VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Catholic site is in danger of being shut down after the Vatican demanded that it hand over its domain name.
InfoVaticana, a conservative Spanish website, has been embroiled in a legal battle with Vatican Secretary of State Cdl. Pietro Parolin. According to a blog entry posted Thursday, Parolin "sent a request several months ago to Infovaticana to renounce our web domain, claiming that they have exclusive property rights over the name of the physical center of the Catholic world."
"I knew we were not useful to those who use the Vatican for their personal profit," website owner Gabriel Ariza Rossy told Church Militant, "but I didn't imagine that they would go so far."
"This is a political prosecution because we talk about corruption in the Spanish Episcopal Conference," he added.
At least two other news sites use the word "Vatican" in their titles and domain name: Inside the Vatican, and Vatican Insider. There is also Vatican.com, privately owned and unaffiliated with the Vatican. And a cryptic website with explicit language operates with the domain name the-vaticancity.com. All of these are allowed to operate freely without the threat of lawsuits by Cdl. Parolin.
According to InfoVaticana, "the Spanish Episcopal Conference does not like what we say" — which includes exposing clerical corruption. Although it allows websites like Religion Digital to promote heterodox content, "It seems, for our bishops, the doctrinal dissidence is not as serious as denouncing abuses of the clergy."
Cardinal Ricardo Blázquez filed a complaint against InfoVaticana last year with the Apostolic Nuncio. The Secretary of State afterwards secured the help of Baker & MacKenzie, one of the world's largest and most prestigious law firms, to demand transferal of InfoVaticana's domain name to the Vatican within seven days, or else face "a very expensive lawsuit."
"I think that some Spanish bishops have started a manhunt against us because they don't want to be questioned in their behavior," Rossy told Church Militant.
InfoVaticana tried to negotiate a compromise, asking to retain its domain name while giving up the papal keys logo and making clear "the private and independent nature" of their outfit and "that we have no relationship with the Vatican" other than as a portal for news coming from Rome.
"The answer was emphatic: The demands of the Vatican, defended by Baker & McKenzie, are non-negotiable and InfoVaticana must disappear," the report stated.
Parolin has extended the grace period to six months for InfoVaticana to make arrangements to hand over its domain name.
Rossy is not backing down, however. "Resist and pray," he told Church Militannt. "We think that we have to seek justice and try to win the trial, although we have [little] money and they have the best and most expensive lawyers in the world."
The case currently lies before the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, where the Vatican filed its complaint.
"It is important to say that we just try to serve the Church," Rossy remarked to Church Militant. "Some think that inviting Paul Ehrlich to [the] Vatican is serving the Church, and we think that what we do is the way that we have to serve the Church."
Ehrlich, an abortion advocate and author of Population Bomb, used for decades to push population control, was invited to speak at the Vatican last year by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, headed by Bp. Marcel Sanchez Sorondo. Sorondo recently came under fire for claiming that Communist China "best applies the social doctrine of the Church."