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Forget about '.com' domains: The Church is getting ready to launch '.catholic'

A popular internet domain has a new owner: '.Catholic' is now owned by the Vatican, which means the Vatican will ultimately decide what websites can borrow the name. 

MSGR. PAUL TIGHE

Secretary, Pontifical Council for Social Communications

"At the beginning the Holy See was inclined to say 'You shouldn't open these up for religious related names, because there could be contentions that owns '.Christ', who owns  '.religion.' But there was an argument, a counterargument, that said 'No, it has to be free speech, you have to allow complete liberalization and freedom.'â?

The hope is that the domain will only be available for those communities and institutions recognized by the Vatican, like dioceses or religious orders. The goal of the '.catholic' domain is to give the Church a more visible presence on the web. 

MSGR. PAUL TIGHE

Secretary, Pontifical Council for Social Communications

"We then have to develop a clear policy to decide to whom we will give the address and who will  be authorized then to further offer the domain name to people at lower levels. I think we are looking at something about 18 months to two years before we have an actual delegation, before we have websites functioning, using the '.catholic' name.â? 

With the Vatican as the new .catholic owner, the Council for Social Communication hopes users will recognize reliable Catholic sources, when they see that domain name. 

The Vatican is still getting ready to officially launch the new domain. Once everything's set up, the Vatican will start a campaign so that dioceses and other institutions can get things started. 

JRB/PM

CTV

JM

-PR

Up:IZA