A Bishop Calls for Holy Water Ban to Stop Swine Flu Spread

By Allison Bond | July 15, 2009 2:24 pm

Holy WaterReligion and science may butt heads over issues like stem cell research and genetically engineered crops, but there’s one thing they agree on: how swine flu spreads.

Holy water can pass on more than just a priest’s blessing—it can also transmit the swine flu virus, a British bishop says. That’s because churchgoers dip their fingers into one container of liquid, then touch their nose or eyes, thereby giving the virus a free ticket into their body.

For this reason, the bishop is urging priests in Essex, UK, to remove holy water from their churches to prevent cases of the flu.

According to BBC, the Right Reverend John Gladwin said: “The water in stoups [which hold holy water] can easily become a source of infection and a means of rapidly spreading the virus.” Still, he added: “It is not our intention at this stage to cause panic.”

The bishop also recommended that any members of the congregation experiencing flu-like symptoms stick to the wafer at Communion, forgoing the wine sipped from a communal chalice.

That leaves one final germ-ridden frontier—the handshaking that runs rampant while offering peace to other church attendees. Maybe instead of fonts of holy water, churches will implement hand sanitizer dispensers.

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Image: flickr / sugree

MORE ABOUT: britain, religion, swine flu
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  • B. Michaels

    What about Communion? What should happen here?

  • steve n

    If the bishop was right, all manner of bacteria and viruses would have been spread in this way, including the more conventional types of flu.

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  • http://aol Karen

    I guess if we stop our children going to school, don’t go to the supermarket, don’t stop and talk to anyone in the street or touch anything……….then perhaps we will be ‘safe’ I think banning holy water is ridiculous………..however, maybe communion should be looked at in respect of pouring wine into individual containers for each person to drink from………..then I guess just touching the communion handrail could pass it on too. Maybe we need to be careful but calm over this whole thing. Remember to wash our hands and pray………..because thats what we need to do

  • Rachel Mitchell

    I think its ridiculous, peolpe are going far to much over the top.
    I can understand the chalice point of view but cant churches buy communion cups from church catalogues? once used you throw them away? isn’t that more sensible?
    Regarding shaking hands, i am a server at church and again just being sensible, why cant everyone use hand gel? the type you dont need water with, i do and always have done.
    As for the holy water ban i think its totally nuts.
    If we keep this up we wont be touching any thing soon and it will go out of control, so come on, lets be sensible about this, why ban it totally when alternate methods are possible?
    What would Jesus say if he was here in person today? think of it that way.

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