Anonymous has hacked the Vatican. The website for the Catholic Church, vatican.va, is currently down. This appears to be a typical Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, meaning no actual data was compromised: the website was simply overloaded with requests. As such, while the site was hacked, it wasn't compromised, and will likely be back up shortly.
Anonymous said it is not personally attacking Christians, just the Vatican itself. The group has a problem with the Catholic Church's teachings on birth control and abortion. Anonymous is also not happy with the way the Vatican handles widespread sexual abuse scandals. Last but not least, it accused the Church of harboring Nazi war criminals and condemned the institution for allowing its representatives to molest children.
Here is what YourAnonNews had to say about the DDoS attack on Twitter:
TANGO DOWN - Vatican Website - http://www.vatican.va/ - (via Anonymous Italia) #ANONYMOUS Why? For the pure, simple lulz, no other reason.
Ohai Pope. There were also all those sex abuse scandals and the Vatican's archaic stance on birth control. #JustSayin
Here is what Anonymous had to say about the DDoS attack on Pastebin:
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 is for profit (Roman Apostolic Church) propagates and spreads worldwide.
You have burned books of immense historical and literary value, you barbarously executed your fiercest detractors and critics over the centuries, have denied universally deemed valid or plausible theories, have led the unwary to pay to get access to paradise with the sale of indulgences.
Have you been guilty of riduazione enslavement of entire populations, using as a pretext your mission of evangelization and the spread of Christianity in the world.
In more recent times have played a significant role in helping Nazi war criminals find refuge in foreign countries and to evade international justice.
Let every day many of the units within the clergy may be responsible of molesting children, covering them when the facts become public domain.
Italy must tolerate interference in your daily life, public policy and social damage, and all that entails.
Do you have property and businesses for the value of billions of euros, on which you have strong tax incentives.
You refuse to decree, practices and objects result of progress such as condoms or abortion as a clinical wounds to eradicate.
You retrogadi, one of the last bastions of an era forunatamente past, and destined anon repeated.
We sincerely hope that the Lateran Treaty will finally be revised in the near future and will come ... what you are relegated to a relic of times gone by.
This is NOT intended to attack the true Christian religion and the faithful around the world, but to the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church and all its emanations
Anonymous' Italian members seem to be the ones spearheading this particular siege. An Anon News blog post describing the attack, titled vatican.va TANGO DOWN!!!, was written entirely in Italian. The only exception was the group's signature:
WE ARE ANONYMOUS
WE ARE LEGION
WE DON'T FORGIVE
WE DON'T FORGET
In August 2011, Anonymous attempted to attack the Vatican, but failed. Instead, the group targeted the website of the 2011 World Youth Day, the massive Catholic youth festival that was underway in Madrid, Spain. The website was up and down all day on the first day of the festival: August 18.
Update at 2:00 PM PST: The website is still somewhat accessible. I have seen it working and I have seen it down. I'm guessing that my constant refreshing is not helping the situation. It was originally taken down some seven hours ago, and it still isn't completely operational.