The Pope has become the latest victim of the hacking group Anonymous, which attacked the Vatican website on Wednesday evening.
A Vatican spokesperson confirmed that the website was inaccessible but has not said the hacking group was responsible.
Anonymous claimed responsibility on its Italian-language website. In a statement the group said it had carried out the attack in response to “corruption” in the Church.
"Anonymous decided today to besiege your site in response to the doctrine, to the liturgies, to the absurd and anachronistic concepts that your for-profit organisation spreads around the world,” read the statement.
"This attack is not against the Christian religion or the faithful around the world but against the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church."
On Tuesday, the FBI arrested three key members of the computer hacking collective LulzSec, a similar group of "hacktivists" with close ties to Anonymous.
The action against the hackers followed several attacks, including the taking down of Sony and Nintendo sites, as well as the government websites of several African nations.