Vatican speedily disowns porn site

 

The Vatican, which rarely lowers itself to issuing speedy press statements, has reacted with exceptional alacrity in denying ownership of a new internet address called "vatican.xxx", which is designed to host pornography.

"This domain is not available because it has been acquired by someone else, but not the Vatican," Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican radio.

Father Lombardi's terse statement suggested that the Vatican may have tried to acquire the domain in order to prevent future misuse but had been beaten to it by the unknown buyer.

Although no additional clarification was provided, the Holy See would no doubt have been keen to counter any opportunity for further embarrassments following a series of serious sex scandals that have exploded in the past few years, ranging from accusations of widespread clerical paedophilia to rent-boy services organised at St Peter's.

In March last year, it emerged that one of the Pope's ceremonial ushers, as well as a member of the elite Vatican choir, were involved in a gay prostitution ring.

"Two black Cuban lads", a former male model from Naples, and a rugby player from Rome were among those said to have been procured for Angelo Balducci, a member of the exclusive Papal Gentlemen fraternity.

Numerous organisations, including companies and museums, have already registered "xxx" domains in their names to prevent misuse. ICM Registry, the company selling the new internet domains, provided a 30-day "sunrise period" in which brands could reserve their own trademarks before they went on general sale.

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