Saudis attempt to block Vatican bid for .catholic web addresses

From The Telegraph:

Saudis attempt to block Vatican plan for .catholic web addresses

By Christopher Williams, Technology Correspondent

The objection is one of more than 160 sent by the Saudis to ICANN, the body in charge of web addresses, over its plan to allow hundreds of new “top-level domains” to supplement .com, and other existing suffixes.
“Many other Christians use the term ‘Catholic’ to refer more broadly to the whole Christian Church regardless of denominational affiliation,” the Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission said in its complaint. [Are these the same Saudis who hate Christianity enough that they don’t allow any Crosses, Bibles, baptisms… ?]
“Other Christian communions lay claim to the term “Catholic” such as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church.”
“Therefore, we respectfully request that ICANN not award this.”  [What’s their real game?  Worries about whether a Suni or Shia group would get control of .islam?]
The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communication, which already controls .va, paid the $185,000 fee to bid to create .catholic earlier this year, saying it was “a recognition of how important the digital space is for the church”.
The Saudi government, under the control of the royal family, added that it objected to any group being put in charge of web addresses based on religious terms. It complained about bids to create top-level domains for .islam, .halal and .ummah on similar grounds. [ah HA!]
The Kingdom also made moral complaints about an array of planned new suffixes.
It said .baby, which three bidders including the baby powder maker Johnson & Johnson have applied to create, could be used to host and promote pornography.


Read the rest there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. sallyr says:

    I am astonished that Saudi Arabia is allowed to make any moral claims in the international community. That country has zero respect for human rights, the rule of law, or simple human decency. It wasn’t that long ago that 15 young girls died in a fire because religious authorities would not allow the firemen to save them. Why? Because the girls were not properly attired (meaning their hair wasn’t covered and they weren’t hidden under black burkhas). Police were seen beating the girls back into the burning building.

    And now the Saudis think they have the legitimacy to “protect” Christians from the Vatican using the name Catholic? Insanity.

  2. frjim4321 says:

    This is a fascinating subject on the basis of technology alone. Currently it seems that extensions such as .com, .net, and .org have been given out to just about anybody that asks them, but with religious-based extensions (e.g., “Catholic,”) who is the traffic cop who is going to regulate the usage?

    As I have mentioned before (this came up quite a while ago) I certainly hope if the extension “catholic” is approved by ICANN that strict naming conventions are adhered to, as is the case with the “k-12” extension. For example, “” or “”

    Without logical naming conventions I don’t think the new extension will be very helpful.

  3. mamajen says:

    I’m not really a fan of a lengthy suffix like that. It may show that the internet is important to the Church (and I quite agree), but it also shows their lack of internet savvy–long domain names are generally frowned upon if you want a successful web presence. But they should be allowed to do it if they want. It’s ludicrous that Saudi Arabia even gets a say.

  4. frjim4321 says:

    good point, should have been “cath”

  5. jflare says:

    “It said .baby, which three bidders including the baby powder maker Johnson & Johnson have applied to create, could be used to host and promote pornography.”

    HOW on earth do they come up with that idea??

  6. Maria says:

    RomeReports, July 18, 2012: “The purchase of the domain doesn’t come cheap. The Vatican paid $740,000 to apply for .catholic in four languages.”

    @Mamajen: I actually like .catholic. I was browsing a lot and I thought it was catholic but after reading the content, I was so disappointed. I do not mind long names as I just save them on my favorites and click.

  7. Pingback: Paul Ryan Bishop Morlino St. Maximilian Kolbe Distributism | Big Pulpit

  8. Geoffrey says:

    Would websites apply to the Holy See to be able to use the .catholic extension? Sort of like a virtual “imprimatur”?

  9. 1catholicsalmon says:

    There is always a fly in the ointment…some bigger than others.

  10. acardnal says:

    Appending Fr. Z’s comment above, the Saudis also do NOT allow ANY Christian churches or clergy in their country by law.

  11. PA mom says:

    Saudis do not want it emphasized that Catholics look to a source of genuine authority in Rome. If the same happens to Islam, the international community is unlikely to allow Saudis to step into that role. This would open the door for some other sect to be the accepted intellectual authority for Islam. As long as everyone is their own authority, their “lifestyle”can continue with little opposition.

  12. jeffreyquick says:

    ““Pornography undermines gender equality and threatens public morals by objectifying and exploiting women,” the Saudi government said.” SNORT! They’re right, but they aren’t the ones to talk about gender equality.

  13. Athanasius says:

    The fruit of interreligious-dialogue.

  14. More from the religion “peace” and who say the holocaust never happened

  15. Michelle F says:

    I know the “.catholic” extension is long, but I think it will make it easier for non-Catholics and poorly-catechized Catholics to find websites devoted to the Church’s real teachings – easier than trying to remember “.va” for the Vatican.

    Oh, and I wondered why the Arabians were raising a stink over the extension. Their not wanting to open the door on something like “.islam” makes sense.

  16. Jael says:

    I doubt the Arabs could name one average Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox person who would want to be called Catholic. This is ridiculous.

  17. dn.philip.mathew says:

    Dear Jael,

    While it is true that Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Christians would not want to be called “Catholics” in the way this term is typically used nowadays (i.e., to identify Roman Catholics), it is not ridiculous for the Saudis to assert that the Orthodox, too, lay claim to the term “Catholic”. It is simply a fact.

    Orthodox Christians consider themselves Catholic in that word’s original sense, and do not accept that it can only refer to Roman Catholics. There may be Roman Catholics who feel the Orthodox “forfeited” their claim to being Catholic by not being under Rome; perhaps that is consistent with your faith, I’m not sure. But there are Orthodox who, believing the Roman Church to have left us, would say that Roman Catholics, despite the name, have forfeited Catholicity by leaving the communion of the Church. Same logic, applied differently. But both groups lay claim to the title Catholic, despite our current linguistic conventions. Interestingly, the term “Orthodox” is not foreign to Roman Catholicism. Though it doesn’t occur that often, and is not typically used to identify that Church, it does pop up from time to time (e.g., in the first prayer of the Roman Canon).

    Now, is any of this the reason why the Saudis oppose the Vatican on this matter? No. But it wasn’t a ridiculous point they made to defend their stance.

    Dn Philip

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