Microsoft may have gotten the miracle it needs to get back on top of the personal computer heap. In a recently released encyclical, Pope Benedict XVI named the company's latest version of Windows as "The Official Operating System of the Catholic Church."
Titled "Patefacio Fenestra" or "Open the Windows," the Pope's pronouncement is thought to be the first time a major religion has mandated the use of a specific commercial product.
"We can all agree that the operating system is the soul of any computer," Benedict told a crowd of thousands that had gathered outside his balcony window. "It is time we recognize this holy entity and shield it from the forces of Satan."
Toward that end, the encyclical offers a reasonably priced virus protection program for all Catholics who install the "Vatican version" of the new operating system before the end of the year.
"This too is a miracle," the Pope said. "For a modest fee, we will petition St. Tony, the patron saint of malware, to drive out any evil programming that might befall the computers of the faithful."
Under the church's new policy, fans of Apple's OS X operating system are out of luck. In fact, they may soon be feeling the heat.
"If they ever want to see heaven, these non-believers better click out of Google and start saying their Hail Mary's," Benedict advised. "They've got about 2 million of them to go. That's in addition to 500,000 Our Fathers."
The encyclical commented on the competitive operating system issue as well. "Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on his holy Eminence, who is infallible," the encyclical said. "We're not going to be brought down by an Apple again."
On the positive side, those who heed the encyclical's call to switch to Windows 8 are in for some unique blessings.
For instance, the Catholic version is bundled with a transubstantiation app. It allows certified users to conduct the Church's most important ritual - turning bread and wine into flesh and blood - right on their laptops. Plus, 50 additional party recipes are included free.*
Then, there's the Holy Ghost Function. When the user presses the F1 key, the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove to provide divine tech support.
"And I have to say when it comes to solving even the most wicked crash," Benedict said. "Everybody knows that the bird is the word."
*Just pay shipping and handling.