Holy Water

Baptismal font in the Catholic church on Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, Galway.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

The font, if not of impermeable stone, must be lined with metal; it must be used exclusively for baptism, and to guard it against profanation, securely covered and locked. Frequency of thirteenth-century legislation on this point throughout Northern Europe reveals the prevalence of a passing superstitious belief in the magical efficacy of the font and its waters.

No, that’s not much of a lock — but enough to comply with the age-old belief that the baptismal waters needed to be protected.

7 thoughts on “Holy Water

  1. I worked in a facility that housed a Catholic parish some years ago. Some of our college students decided it would be a good idea to put bubble-bath in the font and take pictures of themselves sitting in it in bathing suits and with inflatable beach toys, like a hot tub. We should have had a lock.

      1. The church where I grew up has one that resembles a small hot tub. It’s big enough for an adult to crouch in, and you could take a nice bubble bath in it if you wanted to.

        They used to just bring it out for the spring RCIA baptisms, but now leave it out all year. The problem with that is that it’s an untraditional church – built almost in the round – and the baptismal font in the center leaves barely enough room for a coffin near the altar during funerals.

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