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Status: Proposed
Registry Provider: ARI Registry Services
Registry: Pontificium Consilium de Comunicationibus Socialibus
Registry Backend: Neustar
Type: Generic
Category: Culture
Priority #: 1366 - Pontificium Consilium de Comunicationibus Socialibus

.catholic is a proposed TLD in ICANN's New gTLD Program. The applicant is Pontificium Consilium de Comunicationibus Socialibus, which is a department within the sovereign state of The Vatican. It is one of 4 ".catholic" TLDs, the others being IDN strings in Hani Chinese (.天主教), Russian (.католик), and Arabic .كاثوليك.[1]


"The PCCS is a Dicastery of the Holy See, the governing body of the Catholic Church..The “Holy See” is internationally acknowledged to be the highest juridical authority of the Catholic Church, being governed by the Pope, also referred to as “the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Catholic Church”. For instance, the U.S. Department of State states that “the “Holy See” is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operates from Vatican City State, a sovereign, independent territory […]. The Pope is the ruler of both Vatican City State and the Holy See. The Holy See, as the supreme body of government of the Catholic Church, is a sovereign juridical entity under international law.”[2]

To quote their registration policies: "The eligibility to register a domain name within the .catholic TLD will be restricted to the PCCS and the PCCS alone. Use of a .catholic domain name may be granted at the sole discretion of the PCCS to an affiliate such as recognised dioceses, religious orders and Catholic Church-affiliated institutions. The PCCS maintains a list of affiliates formally recognised by the Holy See as being part of the Catholic Church and thus being eligible to be granted use of a .catholic domain name. This list is primarily based on, however not exclusively, on the Annuario Pontificio (the official annual directory of all institutions related to the Holy See)."[3]


The Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission has objected to the various .catholic applications on the grounds that “Many other Christians use the term 'Catholic' to refer more broadly to the whole Christian Church regardless of denominational affiliation,” and “Other Christian communions lay claim to the term "Catholic" such as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church.”[4]

Independent Objector

The Independent Objector (IO) is a non-partisan, contracted appointee whose role was mandated by the applicant guidebook for ICANN's New gTLD Program, and who is responsible for officially objecting to new gTLDs that are dangerous to the public good. This process also involves reviewing "controversial applications," those that have received significant public comments, and investigating whether a public need for objection is provided for tin these comments. Thus, the Independent Objector issued a preliminary report on .catholic, noting that most objections raise the issue that the Roman Catholic Church does not control and represent all uses and identifications with the term "catholic." The IO goes on to way the importance of religious freedom but concludes that the applicant represents the large majority of Catholics and that the applicant is in a position to run the TLD as it has applied for it.[5]


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