Religion 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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