The Catholic Church is no stranger to preaching one thing and doing another. There are, of course, the recent sexual abuse cases, and who can forget the Crusades? Now we have a new—less egregious but still annoying—violation to add to the list! Here goes: 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. It’s recently been discovered that the company has long published some very adult-sounding books:
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? Mmm, not so much. The Church—officially, anyway!—is no great fan of pornography. In fact, it’s considered a “grave offense” and the Church says, “Civil authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials.” Well, that certainly makes a compelling case for why the Church should NOT be paying to publish books like Lawyer’s Whore. And yet, they are!
Still, we can’t expect that these guys are going to reverse hundreds of years of precedent and come right out and admit they’ve done something wrong. No, no. They’ve done just what you’d expect: duck and deny.
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.
Are we to understand that the fact that 2,500 of their titles contain erotic material comes as a revelation to them? It seems like it should have dawned on them earlier that a) they publish books with titles like Call Me Slut!, and b) this is in direct conflict with the teachings of their owner, the Catholic Church. So what does the Church itself have to say about this hot mess?
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.”
Ahh, the old “filtering system failure” excuse. Sure, except for one small problem: this issue has been brought to the bishops’ attention before. As Bernhard Müller, the editor of PUR, a Catholic magazine, explains,
The sudden proclaimed astonishment of many church leaders that pornographic material is being distributed by their publishing house, is play acting—bad play acting. Believers have been complaining to their bishops about this for years.
In fact, it’s been reported that in 2009 the Catholic Church even tried to sell Weltbild to “clear itself of potential embarrassment over the sale of porn.” But apparently they couldn’t get the price they wanted so they took the company off the market. God forbid they should lose money in the name of doing what they believe is right!
Image via Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock.