PopeWatch: Vatican

The Lepanto Institute gives us a lesson in Vatican priorities:

In August of 2017, InfoVaticana, a small Catholic news portal based in Madrid, Spain, was surprised to receive a letter from Baker & McKenzie, the second largest law firm in the world, demanding that InfoVaticana transfer its domain (www.infovaticana.com) to the Vatican Secretariat of State.  The reason for the demand was that the Vatican alleges that it possesses exclusive property rights over the name of the physical center of the Catholic world.  The letter stated that InfoVaticana had seven days to comply with this order and that failing to do so would result in an exceedingly expensive lawsuit.

InfoVaticana, which was launched in May of 2013, says that it is “a free and independent media that has the vocation to serve the Catholic Church and society.”  It’s stated mission is to “deepen the denunciation of Christianophobia and the corruption that the Church uses, the rejection of the totalitarian impositions of the powerful LGBT lobby and the support of our brothers, the persecuted Christians.”

InfoVaticana has written articles critical of the homosexual influence in the Vatican, Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia, the Vatican’s scandalous handling of the Order of Malta, the provision of a medal to a radical pro-abortion politician, and many other concerns held by Catholics around the world.

In early 2017, InfoVaticana filed a trademark request for its name beside the Emblem of the Vatican State.  It wasn’t long before InfoVaticana discovered that it could not trademark a national emblem, and so on March 27, 2017, it withdrew its trademark application and opted to trademark its name along with a more generic pair of crossed keys instead.

Vatican Lawsuit 02The trouble began two months later, when on May 15, InfoVaticana received a letter from Baker & McKenzie on behalf of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.  The letter argued that the crossed keys “represent the symbolic emblem of the Christ Delivering Keys to St. Peter [and] are an integral part of the Emblem,” and when combined with the name “InfoVaticana,” the public may draw the “wrongful and misleading impression that the Website is officially linked or directly managed by the Holy See.”  As such, the letter requests that InfoVaticana withdraw its trademark application and cease using the Emblem of the Vatican State and the combined image of InfoVaticana with the crossed keys.

In August of 2017, InfoVaticana received a second letter from Baker & McKenzie, this time demanding that in addition to no longer using the crossed keys with the name InfoVaticana, InfoVaticana actually cease using the name “InfoVaticana” at all and turn the website domain over to the Secretary of State.  The letter argues that the crossed keys used in InfoVaticana’s application for its trademarked logo is a violation of the Vatican’s intellectual property in the form of “State Symbols.”  Such argumentation would imply that any portion of the formal symbols representing Vatican City (the Cross, the keys, a tassel, a gold and white flag) are prohibited from use by any entity without express permission from the Vatican.

If this is actually the case, then the Vatican would need to pursue lawsuits against the following as well:

The Society of the Crossed Keys

Vatican Lawsuit 03

Prime Real Estate of Florida

Vatican Lawsuit 04

Metro Local Locksmith

Vatican Lawsuit 05

Cross Keys Animal Hospital

Vatican Lawsuit 06

The Cross Keys Inn

Vatican Lawsuit 07

York Minster

Vatican Lawsuit 08

Cross Keys Bank

Vatican Lawsuit 09

But then the letter from Baker & McKenzie gets even more ridiculous.  In addition to demanding that InfoVaticana refrain from using the crossed keys as a symbol of the website, the letter demands:

4) Immediately transfer in favor of the Secretary of State (or in favor of whom it designates), the domain name www.infovaticana.com.

Why?  Because:

“the domain name infovaticana.com (the “Name of Infringing Domain”) incorporates the vocabulary “INFOVATICANA” that, as seen, induces the public to error about the nature and origin of the service offered by you.

In short, the described uses not authorized by the Secretary of State on the Website in the Name of the Infringing Domain and the way in which your Website and the business carried out by you are presented to the public constitute clear infractions of the State Symbols and other signs that designate the Vatican institution that the Secretary of State is not willing to tolerate.”

