The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to reorder our lives. For some believers, this means finding special workarounds to ensure eternal salvation, too. Now, an image depicting a priest baptising an infant with a water gun has gone viral on Twitter, providing a stark depiction of the concessions forced upon us by the virus.
The photo, which appears to have first been shared online yesterday afternoon, shows a man pairing his sacramental robes with a face mask. In his hands is a small, pink water gun. It’s aimed squarely at the head of a baby, which appears to be held in the arms of its smiling mother.
“My favourite photo from quarantine,” the Twitter user said.
Mi foto favorita de la cuarentena pic.twitter.com/5uLIGNW6Lq
— Atropa Belladonna (@MissGracey13) May 24, 2020
The image has been retweeted nearly 40,000 times, demonstrating the bizarre aesthetic power of an ordained minister aiming their aqua-Glock at a child’s noggin.
While the photo’s provenance is not entirely clear, there are other instances of religious leaders using water guns as part of their sacramental duties.
Earlier this year, Minnesota couple Mary and Kyle Nielsen went viral thanks to a photo of their infant son, Wesley James, squarely in the sights of their pastor’s water gun.
Mary Nielsen said the pastor “did the real thing first” during the at-home ceremony, but was game to stage the photo regardless.
And ahead of this year’s Easter celebrations, Father Tim Pelc of Detroit’s St. Ambrose Parish garnered international headlines for using a water gun to bless goodie baskets.
While I won’t pretend to be an expert on Catholic doctrine, it appears that using a water gun for sacramental purposes might be… fine, actually.
For centuries, officiants have used the aspergillum, a small, mace-like tool, to disperse holy water from afar. It’s not out of the realms of possibility that a water gun falls within the same kind of liturgical framework.
Back in 1980, the Vatican’s own playbook declared, “We must not treat lightly the necessity of the sacrament: it is a necessity that has lost none of its importance and urgency, especially when what is at stake is ensuring that the child receives the infinite blessing of eternal life.”
To some believers, it appears the pandemic hasn’t diminished that urgency – even if a water gun makes a surprise appearance at the altar.