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'Sin' to sell papal domain to porn

By Jessica Le Masurier for CNN

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Cadenhead: "If that's the price of virtue then so be it."
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Pope Benedict XVI
Joseph Ratzinger

(CNN) -- A lapsed American Catholic who registered the Web domain BenedictXVI.com before the new pope was named says he has no idea what to do with the site but believes it would be wrong to sell it to a pornography or gambling site.

Technology author Rogers Cadenhead bought the domain on April 1, more than two weeks before the election on Tuesday of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the 265th pope.

The former archbishop of the German city of Munich later said he would take the name Benedict XVI.

But Cadenhead, based in Jacksonville, Florida, denied any divine guidance, saying the purchase was based simply on an educated guess. After studying the potential papal names, he bought as many of the related domains as possible.

When Ratzinger announced his papal name, Cadenhead said he was overjoyed. "I felt like my horse had come in first at the Kentucky races!" he told CNN on Wednesday.

He said he was not simply occupying the domain out of spite -- so-called cyber squatting -- nor was he wanting to reap financial gains by exploiting the papal name.

On the contrary, Cadenhead said he was doing the pope a service by preventing BenedictXVI.com from being purchased by pornographers.

He vowed he would not sell to dubious operators like porn sites, saying that would be "sinful." Asked if he would even reject millions of dollars for the site, he said: "Good Heavens no! It'd be a bitter pill to swallow but if that's the price of virtue then so be it."

Cadenhead, who owns 80 other domains, said his fascination with intangible collectibles was "just a bit of fun."

BenedictXVI.com is currently receiving 1,000 hits per minute from curious Web users despite only linking to his personal site. "I can almost see the smoke rising from the server," he said.

Strangers from all over the world have even been e-mailing him to express their concern for his salvation.

If papal officials asked him to hand over the site he would demand "two nights at the Vatican hotel, one of those hats, complete absolution and world peace."

Cadenhead said he hoped his purchase of the domain would not upset the new pope -- nicknamed "God's rottweiler," adding: "I am not aiming to anger the Vatican or get on the wrong side of 1.1 billion Catholics."


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