Is the holy water we dip our fingers in at Church filled with germs?

With countless people putting their fingers in the holy water I was wondering whether germs may be proliferating. Wondering if any tests have been done on a sample of holy water and what those results turned out.

I’m NOT trying to discourage this practice. Just wondering.

I don’t know of any testing, but it probably is. But then, so is everything else.

Perhaps someone could see about testing, that is if it hasn’t already been done. If people are worried about this, and the church decides to do something about it, then probably a bit of bleach would disinfect the water of most germs, although it might be sort of hard on the brass or bronze of the holy water container. Or is that brass or bronze? Is it gold plate? If so, then no worries.

Wash your hand when you get home, and carry some wipes or alcohol gels in your car. That should be more than enough.

If you have tiny tots, are taking care of somebody with a compromised immune system, or are taking care of an old person, then going the extra mile to take care of them is a good idea.

I’m not the last word on the subject, my post being based solely on conjecture. If anybody knows for sure, please feel free to chime in. I too am interested in hearing about any actual studies.

“Filled” with germs, probably not, but it is surely contaminated and not potable. There’s not a lot in Holy Water for germs to feed on so whatever is there has only come off of people’s hands and most of it sinks to the bottom. They do wash the glass bowls used in the fonts in my church so we don’t have to worry about algae or other nastiness growing in the water.
Frankly, I don’t worry about it but as PP have said, if you do worry about such things, hand sanitizers or good ole soap and water can wash the germs away without washing away the grace.

There’s a study sited at that suggests serious contamination in European fonts but there they actually wet their lips with holy water, not something commonly done in the US.

I would venture to guess yes, but no more than money, swimming pools, airplanes, public transportation, elevator buttons, bathroom doors, toliet seats, etc.

In our Diocese/Parish we were reminded during the flu season that no one is obligated to use those little fonts (they are not obligated at any time)…and the sign of peace too was removed.

In all of my 78 years as a Catholic, I have never heard of anyone being concerned about catching something from germs in Holy Water!
Apart from the flu season, anyone who is overly concerned about catching a disease from germs in Holy Water has need of professional counselling. This concern truly smells of Satan doing his business!

Metal coins are much more dirty than dollar bills. The government loads dollar bills with all sorts of anti-biotics so as to prevent biologically based terrorism. This is not new, they’ve been doing it for a long time, even fairly far back into the Cold War if not before. They can’t afford to have people being afraid of their money.

Dollar bills are heavily laced with all sorts of things: anti-bacterials and other anti-biotics, funny little red and blue threads, cloth, paper, sizing materials, little plastic strips for verification, every bill with a unique serial number, diffraction grating type artwork, intaglio rather than printing or lithography, magnetic inks, dyes that stain the bills if somebody attempts to strip off the ink and use them to print higher denominations, etc., so much so in fact, that each bill costs a few cents to print, which is at great variance compared to any other sort of printed material.

Dollar bills are extremely heavily protected, and by the best inventions that very well paid high IQ people can come up with. That is why counterfeiters have to sell their wares at a steep discount, because they have to provide distance for themselves through layers of middlemen and passers, who are virtually certain to be caught after they pass enough bills. Fake bills are detected almost immediately, and this triggers an immediate investigation by the treasury department and the FBI.

Dollar bills are anything but simple.

Ever heard of KPC? or MRSA?

Bacteria that are resistant to all known antibiotics are becoming more common in the U.S.

Yes, most reasonably healthy people have absolutely nothing to worry about. But anyone who is immuno-compromised is right to be careful, and they are most certainly not in “need of professional counseling.” There is nothing Satanic about wanting to stay alive as long as possible.

I have worked in a hospital microbiology lab for over 30 years and have witnessed the development of these super bugs. IMO, it is the most serious health care issue that the world faces.

Believe me George, I do not take my marching orders from Satan. I’m just overly conscious about germs/bacteria. I don’t like drinking from the chalise unless im the first one in line to do so.

Yes it is sadly loaded with bacteria, fungi, viruses, dead skin and whatever else.

IMO, it should be changed daily and the fonts cleaned also.

Some older churches still use a sponge which beyond unsanitary.

Yes, the font(s) and the Holy Communion Chalice are both full of bacteria and viruses.

Probably is, I wouldn’t drink it :rolleyes:.


One can always bring his or her own bottle of Holy Water :slight_smile:

Someone once asked me if holy water was good for drinking.

I replied: only if you bring your own bottle of potable water and ask a priest to bless it according to the ritual. Then it is holy and potable.

I then added: otherwise, if it is not potable, it will still be holy, but it will also have in it holy bacteria that will make us ill :o

If it is holwater from the church fountain I wouldn’t drink it but I think probably is less contaminated than some other things that we touch everyday (like those excersice balls at the gym)

However, on the topic of holy water and contamination I justwant to mention (because it heavily calls my attention) that I have a big bottle of holy water taken out of the groute in Lourdes. That water is river water (hence it comes naturally with bacteria already) and it has been in that bottle for fourteen years already. It hasn’t grown fungi, or anything else and is perfectly drinkable (me and other people that know me have drink it and never gotten sick…pretty much the opposite). I have a friend who is a chemist that argues with me that it is impossible that the water has fourteen years in that bottle. It seems like that water has very little or no contamination despite being river water and despite the long time. I think is interesting.

Our holy water is not in small bowls at the doors, but rather in a large font used for baptisms. It is about 6’ in diameter and I’m sure it isn’t changed daily. It is circulating, though, so that helps keep it from becoming fetid.

I don’t worry about it. Could something happen? Sure. But I have never known there to be a problem.

Yep, he devil is contaminating the holy water.

Hmmm - this is an interesting question. It makes me want to start some cultures. I could take some growth media from work and see what happens.

Is there any considerations for applying a bit of holy water to some petri dishes? This wouldn’t be a sin, would it? (I’m just meaning enough water to moisten a sterile Q-tip.)

Certainly not a satanic concern! It’s a practical consideration in this physical world.
Just because the water has been blessed doesn’t mean it’s always pure. We are blessed many times over, and sadly, we’re not pure, or greeblie free!

The salt in holy water could help, but I have seen long-bottled holy water and Lourdes water turn either cloudy or green with life!
I’ve not heard of anyone becoming ill, but only ever dip the tip of my little finger. Some of us are more conscious of miniature greeblies than others of us!

Again, I don’t know for sure, but I think if you are doing it to help people (tiny tots, immune compromised people, very old people, etc.), then no, it probably wouldn’t be a sin. You could Ask An Apologist I suppose.

If you do the sampling, you could post your results here, in this thread. Perhaps then other people could repeat the experiment, and later on, if it seems like it’s necessary, another question could be submitted in the Ask An Apologist section about adding a bit of bleach or a bit of swimming pool chlorine to the water. Speaking of chlorine and disinfectants, I think there are products on the market for camping, so that water that a hiker might collect from something like a little creek or even a puddle is disinfected and made potable. That might be another avenue besides bleach and swimming pool chlorine to explore.

It would just be sort of a semi-official public prompt to investigate further. Obviously it wouldn’t have any official weight as far as the church is concerned, but it might get people higher up thinking about further investigation and remedial action if it seems necessary.

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