.- Despite launching an attack for several hours on the Vatican website, a group of hackers known as Anonymous was unsuccessful in completely shutting down the Holy See's official internet page.
Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See’s Press Office, confirmed to CNA on March 7 that the Vatican website was indeed the target of an attack.
However, the vice director of the press office, Father Ciro Benedettini, said on the following day that the hackers “were not able to achieve their objective” of completely bringing down the site.
He said Anonymous usually posts its signature banner on a website once it has completely taken it over, and its banner never appeared on the Holy See's online hub.
“The problem was solved right this evening,” Fr. Benedettini said on March 8.
The Anonymous logo features a man dressed in business suit flanked by two olive branches with a question mark in place of his head and a globe in the background.
An entry on the blog of Anonymous Italy said the attack was in response to the “doctrines, liturgies and the absurd and anachronistic precepts” that the Church spreads worldwide. It cited the sexual abuse of children, various historical and alleged misdeeds, and Church “interference” in Italian daily life and public policy as motives for the digital assault.
The hackers also objected to the Catholic stance against abortion and contraceptives.
They claimed the attack was not on the Christian religion or the Christian faithful but targeted the “corrupt Roman Apostolic Church.”
In August 2011, a faction of Anonymous unsuccessfully tried to attack the website of World Youth Day during the international Catholic event.
That campaign tried to recruit others to take part in the attack using YouTube videos, Twitter, and Facebook. It similarly cited clergy sex abuse as a motive, but also attacked Catholic practices like confession to priests.