OK - with that post title you're probably thinking my anti-Roman Catholicism has strayed from the territory of principled doctrinal objection into the shadowy world of conspiracy theory fueled religious bigotry, right? Read on...
Germany's largest book publisher, 'Weltbild Verlag' (annual turnover US$1.7 billion), carries 2500 porn titles in its inventory, including the usual pictorial magazines featuring explicit nudity and 'erotic' novels. No surprises there, as pornography has become increasingly 'mainstream' over the last 20 or so years, poisoning millions of hearts and souls in the process. This news is a surprise, though: 'Weltbild' is owned in toto by the Catholic Church in Germany, with ownership divided between the German Bishops’ Conference (24%), the Archdiocese of Munchen and Freising (13%), the diocese of Augsburg (13%) and 11 other dioceses with percentage ownerships ranging from two to seven percent.
Not surprisingly, the German Catholic faithful, alerted to this sordid trade by the cover story of the current issue of a leading, lay-published Catholic magazine named 'PUR Magazin' (subsequently picked up by the secular press) are scandalised. 'PUR' titled its cover article for the November issue (pictured) 'Bischoefe als Porno-Produzenten?' ('Bishops as Porn Producers?'), and asks 'Was zählt mehr: Geld oder Moral?' (What is more important: Money or Morality?). You'd think the Catholic bishops would act swiftly on the 'Weltbild' scandal, yes? Perhaps order their company to withdraw all offending books and magazines from sale? Er...not quite; actually, to add insult to injury, 'Weltbild Verlag' has threatened to sue 'PUR' because, under German law, its publications are not legally categorised as 'Pornography' but as the less objectionable 'Erotica' (the infamous 'Jesuitical casuistry' lives!).
'But surely', you may ask, 'the bishops - the moral arbiters for the Catholic faithful- were ignorant of this aspect of their company's business?' Not so, I'm afraid - the owner of 'PUR' and other lay activists have, by their own account, privately been trying to get action from the bishops on this matter for ten years, and the diocesan bishops concerned were all sent a 70 page dossier outlining the objectionable material published by 'Weltbild', which also publishes books promoting Satanism, the occult and atheism. It was only when they received no response from the bishops after ten years of persistence - no response apart from arrogant dismissal of their concerns, that is - that they felt they had no option left to them but to go public. It will be interesting to see if the Catholic Church in Germany, already reeling from the priestly paedophilia scandal, will survive this public disgrace foisted upon it by its own bishops, the 'successors to the holy Apostles'.
Even more disturbing is the report by American Catholic journalist Steve Jalsevac, in an op-ed piece at 'Life Site News' linking the latest German revelations with his own long-standing observations of a deep vein of sexual perversion that runs through the ostensibly celibate Roman Catholic priesthood: 'the German porn situation, from all the evidence I have seen over the years, was likely allowed to continue because a fair number of influential German clergy at all levels...have no problem with this kind of porn and may use it themselves. Such is the degree of moral corruption that appears to exist in some parts of the Church, especially in the affluent, very comfortable and increasingly faithless West' (http://www.lifesitenews.com/home/print_article/news/32189/).
Click on the post title to go to the 'PUR Magazin' website (the usual disclaimer applies - caveat lector).