Saturday, August 30, 2008

Vatican advises Pope against flying with 'holy' water

His Holiness the Pope, 81, will visit both Paris and Lourdes in southern France from the 12th-15th September.

The water from the shrine at Lourdes is revered because of the Virgin Mary's appearance there to a young shepherdess, Bernadette Soubirous, 150 years ago.

The 'holy' water is believed to have miraculous healing powers and millions of pilgrims visit Lourdes each year to drink from its fonts.

Many take bottles of the water away with them.

A Vatican advisory issued a statement saying,

"In order to avoid their confiscation during security controls at the airport, Air France recommends putting any bottles of Lourdes water in baggage what will go into the hold of the plane."

While the water from Lourdes is not strictly considered "holy" -holy water is found in churches and must be blessed by a priest - many websites about Lourdes describe it as "holy".

Security measures limiting liquids allowed in carry-on baggage have been in effect since 2006 when a plot to bring down planes with liquid explosives was discovered.

Lourdes, which sits at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains, is one of the main Catholic pilgrimage sites, attracting some six million visitors a year.

Some 200,000 pilgrims are expected to flock to the shrine to attend a mass celebrated by the Pope on September 14, a French bishop has said.
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(Source: Telegraph)

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