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March 7th, 2012
02:41 PM ET

Anonymous claims Vatican website shutdown

By Amber Lyon, Eric Marrapodi and Hada Messia, CNN

Rome (CNN) -
Hackers are claiming to have shut down the website for the Catholic Church Wednesday.  Vatican.va, the official website of the Holy See, was not operational Wednesday afternoon.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi confirmed to CNN the site was hacked, but said it would be "fully operational" again shortly.

Anonymous, a loosely-knit international hacking group, claimed responsibility for the church website shutdown.

"Anonymous has now decided to lay siege to your site in response to the doctrines, liturgies and the precepts, absurd and anachronistic, that your organization, (which) is for profit, propagates and spreads worldwide," a statement in Italian on the blog "ufficiale di Anonymous Italia" read.

"This is NOT intended to attack the Christian religion or against the faithful around the world, but to the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church and all its emanations," the statement added.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

A longtime follower of Anonymous who is in touch with the hackers involved and who has knowledge of the plan told CNN that hackers within Anonymous Italy and AntiSec were responsible for shutdown of the church website. AntiSec Anons describe themselves as the "special forces" of the collective.

The source confirmed the statement on the Italian hacker's website.

"It's not a personal attack on Christians, just on the Vatican itself," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous to protect their identity from the group.

Anonymous Italy also cited the Catholic Church's teachings on birth control and abortion and the way it handled widespread sexual abuse scandals as other reasons for the hacking.

The U.S. arm of the Anonymous hacking group has targeted government agencies and corporations before, and religious organizations including the Church of Scientology and Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which has staged protests at funerals of American service members. The Anonymous group claimed responsibility for hacking into an FBI phone call with the agency's Irish counterparts, and for cyberstrikes between December 2010 and June 2011 that included denial-of-service attacks against the websites of Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.

A denial-of-service (DoS) attack typically involves the use of a large number of computers to bombard websites with phony requests for information, causing the site to temporarily shut down.

On Tuesday, top members of the computer hacker group and its offshoots were arrested and charged after a wide-ranging investigation that was assisted by a group leader working as a secret government informant. The FBI informant, "Sabu," was a part of the elite AntiSec hackers.

CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Courts • Vatican

soundoff (536 Responses)
  1. Shahaan

    Thank you for your blog! I write the prayer reqetsus for Northshore Christian Church and I really appreciate the information that is available on your blog. Sometimes searching for prayer reqetsus is harder than it seems. Especially for missionaries in far away places =) I will be putting this request in the missions calendar and if you have anything else that you would like to add before the 20th I'll put that in too. Wish I could put in the picture with all those yummy cookies! WOW! Merry Christmas!

    June 26, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  2. Make money

    Hello my loved one! I wish to say that this article is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all vital infos. I'd like to see more posts like this .

    April 18, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  3. Piotrków

    I do agree with all the ideas you have presented on your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for starters. May you please lengthen them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

    April 8, 2012 at 6:57 am |
  4. bl4ck0utsUn

    Amusing! Judge so you can be judged! Anonymous keep up the good work! Love you guys! Bring all the wrongs in the world to light;) Fear is the control they hold over all of you!

    March 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • IfOnlyYouKnew

      Shuting down the vatican for suposedly being anachronic... with all going down in the world

      That s one of the things that made me wonder if anonymous suscribers are not manipulated by an outside force, like china.

      Think of it, 1000s of limited-thinking beoples that do not realize they are giving a blank card to ANYONE. So basicaly your local russian mafia site could propose that we hit a certain site, lets say the security system of a certain bank, so they can have a quiet robery. Since they are all logged, they win the votem and 10,000 computers worldwide attack the target. Robery goes well.

      Honestly there is no limit to how devious it can get.

      At the same time, many anonymous users seems genuine, and sometime hit worthy targets, or at least menace to hit them, such as the attack on the cartels, their most positive operation to date. – a bit contradctory – since the cartel are allied of china – assuming china was the initial secret sponsor

      Certainly anonymous is unusual by western standard, where instead you get *heroic hackers* as portrayed in tv series like nikita or in some movies like hackers. Peoples with famous nickname that do it sometime for glory sometime for the greater good. And then of course the run of the mill hacker, the averege jowe simply cracking game code so he can play, or game account passwords for online game; shadowed by his darkside, the bank hacker, stealing funds.

      Anonymous almost seems like a lazy couch potato hacker style. You don t know how to do it, so you trust anonymous to use your computer for you. with all the risks that goes with it. Not knowing if the person at the helm is a 15 year old visionary, or a 30 year old psychopath, or perhaps a KGB superspy, or why not a CIA operative. Everything is possible with anonymous.

      March 11, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven!

    March 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • AGuest9

      [yawn] Quit lying.

      March 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Truth

      March 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Delusion

      March 11, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • just sayin

      Absolute Truth

      March 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things
      Proven!"

      What's been proven is you are a LIAR!

      March 12, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Jesus

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~~... . .

      March 13, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  6. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes your crap really soft when you aren't constipated.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    March 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Don't bother praying there is no god.

    March 9, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • AGuest9

      There isn't, but why be just as obnoxious as"Atheism is" and post under different names?

      March 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 9, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Jesus

      ~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~~...

      March 9, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  9. albie

    Oh man, I am such a fan of Anonymous right now - more power to them - they should shut down every church - religion is a money and resource black hole.

    March 9, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • AGuest9

      I'm amazed that people are giving 10% of their incomes to a corrupt organization when there are so many worthy charities they could be helping, who don't hire child molesters and hypocrites.

      March 9, 2012 at 8:08 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.