Friday, May 31, 2013

Shortage of wafers and wine for Mass hits Venezuela

The food shortages in Venezuela have now reached the Catholic Church: Because there is a lack of sacramental wine and flour for the production of hosts, the Bishop of the western state of Merida is now threatening to reduce the number of services significantly.

"When we cannot hold a service any more in a reasonable way, we need to reduce the numbers of celebrations of the Eucharist, which would be very unfortunate," Bishop Baltazar Porras said on Monday. According to him, inventories of the fine sacramental wine in Merida will only last for two to three months. Also the supply of wafers was "very limited" because the nuns have run out of flour. Venezuelan inhabitants are accustomed to the constant lack of food and basic necessities such as toilet paper: the country has to import most of its goods, but given the drastic exchange controls dollars are difficult to come by. The sacramental wine was previously exempted from the tax, but now the Socialist government has cut the subsidies. Meanwhile, a bottle costs $ 16 (about twelve euros), as much as normal wine.

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