Wednesday, August 29, 2007

'Vatican air' passengers' holy water confiscated

I saw a lot of reports in the last few hours on this topic, the link is to Telegraph's take on it. Essentially "holy water" was taken off passengers at airport security.

Where to start...

Firstly, I saw this happen two weeks ago! On Tuesday 14th last it happened in Dublin airport, someone 2 places ahead of me in the security queue was upset that her holy water was taken. In fairness to her, she was not making a fuss, but was quietly waiting post security (air side) while a security person went to check with a supervisor.

Oddly, at the same checkpoint, the person directly ahead of me used each of the following excuses for packing drinks in her Children's bags:- (1) "Nobody told me about this [liquid restriction]" (untrue) and (2) "I didn't think it applied to drinks" (what?!)

I didn't stick around to find what happened in either case. In the second case I hope the guard replied along these lines: "Only liquid drinks, Madam, solid drinks are fine!"

It should be perfectly clear to anyone willing to kill themselves and kill others, including children, is also willing to pretend to be a Christian carrying holy water.

Once security personnel start to use their heads and be reasonable and apply common sense, and then start to make exceptions, there are those who will take note of the exceptions and exploit them to kill us. Hence for security people, in my opinion, you need sticklers for rules. I worry that the Irish ones are a bit too nice sometimes, I think the Americans (TSA) have got it spot on though.

The thing that has worried me about Holy Water, since I was a child in fact, was that in several shrines (Knock is one) you can get it out of a tap. Essentially a priest didn't just bless a big jar or vat of water, a finite amount, but blessed a well or pipe, a potential infinite amount. I remember asking if it had to be renewed weekly. If they can bless a well there isn't any limit to how big a container they can bless, is there? So why don't they get together all the most powerful priests and have a big ceremony to bless the seven seas? Then all our water would be holy, and the world would be blessed.

I had a bigger issue though. I often wondered how you could compel the creator of the universe with some mouldy water. That felt utterly disrespectful to me, As a child I was very faithful, and things like holy water, or even asking God for physical things, like better weather, really really offended me.

Luckily I've chilled out a bit since then.