic Register said that the ad "wouldn't be funny if the symbols being used were Jewish. It wouldn't be funny if the symbols being used were Muslim. And it's not funny for the 1 billion Catholics who believe that Jesus Christ is the only 'Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,' and whom Catholics take into their bodies each and every time they attend Mass."
In response, Hyundai took the ad down and apologized, saying "we got enough of an outcry that we think we missed the mark," according to DailyFinance.
"The unexpected response created by the ad, which combined both soccer and religious motifs to speak to the passion of international soccer fans, prompted us to take a more critical and informed look at the spot," Hyundai said in a statement. "Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive."
"We appreciate this feedback and sincerely apologize to those we've offended," they added.