Report: German Church involved in marketing porn, with bishops’ knowledge

Details:

Germany’s biggest Catholic-owned publishing house has been rocked by disclosures that it has been selling thousands of pornographic novels with titles such as Sluts Boarding School and Lawyer’s Whore with the full assent of the country’s leading bishops.

The revelations made in the publishing-industry newsletter Buchreport concern Weltbild, a company with an annual NZ$3bn turnover and 6,400 employees. It is Germany’s largest bookseller after Amazon and wholly owned by the Catholic Church.

Buchreport revealed that Weltbild’s massive assortment of titles available to customers online includes some 2,500 “erotic” books with unmistakably lewd titles including Call Me Slut!, Take Me Here, Take Me Now! and Lawyer’s Whore, to name a few. The publisher’s website also pictures the titles’ lascivious dust jackets that feature colour photographs of scantily clad women in high heels and erotic underwear.

Yesterday, Carel Haff, Weltbild’s managing director, was quoted as saying that the revelations had provoked “a very intense and critical dialogue” within the company. He said discussions were under way about possibly limiting the assortment of titles that would be available in future.

Catholic bishops responded with a statement claiming that “a filtering system failure” at the publishing house had allowed the books to stray on to the market. “We will put a stop to the distribution of possibly pornographic content in future,” they said.

But Bernhard Mller, editor of the Catholic magazine PUR, dismissed the clerics’ reaction as grossly hypocritical. He alleged that the pornography scandal at Weltbild had been going on for at least a decade with the Church’s full knowledge.

Read more.

Comments

  1. George Marchand says:

    Perhaps we can hope all the fictional characters depicted despite the sordid titles are married and in good standing with the Church. The same alas may not be true of the publisher nor the bishops!

  2. What were they thinking? Oops! Maybe they weren’t.

    “Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; in your kindness.
    In your compassion blot out my offense.
    O wash me more and more from my guilt
    and cleanse me from my sin…
    what is evil in your sight I have done…
    Indeed you love truth in the heart…
    O purify me, then I shall be clean;
    O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow…
    A pure heart create for me, O God…
    my sacrifice, a contrite spirit.
    A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.”
    (cf Psalm 51)

  3. In all fairness, I thought Sluts Boarding School was a literary tour de force. And the sequel Sluts and the Deathly Harlots is much underated as well.

  4. I don’t think this is a joking matter – I am outraged at the “do as I say don’t do as I do” behavior. What credibility does the institutional Church have left? Once again it seems Our Lord has been betrayed for a few pieces of silver. I would like to know where all the money has gone and was the Vatican aware of this hypocrisy?

  5. Oregon Catholic says:

    ‘Never let morality interfere with profits’ would be a good motto for them.

  6. I hope that there is another side to this story…although it’s really hard to imagine how this could be explained away…

  7. Richard Johnson says:

    From the linked-to article:

    “The Catholic Church bought Weltbild more than 30 years ago. The publisher has gradually transformed itself into one of Germany’s largest media companies with the help of millions in Catholic Church tax levied on believers. To increase its profits, in 1998 the company merged with five other publishing houses that market pornographic titles.

    One of them is Droemer Knaur, which is 50 per cent church-owned. Another is Blue Panther Books, which was excluded from the list of participating publishers at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair allegedly because of the pornographic content of is titles.

    It emerged yesterday that in an attempt to clear itself of potential embarrassment over the sale of porn, the Catholic Church tried to sell Weltbild in 2009. But the bishops apparently abandoned the idea after they failed to get the price they were asking.”

    Couldn’t get the price they were asking????? Seriously?????

  8. From reading the link, it sounded pretty weird. It appears that the Catholic Church in Germany bought a secular publishing house 30 years ago, and added a couple of additional purchases, also of secular publishers. The article calls Weltbild the largest bookseller after Amazon. It is unclear if Weltbild publishes books, only sells them, or both. In the US we have numerous Catholic publishers such as Paulist Press, Ignatius Press, etc. Many religious orders here publish books and other media; I don’t know what the situation is in Germany. Apparently they failed to get rid of the baggage that came with these secular businesses, I wonder why they didn’t just start their own Catholic publishing house; unless it was just a money-making investment and they never intended it to be about Catholic media. Which would be problematic in itself.

  9. Richard – I was referring to those same two paragraphs when I commented.
    Melody – I went on the company’s website – Weltbild is secular.

  10. SAD.

  11. I also hope that there is another side to this story. This has persisted for a decade with the laity complaining, and it’s only becoming public knowledge now?

    While the Church owns the company and the guilt of selling the filth, my question is whether the bishops were actually made aware of the laity’s concerns or of the material actually sold. Who was actually in charge here, and were the bishops shielded from the truth?

    If it can be proven that any of the bishops knew of this, they need to suffer the severest sanctions. Can a bishop be laicized? If so, nothing short of that sanction would be appropriate. However, in the interim, I am inclined to give the bishops the benefit of every doubt to protect the innocent from the presumption of guilt that comes with their dirty brother bishops’ past sins.

  12. Mr. Nadal: I have read the various stories online. There are claims that a 70 page report was delivered to various Bishops in 2009 by a layperson but that there was either no response or, in one case, an allegedly arrogant response. Also there is a claim that the publisher of the magazine that reported the story is a devout Catholic who made personal attempts to have the issue addressed by the Church quietly before going public with the story. I do not know if these claims are true, but I am very shaken by this story.

  13. Personally, I am outraged. It shoccks me that hardworking writers of erotic fiction would stoop to associating with Catholic bishops.

  14. Charles L.Garris says:

    Since this began thirty years ago, didn’t Benedict know about it long before he became Pope? Shame! Shame! Shame on him for not attempting to do somethng about it long ago. Now that the whole world knows about it, he will try to clean it up. Yeah! Now – thirty years later. He didn’t clean up the filth in the church when he was in his previous job. Why the Rush now?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] to sell company that publishes pornNov 23rd, 2011 by Deacon Greg Kandra TweetThis caused  a sensation when it hit the news a couple weeks ago.  Now, something is being done about it:The Catholic Church [...]

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