Venezuela faces Communion wine crisis

28th May, 2013 by Gabriel Stone

A shortage of basic supplies in Venezuela is threatening the country’s stocks of Communion wine.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santa Ana in Caracas

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santa Ana in Caracas

The Catholic Church has warned that it has just two months worth of wine left after Vino Ecclesia, which works with the country’s only major producer, Bodegas Pomar, to supply wine for the Mass, said that it could not guarantee continuous production.

In a country reliant on imports but restricted by currency controls, the problem is said to lie with a scarcity of winemaking ingredients that need to be brought into the country.

The Church confirmed that it faced similar problems in obtaining enough foreign currency to import liturgical wine from other sources. Meanwhile Venezuela’s reliance on imported wheat means a shortage of Communion hosts is also looming.

With no sign of this situation improving in the short term, the liturgy committee of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference advised: “If it is impossible to obtain wine for Mass certified by other bishops’ conferences, the purest and most natural wine possible should be used instead.”

Earlier this month the Venezuelan congress passed emergency measures to enable its commerce ministry to address shortages of a number of key supplies, including loo roll. The government’s official explanation of this particular shortage was that “Venezuelans now are having three and four meals a day.”

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