I'm not aware of any Christian churches that are even tolerant of pornography, much less that promote it, and the Catholic Church is no exception. Or are they? As it turns out, the Catholic Church is earning a massive profit every year on selling pornography.
Photo: Peter Dazeley/Getty
The Catholic Church owns Germany's biggest publishing house, Weltbild. Based in Augsburg, it has over 6,400 employees, makes €1.7bn every year, and is Germany's biggest bookseller after Amazon with 20% of Germany's domestic bookstore market.
Some of the titles Weltbild sells online are Sluts Boarding School and Lawyer's Whore. News of this came out in October last year and the Catholic bishops of Germany promised to sell of Weltbild. The company even went on the market, briefly, but as of January or February of 2012 it appears to have been taken of the market again and remains in Catholic hands, funding the Church with porn.
One important aspect of this story is that Catholics in Germany complained about this before, at least as early as 2008, and the bishops ignored it. They seem to have wanted to continue raking in the profits from porn; it was only when the story hit the national and international news that they even made a gesture towards doing something...
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 Müller, 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.
Mr Müller said that in 2008, a group of concerned Catholics had sent bishops a 70-page document containing irrefutable evidence that Weltbild published books that promoted pornography, Satanism and magic. They demanded that the publisher withdraw the titles.
But their protests appear to have been completely ignored. Writing in the Die Welt newspaper, Mr Müller said most of the bishops refused to respond to the charges. "The sudden proclaimed astonishment of many church leaders that pornographic material is being distributed by their publishing house, is play acting - bad play acting," Mr Müller said. "Believers have been complaining to their bishops about this for years."
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 some €182mof Catholic Church tax levied on believers.
Sag Luder zu mir!
Photo: Debra McClinton/Getty
Weltbild isn't even the only porn publisher that the Catholic Church in Germany is profiting from. The Catholic Church owns 50% of Droemer Knaur, a Munich-based publisher of books like "Sag Luder zu mir!" (Call Me Slut!) and "Nimm mich hier und nimm mich jetzt!" (Take Me Here, Take Me Now!).
The books of Droemer Knaur are so pornographic, in fact, that they were banned from Frankfurt Book Fair in 2011. But they aren't too pornographic for a Catholic-controlled company to sell and for the Catholic Church to profit from.