A few days ago I wrote about the maiden flight of Mistral Air, which provides budget flights for Catholic pilgrims courtesy of the Vatican. As if providing material for a Father Guido Sarducci skit, French transportation officials have taken away the passengers’ holy water out of fear of terrorism. Officials said the bottles exceeded the maximum allowable size for liquids in carry-on luggage, which in France is 100ml.
This week, the Vatican’s Mistral Air started offering budget flights from Rome to Lourdes, France, for Catholic pilgrims intent on visiting the holy shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. Routes to other holy sites in France, Poland, Spain and the Middle East. (Oh, yeah, that last one’s gonna go well).
Everyone who’s ever watched a James Bond movie knows terrorists can just pour two bottles of “holy water” together and blow up an airliner, so it’s no surprise that holy water is verboten on international flights, especially given the fact that Mistral Air’s seats bear creepy inscriptions like “I search for your face, Lord.” And the fact that in France, air transportation officials are actually Satanic vampires who burst into flame at the touch of aqua vita, just like Christopher Lee in Taste the Blood of Dracula. I made that last part up. You hope.
Airline officials responded to the problem by providing each Mistral Air passenger with a small vial of holy water from Lourdes in a bottle shaped like the Virgin Mary. I vividly remember these bottles from my Catholic childhood — every fellow Papist who went to France brought ’em back and the Mary-shaped bottles sat on the mantel being holy for a while. I never once succumbed to that nagging voice in my head that told me to drink them.
Image: The Blessed Virgin of Lourdes, via Wikipedia.