Even though Pope Francis recently called whisky the “real holy water,” one archdiocese in the Philippines is warning that there’s no substitute for the real thing.

The Archdiocese of San Fernando’s liturgical office on Monday warned that “there is no substitute for holy water” after finding out people were selling “holy alcohol” as a sacramental online.

“There is no sacramental holy alcohol, that we should make the sign of the cross when we rub it to ourselves. Moreover, it should not be sprinkled on the faithful,” the office said in a statement on Facebook.

The Philippines went into lockdown to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in March, and as a safety precaution, churches emptied their holy water fonts and provided hand sanitizer.


However, the liturgical office said it was “fake news” that the Church had authorized the use of “holy alcohol.”

“Blessed water is the matter of baptism, using another material element or liquid makes such baptism invalid,” the statement said.

The office also warned against advertisements for holy face masks, holy face shield, holy sanitizer, holy PPE [personal protective equipment] or holy goggles.

“This is an irreverent marketing strategy or gimmick,” it said.

During a recent meeting with seminarians from the Pontifical Scots College, Pope Francis received a bottle of Oban scotch.

Francis quipped, “Questa e la vera acqua santa,” which means “This is the real holy water.”