Saturday, 10 July 2010

"The Oratorillennium Bug"

Catholic and loving it - James Preece on 7.7.2010

You might have thought the recent events at the Birmingham Oratory were bad enough but it turns out the situation is about to get a lot worse.

Fr Felix Selden and Fr Ignatius Harrison (the visitors to the Birmingham Oratory responsible for the eviction of the Birmingham Three) are managing their visitation using an outdated version of Microsoft Visitation Manager 2006.

This software has a bug similar to the well known Millennium Bug - at the beginning of the year 2000 there was much concern that computers which stored the year as the last two digits (97,98,99...) would think the year was 1900.

The programmers never thought such a high number of Oratorians would ever be evicted so they stored the number of extraneous Oratorians as a single digit (0,1,2...) If the visitors continue to evict Oratorians at the current rate it is quite likely that the number of evicted Oratorians will reach 10 before the Papal visit.

At this point the software will crash forcing Fr Ignatious Harrison to start his game of Solitaire over from the beginning. What else is he doing? He certainly isn't spending his time replying to letters.

Meanwhile the cost of the Papal Visit is set to increase further as Eccleston Square announce that extra cash is needed for the purchase of new calculators.

The old calculators which were used during the organisation of the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1982 were found to be unsuitable after it was discovered they were unable to display amounts greater than £99,999,999 meaning that the Bishops Conference actually had to borrow a calculator in order to calculate how much buying the calculators would cause the visit to cost.

A spokesman for the Bishop's conference explained that it was not clear when the borrowed calculator would be returned "We are not sure if it's going to be a week, a month or two months" he said. Adding that there was definitely no falling out and the calculator would be back "soon".