Baptism by water pistol!

water pistol

Filling a water pistol with holy water and using it for blessings or baptisms is not right.

Several priests have reacted against their brother priests for keeping a social distance and baptising babies with a water pistol.

The photos appearing to depict blessings or baptisms by water pistol went viral online. In one photo, a priest points the pistol at a baby from several metres away.

The pistol’s use was purportedly to meet the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’s “social distancing” rules.

Among the priests who have spoken out is canon law professor Fr. Pius Pietrzyk.

“Putting holy water into a squirt gun and treating it as if it were a comedy sketch … is treating both the sacrament and the blessed water unworthily,” he says.

The Catechism teaches that profaning sacred objects or treating them unworthily is a sin – the sin of sacrilege.

Fr. Stephen Klasek, who baptised the infant using the water pistol, has explained his reasons on his parish’s Facebook page.

The Facebook post says the water pistol photo was intended to be humorous. It goes on to say the family had asked Klasek to pose for the photo in imitation of similar pictures on the internet. It also says the gun did not contain holy water and was not squirted at the baby.

The parish says it felt a need to “clarify the photo that has gone viral as we have been receiving inquiries about it.”

“It has garnered almost a million views in Twitter, has been in the news in several websites and memes. It had good and controversial comments.”

While Klasek’s photo was apparently staged, other photos of priests using water pistols have been circulating the internet.

These include photos of a priest supposedly blessing parishioners with a water gun in Detroit. The priest involved says he had shot parishioners with holy water in a water gun as something “for the kids of the parish.”

Pietrzyk is also cautioning people not to assume the intention in a specific instance was to mock the sacraments.

“I think we ought to proceed from the premise that it involves individuals who were attempting to make light of the difficulties of the coronavirus situation,” he says.

At the same time, while the intent may have been lighthearted, the photos raise serious concerns.

Holy water is a sacramental, a material object meant to help us sanctify our lives and dispose us to better receive the graces of the sacraments.

It reminds us of the purifying power of baptism, and of Christ, who referred to himself as living water.

“Blessed objects, including holy water, should be treated with respect and reverence as things set aside to build up the life of faith,” Pietrzyk says.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,