Expert Answer Forum
Alleged collection of pornography in the Vatican QUESTION from Andy Phillpotts November 16, 1998 I am a recent convert to Catholicism. A number of Protestants I know have repeatedly asserted that the Vatican has a vast collection of pornography-- the biggest in the world, as one of them claims. I am skeptical of these claims (they seem like typical anti-Catholic propoganda), but I was wondering from where these beliefs arose and if they had any truth to them.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on November 30, 1998 Dear Andy:
Thanks for your question.
Forgive me for taking so long to answer you. I was doing some research to find information about your question.
I have a vague memory of this allegation when I was a Baptist preacher many years ago, but so far, I have found no information at all of some alleged pornography collection in the Vatican archives, libraries, or museums.
One of the things I would suggest is to ask these people for their definition of pornography. They might think that Michelangelo's David is pornographic because it is a statue of a nude man. The Vatican does have artwork of significance and value that might include nudity. But this is NOT pornography.
Second, I would ask these people for exact references of what is suppose to be collected at the Vatican rather than vague allegations and charges.
Third, I would ask for proof. What sources are they quoting from and what exactly are those sources taking about specifically. Are they saying the Vatican has a subscription to Playboy?
I really doubt if the Vatican is collecting Playboy and Hustler magazines. If they have any erotica at all it would be of the type seen in professional art and would have a historical, artistic, sociological, and scholarly value BEYOND any depiction of sexuality.
I will continue to keep an eye open for any information that might relate to this question. If I find anything, I'll let you know.
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