The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Is Hyundai mocking the Catholic Church? — UPDATED

Short answer, in my opinion: yes.

The car company is running the ad below during the World Cup soccer coverage. One observer wrote:

I don’t understand the rationale behind companies running ads to sell stuff that offends potential customers. Hyundai has an ad running during the world cup that shows a wedding in a Church in Argentina mimicking Catholic worship using Latin chants and a censor and a mock communion. I found it so completely bizarre that I’m still shaking my head. One thing is for sure, though. I would never buy a Hyundai after watching the ad. Would you?

Count me out.  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.  This doesn’t even rise to the level of Monty Python.  And really: the shot of the guy being given pizza as if it were communion is just…awful.   

But don’t take my word for it.  Decide for yourself below.


UPDATE: As some commenters have noted, the ad has now been pulled. Read all about it.


Comments read comments(26)
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Joyce Donahue

posted June 14, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I thought this was great! I don’t see it as mocking the Church so much as it is mocking people who make sports into a religion. In Chicago, at the team homecoming parade, some people were bowing and doing “homage” to the Stanley Cup. When I was a parish DRE, we often had parents who objected to our religious education schedule because it interfered with sports.
It speaks volumes about the superficiality of our culture that more people make time in their lives for sports than they do for the practice of their faith! Kudos to Hyundai for a great send-up of the largest denomination in the world: sports worshippers!

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posted June 14, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Great comment Joyce. I don’t feel that the Church is being mocked. The ad is pointing out how a person’s “god” is anything that they love more than God, example being used is soccer.
That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life:fornication,impurity,guilty passion, evil desires, and especially greed, WHICH IS THE SAME THING AS WORSHIPPING A FALSE GOD;all this is the sort of behaviour that makes God angry……but now you, of all people, must give up all these things: getting angry, being bad-tempered, spitefulness, abusive language and dirty talk; and never tell each other lies.Colossians 3:5
Ephesians 5:3 Among you there must not even be a mention of fornication or impurity in any of its forms, or promiscuity…..For you can be quite certain that anybody who actually indulges in greed, impurity or promiscuity-which is worshipping a false god-can inherit anything of the kingdom of God. Do not let anyone deceive you with emptyarguments….God’s anger comes down on those who rebel against Him.

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Bruce Brandon

posted June 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Given that Argentina is a country with 75% of it’s population reporting themselves as Roman Catholic, I hardly think the commercial is intended to mock religion. It is to spoof the culture of sports in a way that the majority of viewers would understand – relating it to their own religious fever.
A little further research will reveal that not only is this not a Catholic service, but it is a service at the Church of Maradoniana, an actual, if not pious, organization honoring the Argentine soccer star (and coach).
Now I can see taking offense to that, but not the commercial.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 2:56 pm

“A little further research will reveal that not only is this not a Catholic service, but it is a service at the Church of Maradoniana, an actual, if not pious, organization honoring the Argentine soccer star (and coach).”
I have to disagree. The usage of a mockery of the liturgy to sell cars makes Hyundai a participant in that mockery for gain and does not forgive a poor decision on their part.
This will certainly impact any buying decision I might make.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Well, you people can consider it not a mockery of the Catholic Church, but I do. I have sent an email to Hyundai telling them that I was offended by the ad and would tell others about it. I sent the email to:
I ask you a question: At what point does one get offended nowadays? Whether it be Madonna or Lady Gaga swallowing rosary beads, does anything bother people? Look at the commercial carefully. As a member of the Church Militant, I will stand up to any ridicule of our Church!

