Italian hacktivists with the group Anonymous took down the Vatican website Wednesday.
In an online statement, they accused the Vatican of historical transgressions, including burning books, executing critics and leading people to believe in a "pay to get access to paradise" plan. The hackers also claimed the Catholic Church allowed children to be molested by clergy, the protected the guilty when the abuse was discovered.
They said the attack was not intended at "the true Christian religion and the faithful around the world, but to the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church and all its emanations."
"You refuse to decree practices and object [the] result of progress, such as condoms or abortion, as clinical wounds to eradicate," according to the statement.
A Vatican spokesman confirmed the attack but declined to comment on the source, according to USA Today. Several other Vatican-related sites were taken down, including the site for its newspaper.