Priest checks fingerprints for mass attendance

WARSAW Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:46am EST

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WARSAW (Reuters) - A Polish priest has installed an electronic reader in his church for schoolchildren to leave their fingerprints in order to monitor their attendance at mass, the Gazeta Wyborcza daily said on Friday.

The pupils will mark their fingerprints every time they go to church over three years and if they attend 200 masses they will be freed from the obligation of having to pass an exam prior to their confirmation, the paper said.

The pupils in the southern town of Gryfow Slaski told the daily they liked the idea and also the priest, Grzegorz Sowa, who invented it.

"This is comfortable. We don't have to stand in a line to get the priest's signature (confirming our presence at the mass) in our confirmation notebooks," said one pupil, who gave her name as Karolina.

Poland is perhaps the most devoutly Roman Catholic country in Europe today and churches are regularly packed on Sundays.

(Reporting by Kuba Jaworowski, editing by Paul Casciato)

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