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Are People Drinking Out of the Baptismal Font?

ABC News has this breaking story. Holy water in baptismal fonts may not be safe to drink. I know, right? Who knew?

Researchers at the Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna tested water from 21 springs in Austria and 18 fonts in Vienna and found samples contained up to 62 million bacteria per milliliter of water, none of it safe to drink.

Tests indicated 86 percent of the holy water, commonly used in baptism ceremonies and to wet congregants' lips, was infected with common bacteria found in fecal matter such as E. coli, enterococci and Campylobacter, which can lead to diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever.

Nitrates, commonly found in fertilizer from farms, were also identified in the water. If ingested, water containing nitrates over the maximum contaminant level could cause serious illness, especially in infants younger than 6 months, which could lead to death if untreated, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"We need to warn people against drinking from these sources," said Dr Alexander Kirschner, study researcher and microbiologist at the Medical University of Vienna.
They really think we're idiots, don't they? I mean stone cold idiots.


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Mack Hall, HSG said...

"Commonly used...to wet congregants' lips."

Really? On those cold, dry winter days I prefer Chapstick. But then, I'm not an Austrian scientists.

Mack Hall, HSG said...

Or an Austrian scientist, either.

Nathan said...

I guess I'll have to stop bringing my straw with me to Mass

ProudHillbilly said...

Yeah, first thing I do when I go in is take a slurp out of the font.

Anneg said...

News flash. We probably have E. coli, campylobacter and a lot of other stuff on our hands right now. That's why we wash before eating. Medical University of Vienna really missed an opportunity. I bet some of those bacteria have been around since Beethoven, so a great source of DNA studies. The only people I've ever seen trying to drink out of the font were 2 year olds, which is probably one of the E. coli sources. Btw, it's ABC who are idiots. Their iq's really do go down 50 pts, maybe more when they talk about religion.

elm said...

Another reason to receive Communion on the tongue. Our hands are nasty.

Jonathan said...

I would like to see the study repeated at SSPX chapels or ecclesia dei churches. I bet the traditional, saltier, holy water is much more hygenic.

Mary De Voe said...

Jonathan: I was bringing holy water to my mom, grew thirsty and mistakenly drank about one half cup. It tasted funny. When I learned that it was the holy water I drank, I thought: "I am holy inside and out" and I really prepared to die. I never even got sick. The holy water had been salted with holy salt. Twice blessed.
elm: our hands are profane and nasty.

Fr. Denis Lemieux said...

I agree that this is a deeply silly news story. That being said, it does provide some good argument for the traditional addition of blessed salt to the water - besides the sacred symbolism, it does sanitize things at least somewhat.

Proteios1 said...

Drinking water from the font is the test. If you don't attend mass enough to know ya don't drink outa there, you probably need to learn more about the faith. Or attend mass more. I would mock people who drink out of the font, but my kids have all stuck their hands fully in one font or another and yep, right in the mouth. I don't recall them ever getting sick, but I do deter them.

Chris Baker said...

I think this says more about the Austrian water supply, and the profound need of Austrian scientists to find some purpose, than it does about baptism, holy water, or anything else of significance.

Mary De Voe said...

In another matter, some priests use warm water to baptize and the children sleep right throught the Sacrament.

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