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Publisher Owned by Catholic Church Reportedly Selling Porn Novels

A publishing house owned by the Catholic Church has been selling thousands of pornographic novels, The Independent reports.

The news, reportedly first revealed in the publishing-industry newsletter Buchreport, relates to Weltbild, Germany’s largest bookseller after Amazon and wholly owned by the Catholic Church.

Buchreport revealed that Weltbild's massive assortment of titles available to customers online includes some 2,500 "erotic" books with lewd titles. The publisher's website also pictures the titles' lascivious dust jackets that feature color photographs of scantily clad women in high heels and erotic underwear, according to the newspaper.

On Friday, Carel Haff, Weltbild's managing director, was quoted as saying that the revelations had provoked "a very intense and critical dialogue" within the company. He said discussions were under way about possibly limiting the assortment of titles that would be available in the future.

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. 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.

The Catholic Church tried to sell Weltbild in 2009. But the bishops apparently abandoned the idea after they failed to get the price they were asking.

Click for more on this story from The Independent