Inspectors at Tarbes-Lourdes airport in France refused to give their blessing to holy water that passengers tried to bring on board the Vatican's new pilgrim flights this week, saying it was a security threat just like any other liquid.
The water, which is said to have miraculous healing powers, came from a sacred grotto where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared in 1858.
Passenger Paola Saluzzi told Corriere della Sera newspaper she was carrying the water in eight small plastic bottles "in the shape of the little Madonna". But it was not allowed on board.
"If they gave preference to the water from Lourdes it would be an (irregularity) that would not guarantee the proper procedure," she acknowledged.
But the Vatican had foreseen such an eventuality and placed a small complimentary bottle of holy water on the seat of each pilgrim to drink on board, Saluzzi said.