There's a wonderful irony about the fact that many churches in Italy are installing automatic holy water dispensers that squirt out water when a hand is placed under the spout.
The problem it addresses, it seems, is that congregations, no doubt imbued with the holy spirit, fully signed up to their faith, believing in God, trusting in his care, actually don't really have enough faith in their protector.
It seems that the tradition of dipping your hand in holy water openly available in fonts is seen as a health risk. Whether or not it is more of a risk than any other pool of water is open to question, but the recent scares about the H1N1 virus, the so-called swine flu, have convinced the faithful to doubt, at least that pool of water.
It's wonderfully incongruous that believers who will go into the church to pray for all manner of things, trusting in the benevolence of their god, suddenly get an attack of rationalism when they think their own health is put at risk.
One wonders how many of those prayers devoutly made inside are about pleading for health and recovery for loved ones.
As with all religious people, they draw an almost invisible line between the rationality they need to live their daily lives, and the irrationality they can afford to give their faith. Sometimes, as in this case, the line comes into view.