Pope Changes Guidance on Safe Drinking Water

Yesterday the Pope issued new guidance on drinking water in response to the cholera epidemic in Haiti. Previously, the Catholic Church had forbidden the boiling of water, on the basis that it was not taught in the Bible. Health advisers and aid workers had been frustrated by the Vatican’s hardline stance on safe drinking water for decades. “Cholera didn’t exist in the Palestine of Christ’s era,” said one doctor in Port-au-Prince. “We’ve always viewed it as absurd that an old man with a safe water supply and the best healthcare available should dictate sanitary practices to those in developing countries. Cholera is a preventable disease spread by poor hygiene and ignorance.”

But the doctrinal change is causing confusion amongst the clergy. “His Holiness seemed to imply that water should only be boiled when being sold to strangers. It doesn’t say whether water used within families should be boiled or not,” said one priest. “So I’m recommending that married couples continue to drink filthy water contaminated with raw sewage. Unlike Aids, death is often rapid – sometimes in as little as four hours – and excruciatingly painful. Far better for you and your children to die of cholera than to risk breaking Papal edicts and going to hell, or living long enough to think about using a condom during sex.”

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