03/23/12- According to La Crónica De Hoy, just three days before Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Mexico, the group of cyber activists named Anonymous hacked the webpages of the Archdiocese of Mexico, and the Institute of Philosophical Comunication (Instituto de Comunicación Filosófica, Comfil). Samuel Najera, spokesman of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, classified this as a “cyber attack.”
The page of the Archdiocese of Mexico was down for several hours due to what Anonymous has called Operation “Fariseo” (or Pharisee). There has been no official response from the Archdiocese.
Until the morning of March 21, Comfil’s page had been replaced by messages that said, “System Hacked, THE POPE is not welcome, get out get out!!!” and “We’re sorry ADMIN you have been hacked, we are not deleting anything, but what we want to tell you who SUPPORT THE POPE, is that makes you RESPONSIBLE for the ABUSE of children and the blood that spills around the world BECAUSE of those that govern the CHURCH. BENEDICT XVI we are behind you. #we are the Iluminati of the world #Anonymous.”
La Crónica De Hoy reports that the changes were accompanied by a legend that read, “The Catholic Church, the Pope and the Vatican, are guilty of crimes against humanity. For having sexually abused hundreds of minors, for having voluntarily covered up these abominations, and for prohibiting the marriage of priests taking away their liberty. When it is not prohibited by the Bible.”
In a video circulating social media sites, Anonymous explains that the money being used to finance Pope Benedict XVI’s visit is money that could be used to help the poor. Also, the video explains, the visit comes at a crucial time in Mexican politics–months before the presidential election–and could be used as a political strategy to benefit the incumbent National Action Party (Partido de Acción Nacional, PAN).
According to NPR, the state of Guanajuato, where the papal visit is taking place, is 93.8% Roman Catholic, the highest of any state in Mexico. The Anonymous video states that the visit could be used by the PAN as a weapon to win the votes of millions of Catholics.
The hacked websites have since been recovered, and Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to arrive in León, Guanajuato on the evening of Friday, March 23.