‘The passengers on board the Vatican’s first flight to Lourdes may have been pilgrims in search of spiritual healing, but they still had to obey anti-terrorism rules, it has emerged, after several of them had their holy water confiscated.
The Vatican’s new service, a Boeing 737 painted in yellow-and-white papal livery, took off from Rome’s Fiumicino airport on Monday, serving swordfish canapes to 148 pilgrims reclining on headrests stamped with the message: “I search for your face, oh Lord”.
While the outward journey was smooth, turbulence struck on the return when anti-terror rules were strictly applied by the French police.
No bottles containing more than 100ml of liquid were allowed on board unless checked in, meaning passengers were forced give up the holy water they had just collected at Lourdes.
Many hoped to ferry the water back to sick relatives.
Instead, dozens of plastic containers in the shape of the Madonna were left at security, while one man decided to drink all of his.’