Communion Wine crisis hits Catholic Church in Venezuela





The Catholic Church in Venezuela is running out of wine to celebrate Communion because of the nationwide shortages of basic supplies, according to the BBC.

The scarcity of some provisions has forced one of the country’s sole winemakers to stop selling to the Church, with government critics blaming tight state control of the economy and inadequate domestic production. Such is the shortage; 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, intimated that it could not commit to continuous production.

Venezuela is reliant on imports and the Church has confirmed that it is facing similar problems in obtaining enough foreign currency to import liturgical wine from other sources.

Additionally, a Church spokesman told the BBC that the problem was not limited to wine.

"The makers of consecrated bread have told us that they'll have to raise prices because they can't find enough flour." Monsignor Lucker told BBC News. "Wheat is not grown here - it all comes from abroad,

"A packet of consecrated bread used to cost 50 bolivar ($8, £5), but it's now 100."

With no sign of the 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.”

The government maintains that an opposition-led conspiracy and price speculations are the problem rather than the aforementioned general malaise. Remarkably, the government’s official explanation of this particular shortage was that “Venezuelans now are having three and four meals a day.”

Yet 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. Supplies of milk, sugar, cooking oil and corn flour - which is used to make Venezuela's national dish, arepas – have also all been affected.

According to the BBC, currency controls in Venezuela have restricted its ability to pay for foreign goods despite it boasting the largest proven oil reserves in the world. 
 
[Main image by Waiting For The Word
 

Written by: Ben Moss

Ben Moss 

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