The UK’s advertising standards body has banned an ice cream print ad depicting two priests about to kiss because it “mocks Catholicism”.

The Antonio Federici ice cream ad shows the attractive priests leaning into each other, accompanied by the text: “We Believe in Salivation”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said that the ad, which already appeared in two magazines, may not be used again.

“We considered the portrayal of the two priests in a sexualised manner was likely to be interpreted as mocking the beliefs of Roman Catholics and was therefore likely to cause serious offence to some readers,” it said in its ruling.

The company’s creative director, Matt O’ Connor, defended the ad to

“[It] celebrates homosexuality and refers to recent press where three priests in Rome were allegedly filmed as they visited gay nightspots. It’s also a live issue in the Church of England which may lead to a split in the church.”

He added: “The ASA is no moral guardian to act in this way and we intend to challenge its authority in this case.”

Antonio Federici previously fell afoul of the ASA’s rules with another ad which featured a pregnant nun. The ASA said that the company must ensure that future ads do not cause offence.

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