Sunday, November 06, 2011

Here we go again...

From the UK's The Independent comes this charming story about Weltbild, a publishing house in Germany, owned by -- you guessed it -- Catholic bishops:
Germany's biggest Catholic-owned publishing house has been rocked by disclosures that it has been selling thousands of pornographic novels with titles such as Sluts Boarding School and Lawyer's Whore with the full assent of the country's leading bishops.

According to the article, the German bishops defended themselves this way...
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.

...and were chided, in turn, this way...
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."
It'll be interesting to hear how this story unfolds, and what the facts really are. At this point, it's completely possible that part or all of this apparent scandal is a frame-up. But given the dismal state of European Catholicism these days, the current narrative is all too believable.

Which means that even if the facts turn out to be far more kind to the bishops than what has been published so far, the initial story will stick in many, many minds as just another reason to ignore the Church and its teachings.