Hacktivist members of the Italian arm of Anonymous, a formless international organization dedicated to freedom of expression, internet freedom and funny viral online content, set their sights on the Vatican, launching a denial of service attack that temporarily knocked the Vatican.va homepage offline on Wed. March 7, 2012.

The attack was announced online by Twitter account @YourAnonNews.

TANGO DOWN - Vatican Website - vatican.va - (via Anonymous Italia) #ANONYMOUS Why? For the pure, simple lulz, no other reason, they posted on Twitter.

Vatical.va was inaccessible early Wed. afternoon, but back up at the time this article was published. However, Vatican.com stayed online all day. According to the guardian, a Vatican spokesman would not confirm the web site crash.

In a statement posted online in both Italian and English on online message board pastebin.com Anonymous explained the cyber-attack.

The statement holds the Catholic Church responsible for a long list of misdeeds throughout history, including book burnings, the Crusades and the Inquisition, as well as aiding Nazi refugees escape prosecution, protecting molesting priests, and fighting against contraception. Anonymous Italia also accused the Church of meddling in Italian affairs.

Read the full message below:

hello Vatican.va

Anonymous has now decided to lay siege to your site in response to the doctrines, liturgies and the precepts absurd and anachronistic that your organization is for profit (Roman Apostolic Church) propagates and spreads worldwide.

You have burned books of immense historical and literary value, you barbarously executed your fiercest detractors and critics over the centuries, have denied universally deemed valid or plausible theories, have led the unwary to pay to get access to paradise with the sale of indulgences.

Have you been guilty of riduazione enslavement of entire populations, using as a pretext your mission of evangelization and the spread of Christianity in the world.

In more recent times have played a significant role in helping Nazi war criminals find refuge in foreign countries and to evade international justice.

Let every day many of the units within the clergy may be responsible of molesting children, covering them when the facts become public domain.

Italy must tolerate interference in your daily life, public policy and social damage, and all that entails.

Do you have property and businesses for the value of billions of euros, on which you have strong tax incentives.

You refuse to decree, practices and objects result of progress such as condoms or abortion as a clinical wounds to eradicate.

You retrogadi, one of the last bastions of an era forunatamente past, and destined anon repeated.

We sincerely hope that the Lateran Treaty will finally be revised in the near future and will come ... what you are relegated to a relic of times gone by.

This is NOT intended to attack the true Christian religion and the faithful around the world, but to the corrupt Roman Apostolic Church and all its emanations