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posted June 14, 2010 at 3:30 pm

I felt they took something sacred and made it into mockery.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm

This is hilarious! nowhere does this make fun of orthodoxy/catholocism. it is showing how CRAZY people get during Soccer events (mainly world cup). Showing how the world has raised the status of organized sports to that of organized religion. much like most catholics worship on xmas and easter (important religious dates), most sports fans really dont start to “worship” until a big event occurs (ie super bowl, world cup, OLYMPICS, etc…) i think all that criticize this ad to be offending the catholic church should chill the hell out; And get a sense of humor. the people that see this offensive, need to get their mind out of the gutter and see the silver lining, not try and look for offensive content.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Would Hyundai make fun of the Native Americans’ or Hebrews’ or Muslims’ ways of worship to sell a car? Probably not. Since when is it okay to disrespect the beliefs of others? It’s a double standard and shouldn’t be tolerated.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I don’t find it funny. But I’m not offended.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

The “cleric” in the commercial chants the following in latin to the soccer ball:
“Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)
This is blasphemy of the worst kind.
And the “church” is a fan club that does NOT consider itself to be a religion.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm

From the comments that Deacon Greg got from those thinking there was nothing wrong with that commercial, just goes to show how far we ‘Catholics’ have slipped in the respect we have for our religion. Or perhaps these comments are from those that we refer to as ‘so called Catholics’ ala Pelosi, Biden etal. Shame.

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Dan Lower

posted June 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm

The using of the actual phrase “Ecce agnus dei” for the soccer ball was too much. The rest was pretty inoffensive and funny.

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John V

posted June 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Hyundai has withdrawn the ad in response to objections. Here’s what they wrote to those who complained:
Hello and thank you for your feedback regarding Hyundai advertising.
Hyundai Motor America would like to thank you and other consumers for sharing concerns about a new ad titled “Wedding” which aired during the opening games of the FIFA World Cup broadcast last week. We take comments of this nature very seriously. Because of feedback like yours, we have removed the ad from all Hyundai communications and stopped airing it.
We credit the passionate World Cup viewers and Hyundai owners for raising this issue to us. 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. Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive. We appreciate your feedback and hope you will accept our sincere apologies.
With appreciation,
Hyundai Motor America

Source: Fr. Z at WDTPRS.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm

With the reaction to this ad and Lady Gaga, I am am far more offended that other Catholics do not find them offensive. Is there anything that would offend these people? Have we become so complacent that anything goes?

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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted June 14, 2010 at 7:03 pm

People that worship ANY sport or sport figures deserve to be made sport of. But doing that with broad satire (such as this skit) without also being insensitive and mocking toward someone’s religion is almost impossible and therefore makes it a project that should never have even been attempted
On the other hand simple satire (comments) using religious imagery is frequently acceptable in my opinion. Comments such as “Those Celtics fans are bending the knee and burning incense to their hoop god” strike me as being acceptable verbal satire of sports fanatics.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm

And to those who are concerned about those of us who found this commercial rather innocous and non-offensive, but an appropriate statement about ridiculousness of extreme devotion to sport, please remember that the Catholic faith has taken care of itself for 2000 years.
If we cannot have a sense of humor about the culture, we risk perpetually being derailed from the important messages of the Gospel by the perceived need to defend ourselves from trivia. There are much more important issues in life than this. It would have gone away on its own, like that tasteless Bill Maher movie “Religulous” and many other “insults” throughout the centuries. Not one has prevailed against the power of Truth. Now people will remember this as the commercial that Hyundai had to pull – and it will take on an increased significance in popular culture.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ now and for evermore. I thank God that Hyundai finally pulled down this ridiculous ad, which mocks and strikes at the heart and core of Catholic and Christian belief. For God’s sake, lets stop this talk of humour. There is a very sharp difference between humour and mockery.
Joyce, I can imagine that you comments may be coming from a very conviced christian mind and peharps with an honest refelction. However, I feel that you are missing a very vital point here. If you know your scriptures well, St. Paul says that the life of each one of us has its influence on others. This mockery would not be a humour for kids and they will see it as a normal thing.
If these kinds of clear cut anti-Christian and especially anti-Catholic bigotry is allowed to go on, kids and even adults will come to believe that it is okay to ridicule sacred things like the real presence of our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist. Can you imagine what the long term effect will be?
Okay lets consider this example, remember our innocent and revered brothers and sister who endured the hate and henious crimes of Hitler, imagine that an advert was made of these people in the gas chambers, playing football, because of the so called love for football, what will this be humour? Far from it. Will this be okay? I hope we will never get to that stage. What will happen to the advert? Certainly there will be worldwide outrage and I will support the outrage.
So please there is a great difference between bigotry and humour. In this civilized age, where we hear so much talk about respect and tollerance, why can’t those who do not believe what we believe and even those who do not believe at all, respect us. There are anti-discrimination laws and hate crime laws, So I suggest that these growing attack on religious believes and believers should be curbed now, before it turns to somethings else. This is exactly how Hitler started and no one spoke out.
May God help us.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Proof that the Church believes the faith can take care of itself: Paul VI abolished the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (“List of Prohibited Books”) in 1966. It is left up to the conscience of the individual to absent himself or herself from that which is offensive. Change the channel. Don’t buy the product. However, we are no longer empowered to censor the publication of that which we find offensive.
Modern culture, according to the National Directory for Catechesis, is both gift and challenge. Anything that makes people think about faith, talk about faith, or react in such a way that they examine their assumptions, is not totally inimical to the faith. Like DaVinci Code and other “offensive” products of the culture, this was an opportunity for people to examine how they look at religion – and sports. Now, sadly, everyone, including those whose addiction to sports is such that it interferes with the practice of their faith, can be comfortable again.

