Reality TV star Kim Kardashian has made herself a sinner in the eyes of the US-based Catholic League, after wearing a see-through mini-dress featuring the Virgin Mary.

The 36-year-old was spotted in the dress on Wednesday (19 April), apparently timed to coincide with the release of a 'Kimoji' – an emoji for her personal app – that depicts the celebrity as the Virgin Mary.

Publishing a strongly worded statement in response to Kardashian's allegedly blasphemous fashion sense, the Catholic League stated:

"We've never seen any indication that Kim Kardashian venerates the Blessed Virgin Mary – she is a former porn star – so her latest headline-grabbing stunt can only be seen as exploitative."

Kardashian, a former assistant to 2000s socialite Paris Hilton, famously made her media breakthrough via the release of a sex tape featuring herself and former boyfriend Ray J.

Now worth an estimated £40m ($51.27m) as part of a family empire founded by TV show Keeping Up With The Kardashians , run by mother Kris Jenner, Kardashian recently described the tape as her "biggest mistake".

Over a decade on, the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app, which lets fans download 'Kimojis' and create their own virtual celebrity, is now one of her biggest sources of income, generating £125m in 2014.

This social-media driven focus also drew the ire of the religious group, who took offence at the awkward placement of a candle on Kardashian's website, which they interpreted as intentional: "Between two other items for sale: a 'fire weed sock' and an 'ass tray'; the former celebrates marijuana use and the latter is a photo of her bare mammoth behind," the statement concluded.

The depiction of the star, who is married to rapper Kanye West, as the Virgin Mary is already available in a number of merchandise formats.

A candle bearing the image is currently on sale on the official Kardashian website for $18 dollars.