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Vatican acquires top level domain .catholic

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MANILA, Nov. 21, 2013—In a bid to keep up with the top-level domain name liberalization in the internet and to maintain authenticity among Church-related websites, the Vatican acquired .catholic domain from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). 

In a press conference held at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines compound on November 20, Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said .catholic top-level domain will be offered to dioceses and religious orders (ex. www.manila.catholic for Manila archdiocese), which in turn would offer the second-level domain to recognized Catholic juridical bodies, schools and institutions (ex. www.sanagustinchurch.manila.catholic). 

Msgr. Tighe said the Vatican acquired .catholic top-level domain to prevent others from taking it and to possibly invite all catholic organizations to be present in the internet. But the domain name will not be open for individuals. 

“It’s a way of having a space in the digital arena where the Church can have an authentic presence,” said Msgr. Tighe. 

The Vatican is hoping that if all major catholic institutions will use .catholic top-level domain name, people who are searching for Catholic-related information will more likely get or be directed to an authentic catholic site. 

Another concern of the Vatican is the digital divide since there are people who are not in the digital world because of difficulty in access, and with this, Msgr. Tighe said they are hoping that when they get the churches that are developed in digital arena present, they will help churches in other parts of the world that are not so developed to be more present in digital space, which is also an exercise in Church solidarity in community. 

The Vatican already has the entitlement to .catholic top-level domain from the ICANN and has gone through their process. The Vatican will now go through the delegation, in which ICANN will ensure that the Vatican has the technology and the ability to make the top-level domain work properly, as well as the constituencies and that they are organized for it to be able to work effectively. 

Msgr. Tighe said it would take a year or two before .catholic top-level domain will be operative. “It’s a long-term project and we are taking it slowly,” he added. (Ronalyn Regino)


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