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Vatican shores up dot catholic domain name

VATICAN (CNS): As top-level domain names are being rolled out and put up for grabs, the Vatican has scored control of the dot catholic domain.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which coordinates the assignment of Internet domain names and addresses around the world, has been allowing entities to apply for ownership of hundreds, and soon it will be thousands, of new domain names, such as dot london, dot insurance and dot xbox, among others, the Catholic News Service reports.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications completed the application process last summer and received word on October 15 that it was approved and that it will have control of the new Internet address extension and the right to decide who may use it.

This permission also applies to the dot catholic name in languages using Latin lettering other than English, as well as the equivalent of the word Catholic in the Cyrillic and Arabic alphabets, and Chinese characters.

Its request for dot catholic in Chinese is number one on the list of priority domain names, right above dot Amazon in Japanese.

Monsignor Paul Tighe, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told CNS that they are happy about the approval, “but there is still a lot of work to do before it goes live.”

He added that seeing sites with the dot catholic extension online still has a long way to go. Monsignor Tighe explained that the Vatican plans to allow “institutions and communities that have canonical recognition to use the extension, so the site can be verified as authentically Catholic.

However, he said that there is no plan to allow individual bloggers or individual Catholics to use dot catholic in a private capacity, as it will be limited to dioceses, parishes and other territorial Church jurisdictions; religious orders and congregations, and canonically recognised communities, such as Catholic universities, schools and hospitals.

The Vatican believes that the domain will give a more cohesive and organised presence to the Church online.


Monsignor Tighe said, “The recognised structure of the Church can be mirrored in digital space.”

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