Thursday, June 14, 2012

Roman Catholic Church seeks to own ‘catholic’

Yesterday, His Grace was rather amused by this story. Today, he is rather irritated by it.

It is one thing to be geographically territorial about domain names: by all means, let HM Government own ‘’, France own ‘.fr’, Zimbabwe own ‘.zw’, and the Vatican City State own ‘.va’. But by granting contested theological and philosophical terms to one single authority ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is inadvertently arbitrating between competing interpretations and conflicting histories in order to determine an official global orthodoxy.

Vatican City has spent $740,000 in applications for control of the top-level extension ‘.catholic’ (and the equivalent in the Cyrillic, Arabic and Chinese alphabets) and will thereby be able to decide who is permitted to use the term. Msgr. Paul Tighe, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said that controlling the top-level domain ‘will be a way to authenticate the Catholic presence online’. He confirmed that the Vatican plans only 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’.

That’s nice.

But what of those who contest that the Roman Catholic Church is itself authentically catholic? Read more

Vatican set to control new 'catholic' Internet domain

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