Feeds

Vatican shrugs off apocalypse, fiddles with accounts dept

Pope's astronomer hints at truth hidden in Google

High performance access to file storage

The Vatican has shrugged off predictions of the world ending this Friday, deciding instead to overhaul its accounting department.

This will ensure a gradual reduction in the cost of running the world's biggest Christian denomination - although if the Mayans are right and humanity is annihilated on 21 December then that cost will be reduced to something rather trivial anyway.

A substantial proportion of the world's more credulous are heading to southeast France, or the jungles of Guatemala, to sit out the upcoming end of the world, or spiritual renewal, depending on your point of view. Whether you opt for one or the other depends on whether you believe Star Wars or The Da Vinci Code is the piece of populist culture most likely to hint at the world's final hours.

However, the Vatican, arguably the global institution that has spent the last two millennia predicting the imminent end of the world and has a 2,000-year-old book on the topic, has pooh-poohed this imminent end of days.

Instead, the Holy See's Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone has chosen this week to announce an overhaul of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs, which will deliver an increased "commitment to transparency and accuracy" in the administration of its assets.

The move should expand the prefecture's role, which had diminished into "a sort of central accounting house of the Holy See". Instead, it will now plan and coordinate economic activities, which is essential for the Church to remain self-sufficient, the cardinal said.

The back office reshuffle comes as the Vatican endures its own dose of austerity in line with much of the rest of the Western World. Bertone told the department he expected a "gradual, but effective, reduction of costs".

More ominously, it comes in the wake of the Vatican's own WikiLeaks-type scandal, which was seen as evidence of a power struggle within the highest echelons of the Catholic Church.

Lest anyone should think this rearrangement of the Vatican's earthly affairs has anything to do with the end of the world, it's worth remembering that Catholic central has been dissing the Mayan Apocalypse theory since it first popped out half-formed onto the internet.

Last week the director of the Vatican Observatory declared it was "not even worth discussing" the doomsday supposedly scheduled for this Friday.

Instead, Father Jose Gabriel Funes suggested the end of world may come about in some billions of years, due to the expansion of the universe, The Telegraph reports. He added that Christians believe "death can never have the last word".

Just to highlight the absurdity of the Mayan prediction, and its accompanying media-fanned hype, Funes pointed out that a search on Google pulled up 40 million results for the topic. Personally, we'd question using Google results as proof that something is real.

Today tapping in Mayan Apocalypse pulls up 103 million results. Expansion of the universe, by comparison, serves up just over 31 million. The Catholic Church gives you 145 million results.

We're pretty sure the Catholic Church does indeed exist, so on this basis, the Mayans are arguably more on the button than the physicists, and the Vatican Accounts department should probably put that reorganisation on hold until after Friday at least. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.