« Previous | Main | Next »

Holy porn

Post categories:

William Crawley | 12:07 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Hardcore Profits, a BBC documentary about the pornography industry, has been looking into those organisations who have investments, directly or indirectly, with in the adult entertainment business. The programme includes an interview with Thomas Strobhar, a conservative Catholic campaigner, who has been challenging the investment policy of one of the Catholic Church's most powerful financial bodies. He is particularly concerned about the investment policy followed by The Christian Brothers, "one of the largest investors of Catholic institutional money in the world. They invest billions of dollars for over 1,000 Catholic dioceses, religious institutes, educational institutions and health care organizations."

Following a change in ethical policy guidelines the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in 2003, Christian Brothers Investment Services now have investments of tens of millions of dollars in companies that make sizeable profits from commercial pornography. The Bishops' guidelines permit these investments because the new rules allow the church to do business with a company as long as income from pornography does not represent "a significant portion of its revenues".

CBIS interprets this guideline, in its own policy, to mean this: "CBIS excludes from investment companies whose primary line of business is products or services aimed exclusively at inducing sexual excitement or a prurient interest in sex (including sexually-oriented films and entertainment, publications, software, telephone and Internet services)."

This policy interpretation permits one of the Catholic world's most powerful investment organisations to invest in companies making hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from pornography.

Compare this with CBIS's much stricter policy on those companies involved in family planning: "CBIS excludes from investment companies whose products or services violate the Catholic Church's teachings on a consistent life ethic, including contraceptives, embryonic stem cell research, and abortion-related products and services."

A spokesperson for CBIS told the BBC Hardcore Profits programme that they aim to influence the moral direction of companies in which they have investments. He also suggested that their policy is a common sense response to the world we live in: any Catholic who believes its right to completely withdraw from any company making any profits from pornography would have to switch off their internet supply, avoid most of the world's hotels, and stop watching television.


  • Comment number 1.

    Don't tell me you're surprised that a religion is displaying hypocrisy? Get your head out of the sand.

  • Comment number 2.

    flibbly- You never need anything reported for you, do you? You know everything. But the rest of us who didn't know this information have our head in the sand and clearly need it yanking out by virtue of stories like this; it also gives us a chance to evaluate and discuss it. So, bear with us; we're all a little slow to accept plain truths like the one you state. By the way, perhaps if you know this already you can tell us which companies the CBIS invests in who make profit from porn?

  • Comment number 3.

    I know, it's dreadful, restricting the church's money making department, not fair at all.

    But not to worry, the Sabbath will soon be over and we can get back to marketing wheat (and with all this bad weather I think we'll have to bump up the price).

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think I can just about tolerate pre-moderation but pre-moderation plus the complaints button - hasn't the BBC heard of double-jeopardy? It really is TOO MUCH!

  • Comment number 6.

    Hmmmm. I cannot understand why

    (1) my comments are being pre moderated as if I am a new member when I have been registered on this blog for several years ????????

    (2) why comment 4 was deleted.

    In comment 4 I was referring to certain stations on Freeview now which carry telephone chat lines and which are pornographic in nature (and free to air). If the church happen to invest in DTT then they may be inadvetantly investing in the porn industry.

    Talk about being pedantic.

  • Comment number 7.

    Seems I've annoyed the moderators in some way.

  • Comment number 8.

    Everyone falls short of the moderation system, because it's a stupid system. What are they trying to prevent? Was the speech here prior to pre-moderation simply too FREE for the British Broadcasting Corporation? What comments were too unruly to allow? Hell's Bells, folks.

  • Comment number 9.

    Was the speech here prior to pre-moderation simply too FREE for the British Broadcasting Corporation? What comments were too unruly to allow? Hell's Bells, folks.

    Dunno John. It's a mystery to me. Is it just me that this is happening to or are there others ?

    To get back on topic, a friend who was a Presbyterian was extremely annoyed when he found out the Presbyterian church had shares in the parent company of the Adult channel. Simalarly, if any church buy shares in BskyB then they are indirectly endorsing the porn industry. Well, that's my feeling anyway

  • Comment number 10.

    You can't feed the Devil and follow God! If this has any bit of truth to it, shame on the Catholic Church and may God have mercy on their souls for they have fallen and all that follow them.

  • Comment number 11.


    "God have mercy on their souls for they have fallen and all that follow them."

    Millions of us, disenfranchised, our dreams of a Church which will be characterised more than anything else by compassion and forgiveness, a Church which will stop focussing on "Thou art Peter..." to the detriment of everything else in the Gospel, millions disillusioned, saddened and dejected.

    Now you step in and promise us ALL damnation.

    Dont slag it. If it goes any more to the right and any more fundamentalist, someone like you might find yourself very attracted to it.

  • Comment number 12.

    Money from investing in porn fits in nicely with another Catholic investment, viagra della papa:



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.