Y2K. The Year 2000. Will computers crash and high-tech systems go bonk? The experts are saying no, and lets hope theyre right. (The NORs computers are Y2K-compliant.) Our technological civilization got into this mess by skimping on what we put into our computers: To input a date, we used just the last two digits of the year. This seemed like a real time-saver back in 60 or so oops, 1960 but now its a problem, because when the next cycle of 100 years starts, how will the computers know what year it is? Does the 00 that comes after 99 mean 2000 or does it mean 1900 or 1400 or 800 or ? Whirrrr bonk! The moral seems to be: Dont skimp on essential input.
Theres another Y2K problem thats even more worrisome, and it also comes from failing to input essential information. Weve all heard about those man-on-the-street surveys in which the respondents are flummoxed by Y2K: They dont know what happened 2,000 years ago that got us numbering years the way we do. Two millennia since what exactly? John Doe doesnt know. But is it his fault? It seems that hes as little to blame for his lack of knowledge as the computers are for theirs. Evidently whoever was in charge decided to skimp on Johns input maybe even, as with the computers, to skimp systematically.
The experts have been laboring to re-educate computers to make them Y2K-compliant so as to avert the short-term crisis of our civilizations machinery. Thats good. But what about the long-term crisis for our civilizations men? Who can re-educate John Doe and cure the noncompliance of his mind and dare we say it his soul? The Catholic Church can. The Church is uniquely Y2K-compliant. In fact, she invented this whole millennia business. And she came up with B.C. and A.D. to replace the Romans worn-out A.U.C. (ab urbe condita). She can tell John Doe all about the Event that divided history and why its crucial. (A hint for you, John: A baby was born in Bethlehem and He remains Really Present in the Church to this day.) There are other fascinating facts to be learned. Hey, John, did you know that the only reason you can plan a New Years party on January 1 is because of a pope? For several centuries New Years Day was on March 25. But Pope Gregory XIII changed it to January 1. He also fixed the Romans old calendar because it was off by about 10 days. Thanks to him, were all on the same page now.
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