The Catholic Church is threatening to sue publishers who have accused it of selling pornography, through its wholly-owned $2.3 billion German bookseller, Weltbild. Titles such as “Fuckable,” Lawyer’s Whore,” and “Sluts’ Boarding School,” for example, apparently, according to the Catholic Church, do not meet the legal definition of pornography, which, Wikipedia, for example, defines as “the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.”
“The revenue share of the criticized article is minimal,” a crude Google translation from German to English states. “Books about the word ‘erotic’ were to be found on the Internet, achieved in calendar year 2011 accumulated a stake of less than 0.017% of the total turnover of the publishing group of the world. Headlines such as ‘Catholic Church makes a fortune with porn’ is against this background is simply untrue and defamatory. The company is taking legal action against the slanderers.”
The press release suggests that in the calendar year of 2011 — this year — the Catholic Church’s Weltbilt bookseller earned approximately $391,000 in revenue from the sales of “erotica,” assuming my math is correct.
The Church disputes that $391,000 is hardly a “fortune.” Of course, when you are an organization like the Catholic Church, like the Vatican, $391,000 is not a fortune, it’s a grain of sand on the beach. But to the average person, $391,000 is a lifetime of savings — probably more — and the fact that an international organization self-ordained to care for the sick, the poor, the infirm, the aged, cannot see the difference is even more troubling than what we can assume are its earning of millions of dollars over the years from books that would make many people blush.
What is the legal definition of “pornography”? I don’t know. What does the fact that the Catholic Church apparently feels entirely no remorse or regret or need to apologize for selling “erotica,” and rather, feels the need to threaten legal action against its critics mean? Everything.
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