Probably not, the way this looks. But CNS reports that the Vatican is set to control a new Internet domain.



  1. This plan will certainly make it easier for people seeking the “official Catholic stuff” to locate the websites they are looking for. Conversely, those not looking for that take on things can just bypass the “.catholic” sites.

  2. That “official Catholic stuff” is only going to represent what the Vatican wants it to represent, the Church’s official line. About as helpful and interesting as reading the Yellow Pages. It’s the “unofficial stuff” most Catholics and non-Catholics are going to continue to consult and digest. I don’t see that changing at all.

    The White House has an official website, but if you want to know what’s going inside the White House or anything other than what’s provided the general public in the way of boilerplate press releases, is that the cite you’d go to learn anything? I think not.

    1. That “official Catholic stuff” is only going to represent what the Vatican wants it to represent, the Church’s official line.


      That “official Catholic stuff” is only going to represent what the “Vatican” wants it to represent, the official line of whatever Vatican bureaucrats are in charge at a given moment.

    2. From the Article:

      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 recognized communities; and Catholic institutions such as universities, schools and hospitals.

      From the sounds of it, it will only be “official Catholic stuff” insofar as the one seeking the domain is a juridical person in good standing (as in the list above). This means that is just as reasonable a possibility as If SSPX can get their act together, then might one day be as much a possibility as or The way it was explained sounds like it will be a digital representation of the reality of canonically-recognized organizations within the Church — with all the breadth of opinions that entails.

      In addition, we’re talking about the Vatican giving permission for these organizations to use the domain names (a name that corresponds to a server address where the page is hosted) — it doesn’t mean that the Vatican has any access to the site ‘s files on its host server. The Vatican would not be able to edit/block pages unless the site owners allowed them access.

      Were an organization to run afoul of the Holy See, I guess they could petition ICANN to “turn off” the domain by having the domain name no longer point to the website’s server address. However, I doubt there is any mechanism within ICANN to permit that.

      In short, I highly doubt it would be as restrictive as Brigid or Dunstan suggest, nor as open to content editing as Claire suggests.

  3. Then that can be used for a simple criterion to decide which US institutions are exempt from contraception health care coverage: those whose address ends with a .catholic

    Perhaps it can also be used to give the communications office in the Roman curia some right to edit or at least to block, if desired, any site or page in that domain.

  4. “The Vatican does not plan to allow individual bloggers or private Catholics to use “.catholic,”” It looks like .catholic would be a “sponsored top level domain” that is completely controlled by the sponsoring organization, i.e., it would not have to appeal to another authority to retract a registered .catholic domain name.

  5. Maybe, if .va is insufficient,it would be neater for the Vatican to go for .rc – I don’t think it is in use at present. It is easier to spell and quicker to type and say.

    Meanwhile, there could be issues as to the ownership of .catholic. Catholic, as well as meaning universal, normally embraces the Anglican communion and other groups in apostolic succession. Some top-level domains such as .coop have strict membership rules, but it is clear which organizations are eligible.

    Criteria associated with admission to this proposed top-level internet domain could also be at odds with widely supported human rights, free speech and equality categories, giving rise to objections.

    1. Did you read the article? The Vatican made the kinds of objections you’re making, but they also have to live in the real world where ICANN decided to go ahead without asking them. As for using “rc,” you’ll find that just like their are those who consider themselves catholics despite not being in communion with the Pope, there are those Catholics in communion with the Pope who quite vociferously don’t consider themselves Roman Catholics.

  6., the high-tech megachurch out of Oklahoma, entered the domain-name competition Wednesday, ponying up the $185,000 application fee in an effort to lay claim to .church as the Web faces a massive expansion of domains.

    Still, Gruenewald says, the domain would be open to all. The application defines “church” as “anyone of similar religious beliefs.”

    And now anyone who wants to can become a .church. Hmm That is an insider joke for you sociology fans.

    How about or or This could become interesting. More money for lawyers.

    And the American Bible Society is going for .Bible, promoting the cause at

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