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VATICAN CITY, September 25, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — According to Italian media reports, the Vatican Secretariat for Communications on Monday temporarily blocked access, on all its computers, to the webpage that would allow its employees to add their names to the 62 signatories of the “Filial Correction” addressed to Pope Francis for “propagating heresies.”

“No Vatican computer can be used to sign the correction in any language, while outside the Vatican one can reach the page,” Italian agencies including Ansa and Corriere della Sera reported on Monday morning.

While the homepage was not blocked, reports claimed, attempts to access the sign-up form redirected to a page that read: “Access to the webpage you are trying to visit has been blocked in accord with institutional security policies.”

The Vatican has denied the claims, saying that some of the computers available for journalists and authorized personnel in the Vatican press office have filters that regulate navigation. “On some computers in the press room, as in any company, there are filters that are automatically triggered for various online content, from pornography to malware to advertising,” Greg Burke, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, explained.

One of these filters, Burke explained, blocks pages “that request personal information, in order to avoid unwanted operations.”

This is why, on some of the computers in the press office, one can visit the homepage and navigate within it, but not sign the correction, because “the form requires personal information.”

This is what happens for any other site that requires the same sort of information, Holy See Press Office representatives explained.

Burke further downplayed the claims, joking: “You can’t really imagine we would do this for a letter with 60 names.”

The Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications, Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, also weighed in this morning, telling Vatican Insider: “Since its inception, the dicastery has been equipped with systems and policies to ensure workplace security, as is the case in companies around the world. While network traffic for the Vatican State is managed by the Governorate of Vatican City State, the Secretariat for Communications exclusively manages network traffic for the dicastery, applying policies derived from well-defined categories used internationally. Our security policies do not allow you to reach a parked-domains site, which is a registered site but one that, by clicking on its home page, redirects traffic to another domain on which it’s easy to find ads but is also a repository of malware or suspicious content.”  

The same filters are not present everywhere in the Vatican, one curial official told LifeSiteNews, saying one can freely purchase items such as tickets and books (transactions which require supplying the same sort of personal information) on a Vatican computer.

What really happened this morning, and the events which led to the reports, is not entirely clear. Rai News amended its initial report, while other agencies did not.

“It is a mystery,” Italian Church historian and promoter of the Filial Correction, Professor Roberto de Mattei, told LifeSiteNews on Monday. “In any case, the result is that we have had more than 100,000 visits to the site.”

Meanwhile, six new signatures were added to the “Filial Correction,” including that of His Excellency Rene Henry Gracida D.D., Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.

This brings the number of signatories up to 68, with more expected in the coming days.


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