Some years ago I was a member of an “online” fiction critique group. It was secular, and few members worked with religious themes. I recall how one of the other writers bemoaned the fact that she had become “trapped” in a cycle of needing to write pornography. She said, “I can’t stop because it’s so easy to write and the market pays so well.” Now, I can’t attest to either of those statements . . . but her next sentence sure rang true.
“It simple to write and profitable . . . but writing this stuff makes me feel dirty.”
This impressed me. Even the theologically unenlightened mind (spirit/soul) recognizes the corrupting influence of immersing oneself in filth. God has written his (natural) law on the conscience of all those created in his image.
An article in today’s news brought this story to my mind. It appears a Roman Catholic publishing house has been found to include pornography in its frontlist. My first reaction is that this had to be a mistake, but the evidence seems quite significant.
The facts are simple. The press is in Germany and called Weltbild, and it’s second only to Amazon in book sales there. It publishes material most would deem pornographic. (The legal but vile industry calls itself “erotic” literature, but it’s eros-defiled.) While it’s sad enough that such material even exists, that’s not all. The more depressing issue is that Weltbild is owned in whole by the dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany.
Now, if you’re like me, you’ll want to give the church the benefit of the doubt. After all, you think, some unknown editor probably slipped a single title into their immense publishing list. I’m sure the senior people were never even aware of the mistake.
If you’re like me, you’d be mistaken. Turns out over 2,000 titles are found in their online store under the category of erotica. And, back in 2008 a group of concerned Catholics brought this matter to the attention to the attention of the bishops. In a seventy-page document.
What a tragedy.
But there is a lesson here. Those of us who call ourselves “Christian” should strive to maintain the highest possible standards. Associating ourselves with ugly things reflects poorly not only on us, but also on our Lord. This story is shameful, and I pray the leaders involved will repent of their error, no matter what the financial consequences may be. On the other hand, I too need to avoid shameful actions. And, whenever I do fall short of the Christian ideals which are my goal—I need to be swift to acknowledge my sin and seek to restore what has been lost.
Very true. Paul’s counsel to the church in Philippi remains timely. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”