Thursday, June 14, 2012


CNS reports that the Vatican is in line to control the new Internet address extension ".catholic" and decide who is allowed to use it.

Msgr. Tighe
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.

Msgr. Tighe 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 top-level domain "will be a way to authenticate the Catholic presence online," Msgr. 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," Msgr. 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 recognized communities; and Catholic institutions such as universities, schools and hospitals.

Controlling the domain name will promote "a more cohesive and organized presence" of the church online, "so the recognized structure of the church can be mirrored in the digital space."

When the corporation discussed the idea of expanding the number of generic top-level domains in 2009, the Vatican representative to the corporation's governmental advisory committee, Msgr. Carlo Maria Polvani, expressed concern about "the possible perils" connected with religious domain names, including the risk of "competing claims" and "bitter disputes" between individuals or institutions claiming to represent, for example, Catholics or Muslims or Buddhists.