Playboy magazine apologized for a controversial cover featuring a scantily-clad woman resembling the Virgin Mary, Reuters reported.

The December edition was published Thursday, just before the Mexican festival honoring Mary known as the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Playboy Enterprises Inc., based in Chicago, released a statement Friday explaining that the company did not approve the cover because the Mexican version of the magazine is published by a licensee, according to Reuters.

"While Playboy Mexico never meant for the cover or images to offend anyone, we recognize that it has created offense, and we as well as Playboy Mexico offer our sincerest apologies," the company said.

The magazine features model Maria Florencia Onori wearing nothing but a white cloth over her head and chest.

The release was timed to coincide with the annual pilgrimage to Mexico City celebrating an apparition of the Virgin. The magazine's headline reads in Spanish: "We love you, Mary." About 100,000 copies were printed, Reuters said.

"The image is not and never was intended to portray the Virgin of Guadalupe or any other religious figure," Raul Sayrols, publisher of Playboy Mexico, said in a prepared statement. "The intent was to reflect a Renaissance-like mood on the cover."

Click here to see the cover at The Sun.

Click here for more on this story from Reuters.