Oh my Lord, it's crashed again

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The Independent Online

For those tortured souls who think they need a miracle to understand the machinations of the internet there may at last be a source of divine guidance. Saint Isidore of Seville is poised to be declared the patron saint of surfers and computer programmers.

For those tortured souls who think they need a miracle to understand the machinations of the internet there may at last be a source of divine guidance. Saint Isidore of Seville is poised to be declared the patron saint of surfers and computer programmers.

He lived 1,400 years before the information superhighway was conceived but his credentials are impressive. St Isidore is believed to have been the first to compile an encyclopaedia, the Etymologies, thus making him "a seeker after knowledge", said a spokesman for the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. And he did it without bookmarks and browsers.

"Patron saints are people who are intended to give an example and inspiration of how to live in the area that they are patron of and who you can pray to in times of difficulty," said the Archbishop's man, in the firm belief the saint could be useful to those cast into the wilderness by a sudden computer crash.

The final decision on whether St Isidore gets the job will be taken by Jorge Cardinal Medina, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation of Divine Worship, after consulting Pope John Paul and bishops around the world.

The Vatican is a believer in the power of the internet, having launched its website in 1996 to publish thousands of papal doctrines. Since 1998, the Pope's speeches can be followed each week on a website fittingly powered by three host computers named after the archangels Raphael, Michael and Gabriel.

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