Irish priest in gay porn probe should have followed PowerPoint best practices

Parents in Northern Ireland parish shown pics of naked men at First Communion meeting

PowerPoint has been around for more than two decades, so you'd think by now the people who rely on the Microsoft software for their group naps presentations would automatically follow PowerPoint best practices. Sadly for one priest in Northern Ireland, neglecting "safe" PowerPoint procedures has led to a gay porn scandal and a sabbatical. From CNN:

The Catholic Church in Ireland had launched an investigation after reports Father Martin McVeigh accidentally showed pictures of naked men to parents of children preparing for their First Holy Communion.

Parents said in a statement they were "horrified" by what they saw and called for action to be taken against the priest.

If those parents thought they were horrified, how do they think Father McVeigh felt? In a statement in the weekly church bulletin, McVeigh said, "I apologise unreservedly for the hurt caused." He also made it clear, as the BBC reports, that the incident was not his fault!

""I deeply regret my failure to check, in advance, my presentation. I want to assure you however, that I was not responsible for the presence of the offending images and in this respect I ask you to accept my innocence."

So who is responsible? Perhaps it begins with an "s" (and I don't mean "sysadmin"). Fortunately, Father McVeigh, stunned as he was, acted quickly and decisively that night, immediately yanking the memory stick from the laptop after only 16 images of naked men were shown on the screen to the parents and one child in attendance. But he wasn't done protecting his flock. "In my shock and upset and in my concern to ensure that the images would never be shown again, I destroyed [the memory stick] later that evening," McVeigh said in the church statement. Which is fortunate for members of the church, though perhaps less so for investigators. Speaking of which, Cardinal Sean Brady assures parishioners that "an independent technical expert" looked at all the computers used by McVeigh and found no other "inappropriate imagery." Well, almost all the computers. As it turns out, a laptop was stolen from the parish soon after that memorable meeting with parents on March 26. I guess Satan's been working overtime! While we undoubtedly can close the book on this case -- after all, nobody conducts thorough investigations into priest wrongdoing like the Catholic Church -- now seems like a good time to review Three Basic PowerPoint Best Practices: 1. Make sure the hardware you use for your PowerPoint presentation contains no malware, viruses, or Satanic presence. A combination of virus-protection software and Holy water usually will suffice. 2. If porn pictures do show up in your presentation, try to troubleshoot the problem before, say, the 16th naked image appears on the screen. Failing that, employ a joke ("Well, I guess now everyone knows what I did on my vacation, ha ha.") or solemnly proclaim that evil is among us and ask everyone to remain calm. Then begin speaking in tongues. 3. Don't read verbatim the text on a PowerPoint slide or merely describe an image being shown. "That's a totally naked man" adds no real informational value to the presentation. Tell us something about the naked man we don't know just from looking at his picture. Maybe he loves soccer, maybe he's a Freemason. Make him more than just another naked man who showed up mysteriously in your presentation. Otherwise the audience will end up in "PowerPoint Hell." Which Father McVeigh can tell you all about.

Chris Nerney writes ITworld's Tech Business Today blog. Follow Chris on Twitter at @ChrisNerney. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Now read this:

HP's perilous PC dilemma

Sure, now they tell us: Former Palm employees say webOS was fatally flawed

Crappy Google problem dogs Mitt Romney

What’s wrong? The new clean desk test
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies