Luciano Marabese has invented an electronic terracotta holy water dispenser. It works like an automatic soap dispenser in public lavatories. A churchgoer waves his or her hand under a sensor and the machine spurts out holy water.
Following the outbreak of the H1N1 virus many churches stopped having holy water in a stoup. They feared it would spread the virus.
The water has been blessed by a priest. People entering and leaving churches normally dip their fingers into the holy water and make the sign of the cross. (source)
A new website called Purity Solutions promotes a product (shown here)
Communion Host Dispenser
“Use the the Purity Communion Host Dispensers during the cold and flu season to prevent the passing of germs or use it all year long to reduce the cost, time and personnel needed to provide communion by as much as 50 percent.” For those interested in church growth – that site believes this will increase church attendance.
This is a wonderful video explaining the product:
I suspect … I hope that this is a well-produced hoax and parody. The website is here for those who wish to pursue this. I am of the opinion that high-alcohol-content (regularly fortified) consecrated wine from a silver or gold chalice wiped appropriately is very “safe”. Clergy generally consume all of the remaining consecrated wine – and there is no evidence that they are succumbing to illness more than others. Some think that God specially protects those receiving these holy gifts – if that thought lessens a natural fear you have of shared communion, cool. Purity Solutions focuses on what I think has been the sleight-of-hand issue: it is the bread that might just be more likely to spread germs. A good lavabo tradition helps here of course. And for those who cannot afford the Purity Solutions products, here is the alternative I stole from my e-friend, Rev Scott Gunn:
I blogged about this earlier
Anybody who follows up this with Purity Solutions and does end up purchasing – please add that in a comment below.
And I think I would deserve at least 10% commission to go to my favourite charity
Update: I genuinely thought this product was a well-produced hoax. I realise now it is a genuine product that people purchase and use. Rather than rewriting this post, I have written a follow-up.