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November 06, 2011

Sunday Late Night: The German Bishops’ Porn Publisher

Posted in: Religion

The Catholic Church is clear on pornography. From the Catechism of the Sixth Commandment, Offenses Against Sanctity:

2354 Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors, the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense. Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.

Except, of course, if there’s money to be made for the Bishops:

It turns out that the Catholic Church in Germany owns a publishing house that sells pornography, and now that people have found out they’re trying to claim it was all a big misunderstanding! Of course it was.

The publisher in question is Weltbild, a very large German media company (it’s second only to Amazon in size) that has been wholly owned by the Catholic Church for 30 years.

The misunderstanding stems, it seems, to how to interpret various publications of Weltbild:

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.

Oh, and let’s not forget about another of their books called Sluts Boarding School. How very…Catholic?

Now that this inconsistency between doctrine and practice has been brought to the church’s attention, though, the holy men are hard at work: reports that since the news broke, the company has been removing “offensive pages from its website and disabling search engine functions for searches on its website using words such as ‘erotic.’”

Two possible claims — “we only just found out about this!” and “this is a rogue diocese operation!” — simply will not fly. Laity have been making an effort to alert the German bishops to Weltbild and its catalogue for the past decade, culminating in the work of Catholic activist Gabriele Kuby, who

sent a 70-page file to every German bishop outlining the problem. The bishops rebuffed her. “Each of the affected bishops received 70 pages of documentation in 2008 detailing the fact that the publishing company was selling the pornographic titles,” the website reported.

She noted that most bishops ignored the communications, not even bothering to reply. The Archdiocese of Munich did reply, said Kuby, but she says their response was “arrogant and spiteful.”

Another Catholic, Bernhard Mueller, who runs the Catholic magazine Pur, finally blew the whistle. He “was himself involved in trying to have the bishops resolve the scandal internally,” LifeSite reported.

Now, PUR’s front page story covering the current state of affairs is titled “Bishops as porn producers.”

In his coverage of the now-public scandal, Mueller describes the 10-year-long attempt to convince the bishops to take action on the matter. He concludes: “But over the years, all internal efforts to bring the scandal have come to nothing.”

And as for a possible claim that this was a rogue diocese, operating separately and apart from the Catholic Church in Germany? Ownership

of WELTBILD is divided between the Bishops’ Conference (24%), the Archdiocese of Munchen and Freising (13%), the diocese of Augsburg (13%) and 11 other diocese with percentage ownerships ranging from two to seven percent.

Why anyone listens to Catholic bishops on any aspect of morality is entirely beyond me. Protecting pedophiles? Check. Profiting off porn? Check. Politicizing their parishioners? Check. Blaming Woodstock for their own moral and organizational failings? Check. This world-wide operation needs to be shut down for the criminal enterprise and exploitative gang that it is.

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