BOSTON (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Tuesday demanded the removal of an animal rights group's billboard advertisement depicting the Virgin Mary cradling a lifeless chicken in her arms.

The ad by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals features the tagline "Go Vegetarian -- It's an Immaculate Conception," a reference to teachings about Mary's purity.

But the church said the billboard was "offensive at any time" and especially so during the Christmas season.

"Why any organization would seek to garner goodwill for itself and its message by promoting an ad campaign that is so offensive to a large number of people within the community is unclear," the archdiocese said in a statement.

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