German publisher Weltbild is in trouble, as German Bishops’ Conference, which represents the country’s Catholic dioceses, plans to cut ties with the publisher Weltbild over risqué titles in its catalogue like “The new Kama Sutra” and “Tempted to Sin.”
The bishops have ordered the company’s executives to find a buyer for the publisher “without any delay,” a statement said on Tuesday. It had been impossible to “adequately restrict the internet-supported dissemination and production of media that contradicted the ideals of the shareholders.”
The Church has faced a storm of criticism in recent weeks over a number of erotic and esoteric titles published by Weltbild. The row erupted following a report in a publishers’ trade magazine in October, which found that searching the keyword “Erotik” on Weltbild’s website turned up more than 2,500 results, including the erotic novels Schlampen-Internat (“Sluts’ Boarding School”) and Anwaltshure (“Lawyer’s Whore”).
The Church reacted by saying it would stop the further “sale of potentially pornographic content,” and a search for “Erotik” on the website no longer produces any results, but it has now taken the more drastic measure of selling its stake altogether.
At the moment, 12 of Germany’s 27 Catholic dioceses plus the pastoral care service for the military in Berlin own just over 24 percent of the shares in Weltbild. The company has an annual revenue of €1.6 billion.