Saint Vidicon of Cathode

The Cathodians' Praise Song:


Praise God, from Whom electrons flow!
Praise Him, the source of all we know!
Whose order's in the stellar host!
For in machines, He is the Ghost!

Little is known concerning the origins of Father Vidicon. We do not know whether Vidicon was the name given him by his parents or a nickname given him reflecting his love of all things technical. It is, however, the only name we know him by.

We do know he was a Jesuit priest and a teacher whose success at urging young people into choosing the Church as their vocation and his odd, sometimes heretical, sense of humor earned him the dubious honor of becoming the 'Chief Engineer of Television Vatican'. We know he was frequently in trouble for such things as stating that Christ was acting as a civil engineer when He declared that Peter was a rock and upon that rock He would build His church, and calling the Creator 'the Cosmic Cathode'. He was noted for invoking Murphy's Law, the Imp of the Perverse and Finagle. We also know, in some detail, how he died for the Faith.

In the Year of Our Lord 2020, the Church was in dire straits. Besieged on the one hand by non-believers jealous of the Church's authority and property and on the other accused of being old-fashioned and out of step with the times by those who demanded salvation without repentance, the Holy Church of Rome was faced with the unthinkable prospect of having several major tenets of Catholic Church being outlawed - the celibacy of ordained priests, the Church's stand against birth control and the tax exempt status of Church land.

What was looming on the horizon, at the demand non-believers, was the abrogation of the civil rights of those faithful to the Catholic Church (indeed, any group demanding a higher moral and ethical personal standard other than the lowest common denominator) and the destruction of the physical presence of the Church itself.

In response to this threat, Pope Clement determined to go on the air in a simultaneous world-wide feed to call the faithful together to combat this horror and to let them know that the Council of Cardinals had chosen to accept certain new theories and interpretations as being compatible with doctrine.

The Vatican's equipment was outdated, but adequate, thanks to the outstanding efforts of Father Vidicon and his assistants. Even when the time-table for the Pope's speech was pushed up, Father Vidicon and his crew had everything in order.

Then, the Imp of the Perverse, Maxwell's Demon and others of the Powers of Darkness cataloged by Murphy, struck. The power converter, a resistor that stepped down the power from the Vatican's television transmitter to something the satellite ground station could handle, failed. So did the first replacement and the second, even though they had both tested out as being perfectly sound only hours before. Too quickly for his chief assistant, Brother Anson, to respond, Father Vidicon took the lead from the transmitter in his left hand and the lead to the ground station in his right, saying as he did so: "This is perversity."

Pope Clement finished his speech and within moments, calls were coming in from all over the world telling of how the faithful were returning to church, calling for priests. Calls came in from governments, sending the Vatican and the Pope their highest regards and assurances of continued friendship. And from the transmitter room, Brother Anson announced Father Vidicon's death.

The miracles began very soon after. A French programmer, knowing his program was tricky and likely to glitch, asked Father Vidicon to intercede and the program ran flawlessly. A television director handling coverage for the Superbowl found eleven of his twelve cameras down and number twelve was showing faults. He sent up a quick prayer to Father Vidicon and five cameras came back on line. Ground control lost track of the newly-launched satellite. An unknown controller cried out: "Father Vidicon, protect us from Murphy!" and the satellite reappeared on the trackers.

It's hard to prove these are miracles - they could be coincidences, that's always a possibility with electronic equipment. But, over the years the engineers and programmers and technicians began to count the prayers and the programs and projects saved and word got around and finally, Vidicon was declared a saint in the finest tradition of sainthood. And, the day after the Pope announced Vidicon's canonization, signs went up on the back walls of every computer room and control room in the world:

Saint Vidicon of Cathode, pray for us!

Saint Vidicon and his story are the intellectual property of Christopher Stasheff. The story of Saint Vidicon is found in The Warlock Unlocked by Christopher Stasheff, © 1982. and Saint Vidicon to the Rescue © 2005

You may purchase any of Christopher Stasheff's books at The works of Christopher Stasheff, using's secure ordering facility.

Sts Vidicon & Isidore