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posted June 14, 2010 at 10:57 pm

I’m with those who don’t understand why the singing of Agnus Dei at the beginning, and pizza as Eucharist isn’t seen as mocking Catholics and why such a concern would be dismissed. Just a simple analogy – you have a family ritual of everyone in the family eating together. Your neighbors mock you as old-fashioned or “we don’t have time for that and everythings ok with us” – what do you do keep the ritual or give it up to please your neighbors and your children who are begging to be like their friends who don’t have that ritual? I’ve watched my siblings and friends give in – guess what? they don’t talk to their kids anymore and other family rituals are ignored. If we don’t defend our rituals because we believe they have meaning, then – they won’t have meaning and we’ll wonder why they don’t exist anymore. We’ve been witnessing the effects of this way of thinking for forty years.

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Ronald King

posted June 15, 2010 at 10:43 am

I am in agreement with Joyce. I do not see this ad as mocking our Catholic faith as much as I see it mocking those who practice the faith with far less passion than they exhibit for whatever it is that gives us pleasure and escape.
We are responsible for this ad because we do not exhibit the passion that our faith requires from us.

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posted June 15, 2010 at 11:56 am

It is left up to the conscience of the individual
And we all know how well that’s going.

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posted June 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Whether you like it or not, Romulus, that’s the way God — remember Him? — decided it should be. Sufficient to stand, free to fall.
It’s an ad. For a Hyundai. If it bothers you and you were actually in the market for a Hyundai, then don’t buy a Hyundai. If it doesn’t bother other people and they were actually in the market for a Hyundai, then they should feel perfectly free to buy one without incurring ten kinds of mortal sin.
Seriously. At the end of the day, this is a freaking HYUNDAI we are talking about. Who cares? You have so much time on your hands and so much energy, go down to a homeless shelter or a food pantry and volunteer. Win-win. Your eyes won’t be exposed to the oh-so-offensive ad and you’ll actually be doing something pro-active and which Christ Himself specifically told everyone they should be doing.

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Susie Spencer

posted June 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm

You’ve done it once again! Superb writing!

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Kathleen Burke

posted June 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm

If only more than 22 people would read about this.

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posted July 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Oh lighten up! This could only come from a U.S. Catholic with no regard for futbol and the devotion it inspires in other latitudes. I doubt Catholics in my home country of Argentina were as outraged as you mainly because the point of the ad is not to mock the Church or its sacraments but the outlandish fervor elicited by “soccer” in a good part of the world. I thought it was hilarious and wondered why it had been pulled. Should’ve know some uptight enforcer of political correctness was behind this.

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posted July 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm

The religion that Hundai depicts in its commercial actually exists. Don’t know why anyone else would take offense.

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