Media reports accusing the German Catholic episcopacy of involvement in publishing pornography are causing controversy. Reports say the German episcopacy is sole owner of the second largest publisher in Germany WELTBILD, a publisher of erotic literature.
LifeSiteNews.com reports that the Roman Catholic episcopacy in German also has 50 percent shares in another publisher and bookseller Ver-lagsgruppe Droemer Knaur, which publishes erotic novels.
The publishing company WELTBILD, said to have an annual turnover of $1.7 billion and over 2,500 erotica titles, says in a recent press release it is considering suing media outlets that have accused it of "peddling pornography." According to WELTBILD, the literature it offers does not meet the legal definition of pornography. The company explained,
“It should be noted...that pornography is a clearly defined legal term...WELTBILD offers no pornography and has never done so before.”
However, LifesiteNews.com 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.'"
LifesiteNews quotes the teaser of one of the books on the WELTBILD site with a photo of a woman with breasts exposed and hands covering her crotch:
"... a young woman and the desires of her boss...Sensual women reveal their most secret fantasies...stories...extremely, wickedly seductive, uninhibited passion and delicious. There are exciting dreams shamelessly crossing all boundaries!"
The New American reports lay Catholics in Germany have been aware of the episcopacy's ownership of the publishing company for decades and have tried unsuccessfully to stop the bishops, but when the Catholic laity tried to intervene, the bishops ignored them. Catholic activist Gabriele Kuby, according to The New American, sent a 70-page file to German bishops detailing the facts of their ownership of WELTBILD and the problems involved:
"Each of the affected bishops received 70 pages of documentation in 2008 detailing the fact that the publishing company was selling the... titles.”
Gabriel Kuby says most of the bishops did not bother to respond to the 70-page documentation. The Archdiocese of Munich responded but the response was "arrogant and spiteful."
A Catholic publisher Bernhard Mueller, finally published a front page story in his magazine PUR, titled, "Bishops as porn producers." His decision to go public on the story followed unsuccessful attempts by Catholic activists to solve the problem privately with the German Catholic episcopacy. Bernhard Mueller's magazine revealed details of the decade long efforts of lay Catholic activists to convince the Catholic episcopacy in Germany to act to resolve the problem.
Why have the bishops been unwilling to support efforts to end the episcopacy's ownership of WELTBILD? The New American alleges that attitude of the German episcopacy is because influential members of the German clergy are comfortable with pornography and "use it themselves."
LifesiteNews.com alleges the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy, in its official conservative stance on matters of sexuality, is deliberately ignoring the reality of what it describes as "sexually corruption" that "runs from the hierarchy through the priesthood down through seminaries and colleges." LifeSiteNews.com quotes Steve Jalevac, in an opinion piece:
“Active homosexuality and acceptance of homosexuality among the clergy, including bishops and even cardinals and among religious, and in Catholic colleges and schools, and in the literature and programs in these institutions, has to a large degree still not been faced and firmly dealt with."
Recent revelations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, according to Steve Jalevac, only scratch the surface of a firmly entrenched culture of homosexuality in the Catholic priesthood. While the Vatican issues church rules forbidding gay and lesbianism in secular society, homosexuals have been "running wild in the church for years, with seminaries getting nicknames such as 'Notre Flame,' and 'Pink Palace'...known homosexual priests such as John Geoghan, molested altar boys and other young charges under the eyes of bishops who refused to stop it...For three decades, Geoghan preyed on young boys in a half-dozen parishes in the Boston area while church leaders looked the other way...His tally of victims is 150."
The problem is not limited to the Catholic Church alone, The New American alleges. The problem of deep seated "sexual corruption" spills over to Protestant churches. The New American quotes an AP report in 2007:
“...three companies that insure a majority of Protestant churches say they typically receive upward of 260 reports a year of children younger than 18 being sexually abused by members of the clergy, church staff members, volunteers or congregation..."
LifeSiteNews.com reports 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.