AUGSBURG, Germany, November 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a press release, the major German publishing company owned by the Catholic Bishops of Germany says the company is considering suing the “slanderers” who have accused it of profiting from porn, because the erotic offerings sold on its website does not meet the legal definition of pornography. 

Last week the secular media in Germany reported that the company WELTBILD, 100% of the shares of which are held by German dioceses and the bishops conference, carries 2,500 porn titles. The press also reported that the bishops had ignored the pleas of faithful Catholics who had tried to have the matter corrected internally for a decade.

Following the publication in the German media, LifeSiteNews verified that there were hundreds of pornographic images - mostly book-covers – on the WELTBILD site.  Some of the covers featured full frontal nudity and explicit photos typical of the covers of pornographic magazines like Playboy. 

As one example, one book title cached by LifeSiteNews depicts a photo of a female from the neck to knees, breasts fully exposed and hands over the crotch.  A translation of the German-language teaser of the book on the WELTBILD site gives a relatively tame preview of what is actually more explicit sexual content in the book:

A dark forest and a creature of the night ... A strict mistress and a willing slave ... a young woman and the desires of her boss ... A man who would do anything for his friend ... Sensual women reveal their most secret fantasies! And so these stories are extremely, wickedly seductive, uninhibited passion and delicious. There are exciting dreams shamelessly crossing all boundaries! Lustful Dreams - written by women for women!

Other websites offering or reviewing the same titles present much more sexually graphic excerpts from the books sold by WELTBILD.

WELTBILD was also found to be carrying DVD’s that would be deemed pornographic by normal Christian standards, but may not meet a legal definition of hard-core pornography in Germany.

But since the story broke in the German media, the publishing company has been removing offensive pages from its website and disabling search engine functions for searches on its website using words such as ‘erotic.’

“It should be noted,” said WELTBILD in its press release, that “’pornography’ is a clearly defined legal term.” They add that according to that definition, “WELTBILD offers no pornography and has never done so before.”

German Catholic faithful who attempted to work behind the scenes to have the bishops correct the situation say they are incredulous about the ‘shoot the messenger’ tactics the company has taken.

The bishops’ company press release states that less than 0.02% of its annual turnover comes from the erotic offerings of the company and thus headlines such as ‘Catholic Church makes a fortune with porn’ are “simply untrue and defamatory.”

Catholic observers say they are wondering why, if the profit margin from the “erotic” offerings is so slim, the bishops failed to get rid of the controversial material after years of documented concerns expressed by faithful Catholics.

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.

See related stories:
German Bishops caught in massive porn scandal - why didn’t they listen to the faithful?
Another indication root causes of Church sex scandals still not dealt with

Contact information:

German bishops conference

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
His Eminence William Joseph Levada, Cardinal, Prefect
His Excellency Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
Telephone: 06.69.88.33.57; 06.69.88.34.13
Fax: 06.69.88.34.09
E-mail: cdf@cfaith.va

Congregation for Bishops
Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
Roma, Italia
00193
Phone: 06.69.88.42.17