Internet searches for The Vatican via Google Search have been directing people to a link to www.pedofilo.com, the Italian word for paedophile, indicating that the site may have been hacked.
However, some Italian reports suggest that the site is actually a religious site based in Mexico.
News agency AFP reports that The Vatican first discovered the error on Saturday and contacted Google, and that the link connected to an empty site.
Speaking to Italian news agency ANSA, spokesperson for Google Italy, Simona Panseri, said: “I cannot confirm if it is an attack because I have not had more precise information from the US engineers to understand the nature of the problem.”
The news comes just days after the Vatican announced new rules on how it will deal with allegations of child abuse by priests, and is being seen as an attempt to remind the Catholic church that it has fallen behind in dealing with cases of child abuse, with many accusing the church of covering up such cases.