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Vatican to control ‘.catholic’ internet domain

By on Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Mgr Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (CNS photo)

Mgr Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (CNS photo)

The Vatican is in line to control the new Internet address extension “.catholic” and decide who is allowed to use it.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, a non-profit corporation that co-ordinates the assignment of internet domain names and addresses around the world, announced the Vatican’s formal application today in London.

The corporation is overseeing a huge expansion in the number of internet extensions beyond the standard .com, .org., .edu and .gov. The extensions formally are known as generic top-level domains. The assignment of country-code top-level domains, like the Vatican’s own .va, will not be affected by the change.

Mgr Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said that the Vatican’s application to control the top-level domain .catholic “is a recognition of how important the digital space is for the Church”.

Controlling the domain “will be a way to authenticate the Catholic presence online”, Mgr Tighe said. The Vatican plans to allow “institutions and communities that have canonical recognition” to use the extension, “so people online – Catholics and non-Catholics – will know a site is authentically Catholic”.

The Vatican does not plan to allow individual bloggers or private Catholics to use “.catholic”, Mgr Tighe said. Use of the domain would be limited to those with a formal canonical recognition: dioceses, parishes and other territorial church jurisdictions; religious orders and other canonically recognised communities; and Catholic institutions such as universities, schools and hospitals.

The Vatican filed four separate applications for new domain names, seeking to control “.catholic” and its equivalent in other languages using Latin letters, as well as the equivalent of the word “Catholic” in the Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese alphabets.

The fee for each application was $185,000 (£120,000), which Mgr Tighe said “is a lot of money, but if you think of the money you have to spend to maintain a Church structure,” and then consider how important the structure of the Catholic presence on the Internet is, it was a good investment.

Controlling the domain name will promote “a more cohesive and organised presence” of the Church online, “so the recognised structure of the Church can be mirrored in the digital space”.

In addition to the fee, the Vatican and other applicants for new generic top-level domains had to fill out complicated forms and must submit to background checks to ensure they are the best representative of the name they chose and to prove they have the financial, technical and institutional stability to run the domain, are not involved in criminal activity and have no history of “cyber-squatting” – registering a name more properly associated with someone else and trying to sell it at an inflated price.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has set up a process for resolving conflicting claims to the same or very similar names, although an auction of some extensions is possible. It said that of the 1,930 applications received, “there are 230 domain names for which at least two applications were submitted, involving a total of 751 applications”.

The corporation did not announce any claim to .catholic besides that of the Vatican.

The vetting process is ongoing and even entities that appear to have a right to the name and the ability to run the new domain are unlikely to have anything online before spring 2013, according to the corporation.

When the internet corporation began accepting applications in January for new Internet extensions, there were about two dozen approved generic top-level domains, including .info, which was added in 2000, and .travel, which was added in 2004.

The current expansion of top domains will be the largest in Internet history and is likely to include the names of large companies as well as cities and popular interests: for example, .nyc, .london, and .music all were expected to be among the new domains.

  • JByrne24

    Yes, this might just show you what money – in big lumps – can do.

    Will they next try to Trade-Mark or Copyright the word “Catholic”?

  • LocutusOP

    It’s a good idea.


    What’s with the sarcasm.

    I don’t see whats wrong with the Vatican wanting her flock to know that they are on a canonical and docternally approved website. Afterall it is the Church’s responsibility to keep its members well evangelized and informed.

  • Flynner

    The problem only comes when you have all the parishes that I could make an extensive list of that are far from faithful to Holy Mother Church, have ‘ministries’ at the parish for GLBT, Centering Prayer, and all sorts of other nonsense… Does this mean Catholic hospitals that hand out contraception or referrals for it can use it?  What about universities such as Georgetown, Boston College, St. Michael’s College, and numerous other Catholic in name only schools?  Would they get to use it?  I understand limiting it and not allowing individual bloggers or private Catholics use it, but who is going to monitor this so that controlling the domain “will be a way to authenticate the Catholic
    presence online” and so that “people online – Catholics and non-Catholics – will
    know a site is authentically Catholic”?

  • Parasum

    Why are domain names so expensive ? Why do they cost anything ?

  • HapHarris

    Since adopting the precepts of Vatican II, the Church of Rome is totally presumptuous in even calling itself “Catholic.” [or even "catholic"]    Today it can be more correctly  described as “The Roman Protestant Ecumenical Church of Religious Liberty.”   Not since Henry VIII have so many been deceived by so few.

     “Suppose you went around England in 1530 and asked people, “Are you Catholic-?”  They’d say, “Of course I’m Catholic-!”  In 1630, if you went around and asked them if they were Catholic, they’d say, of course I am-!”  But by that time they no longer had the Mass.  They no longer had obedience to the Pope.  They had reached Protestantism, but they didn’t know it.  They were Anglicans.  They no longer had valid priests.  They no longer had valid sacraments.  That was all gone and they didn’t know it.  Similarly with today’s Catholics, they don’t know what’s happened.  How could they know-?” [Fr. Malachi Martin]You can attribute this to those Neo Modernist / Marxist Wonks who hijacked the Council and delivered the Church over to the “Cult of Man” which is where it is [unknowingly to most of you] today. If Bishop Fellay signs an accord with Rome it’s because he has the sentimental belief the SSPX [today's Remnant] might return Rome to its Traditions, Doctrines, and Dogmas which belong to the “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” founded by our Blessed Lord. I guess you couldn’t relate to the truth of the above unless you are at least 67 years old and just might have an adult recollection of what the the “True Catholic Church” was truly like. Our Blessed Mother warned us at Fatima that in these “Last Days” : “Only She Can Help You.”  I strongly suggest you pull out your Rosaries [if you modernists still know what a Rosary is]  and start sending up endless prayers, asking for Her help…..God love you, Hap

  • OMartinH

    This is not just a domain name, it’s what is known as a top level domain – .catholic will be the equivalent of .com or By getting control of the domain, the Church will prevent sites like springing up.

    The cost itself should be recoverable, individual domain names like cost in the order of about a tenner a year so the Vatican could justifiably charge similar for

  • Devasjc

    God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we
    can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
    for all time, forever and ever. Amen.   
    Ephesians 3:20-21

  • MJCarroll

    This is all very well but being allowed to use the name Catholic will not come with a guarantee that specific bodies are not liberal and that they will not go against Church teaching.

    The Catholic Bishops Conference of England & Wales (CBCEW) are Catholic but still liberal.

    Why should they be allowed to use the name when there will be far more orthodox and true Catholics which will not be allowed to use the name?