AUGSBURG, Germany, November 23, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – After a decade of complaints by lay Catholics, and a public rebuke from the Pope himself, Germany’s bishops have reportedly decided to sell WELTBILD – the lucrative book publishing company that was recently outed by mainstream media for carrying some 2,500 pornographic titles.
“We can’t make money all week long with something we condemn from the pulpit on Sunday,” said Cardinal Joachim Meissner of Cologne, according to Deutsche Welle.
WELTBILD is the second largest bookselling company in Germany, with annual sales of $2.1 billion, and is wholly owned by the German bishops.
News about the company’s dealings in pornography broke in the mainstream press late last month, embarrassing the Catholic Church in the country. The bishops initially claimed it was an oversight due to a filtering problem, and would be dealt with quickly.
However, lay Catholics retorted that the public revelations followed years of attempts to alert the bishops to the inappropriate merchandise. In one case, a 70-page dossier was sent to all of Germany’s main bishops, but was apparently ignored.
The scandal was exacerbated further when WELTBILD issued a statement lambasting its critics, saying that the titles were not pornography, but merely “erotica,” and that it would sue those who said the bishops were profiting from porn.
In addition to erotica, LifeSiteNews verified that WELTBILD also sells books promoting Satanism, the occult, esoterism, and anti-Christian atheist propaganda.
Weeks after the scandal broke, Pope Benedict publicly called on Germany’s bishops to take “clear and divisive” action to combat pornography.
“The time has come to take an energetic stance against prostitution and the widespread availability of erotic and pornographic material, also on the Internet,” said the Pope in remarks to the new German ambassador to the Vatican on Nov. 7.
“The Holy See will ensure that the Catholic Church in Germany takes clear and decisive initiatives against this form of abuse,” he added.
Ownership of WELTBILD has been 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.