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Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Guest Writer

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How the Pope Does Broadband: Integrations of Church and Internet

Those in the know and those who subscribe may already get Pope Benedict XVI’s tweets on Twitter.  It’s been reported that Justin Bieber enjoys more subscribers, but the Pope boasts more re-tweets, not surprisingly to some.  Yet, Vatican City and the Pope are clearly making their presence known over the Broadband spectrum.  The Catholic Church recently made headlines in December of 2012 when ICANN, the overseers of the Internet address system, reported that it will entertain the Vatican’s request for the .Catholic domain name first in its initiative to expand the domain name address system, according to Reuters.

The Domain of the Church

Reuters reports that ICANN announced that the Vatican’s request for .Catholic “written in Chinese characters will be the first bid it considers in a drive to expand and reorganize sites on the World Wide Web.”  The Catholic Church wants to change its domain names to end in .Catholic in order to better authenticate its sites.  So, the Russian Church site will read .Catholic in Cyrillic letters and the Roman Church site will contain Latin and so forth.  The requests haven’t been approved as yet, but the Chinese request is likely to pass early in 2013.  While the Vatican is not as hurried as commercial entities like Amazon (its bid will be up for consideration second) to get into the name-changing game early, the Church is simply trying to identify itself more cohesively throughout the internet, according to reports.

Other Churches Interested in Renaming Their Domains

The Catholic Church may be first, but the next religious organization in ICANN’s long line of bids is ranked further down the line at 118th place.  ICANN reports that .Mormon is the second religious group they will consider for name change.  However, no one should assume ICANN is playing favorites when it comes to faith-based groups.  The corporation is simply pushing non-Latin name bids to the front of the list.  At this point, there are also no requests for a “.Jewish” or “.Buddhist,” but time may tell.  The corporation, however, wants to name appropriately by matching domain names with the organizations that match them most closely.

More on the Catholic Church and Internet

The Vatican does have a website, of course (vaticanstate.va/EN/homepage.htm), and the Pope can even be heard over the Vatican Radio website.  The Catholic Church has not ignored the uses of broadband and views the internet as a powerful medium for communication.  In fact, it espoused its beliefs about internet and its appropriate uses on its website making it clear that it fully supports the internet for the “good” it does and essentially encourages people to use it wisely and supervise their children.

As for Twitter, the Pope only signed on December 12, 2012 so it’s likely that overtaking Bieber will be no problem in the long haul.  The Vatican has no plans to join Facebook presently; however, it will tweet in various languages like English, French, Italian, Arabic, and more.  While the medium will allow the Pope to communicate positive messages to those who follow his tweets, it will also serve his bigger goal—to become far more ensconced in the digital realm.

Sam Jones, the author, has been investigating business broadband and thinks it is interesting how the church is beginning to use it in a business context.

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