In other words, the argument is that (forgetting that InfoVaticana’s “about us” page clearly states that it is “a free and independent media” site) InfoVaticana gives the appearance that it is an officially sanctioned Vatican website (it does not) and so therefore must not only cease using any portion or imitation of official symbols of the Vatican State, but hand over the domain name as well.

This would be like the Federal Government of the United States telling USA Today that it must hand over its name and web domain to the US government because the use of “USA” is exclusive to the government.  Perhaps, then, the state of New York should demand that the New York Times hand over its name and domain for the same reason.  Same thing with America Magazine.

In response to the letter, InfoVaticana enlisted the aid of a legal team who provided a compromise to Baker & McKenzie, proposing that InfoVaticana cease to use the crossed keys in its logo, as well as any other image that may correspond to official emblems of the Holy See.  The proposal was not a concession of any wrong-doing, but an act of good faith and good will in a desire to avoid causing confusion or the impression that InfoVaticana was in any way involved with the Vatican State.

Baker & McKenzie’s response was an emphatic refusal to negotiate, reiterating the demand that the domain name must be transferred to the Vatican Secretary of State.

But that’s not even the worst of it.

The law firm Cardinal Parolin hired to handle the case, Baker & McKenzie, is well known for the promotion of homosexuality, and even represented the abortion giant, Planned Parenthood.


Go here to read the rest.  Anyone surprised by this?  Our Church dollars at work.


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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. I wonder if the problem isn’t size; when any organization–and, in some respects, the Catholic Church, i.e. the Vatican, is an organization–gets big, then the folks at middle levels start to direct what happens, make policy. And as we all know from the Peter Principle, administrative heads rise to the ir maximum level of incompetence.
    I think it was Queen Kristina of Sweden, a noted convert to Catholicism, who remarked that the Church must be divinely endowed to have lasted through 1700 years of incompetence (or words to that effect).

  2. In the end this should be a big moneymaker for InfoVaticana. God works in strange ways.

    1, You must come into court with clean hands. The official church’s hands are diseased, smarmy, dirty, filthy. Their own ordained priests, monsignors, bishops and cardinals have besmirched and ruined the church’s image in Italy, in Europe and in the entire world. If anything, the word “Vatican” brings immediately to mind homosexual cocaine orgies with priests and male prostitutes in the Vatican apartments, not to mention many many more scandalous actions that have been publicized involving the hierarchy and the lowerarchy, these actions including not only consensual orgies but the abuse by pederasts and pedophiles and perverts, by those in and of the Vatican, around the world. Not to mention the Vatican’s unclean hands re millions disapperaed from the VAtican Bank.

    2. Others have been using crossed keys and the word “Vatican” for decades. This horse left the trademark corral years ago, and current-day Vatican mafia cannot get it back in. With knowledge of this prior to filing suit, it is clear that this suit was known to be a loser from the start.

    3. By the very principles and admission in Amoris Laetitia, by the man now wearing papal white, the church has taken the public position that those using the word “Vatican” have done nothing wrong, that God’s mercy provides them with a “Get out of this lawsuit free” card, and that no one should JUDGE those using the word “Vatican.” These public admissions that those using the word “Vatican” have done nothing wrong and are not to be judged are additional reasons that these church mafiosa hierarchs are in this court with unclean, sewer-stench hands.

    The lawsuit is baseless and frivolous. The church now has some more victims to whom it must pay – and it has already paid billion$s from its victim funds [i.e. the widow’s mites and the money of the faithful]. Hope there are some millions left.

    Guy McClung, Texas

  3. The Crossed Keys have been widely used for many centuries in innumerable coats of arms, with no reference at all to the Holy See.

    In England, the Crossed Keys appear as a device in the arms of the dioceses of Exeter, Gloucester, Peterborough and York and in the arms of the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers in the City of London.

    The Crossed Keys appear alone in the arms of the Duchy of Minden, of the City of Regensburg in Germany and of the City of Leiden in the Netherlands. They appear in chief in the arms of Québec in Canada and as a device in those of the City of Montafon in Austria and of many cities in France.

    There are found in numerous family coats of arms matriculated by the Lord Lyon in Scotland.

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