4

Now Venezuela Is Running Out of Holy Wine and Altar Bread

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Venezuelans were angry when the country ran low on flour and detergent. They were downright pissed when a chronic toilet paper shortage led to a run on Charmin earlier this month. But the latest scarcity to hit thanks to the haphazard economic policies of Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, are now threatening the holiest sacraments in a heavily Catholic nation.

Venezuela's Catholic Church warns this morning that its priests may not be able to give communion much longer thanks to a chronic shortage of holy wine and altar bread.

"The church has taken some emergency measures like reducing the amount of wine, even though the amount used in worship has already been significantly reduced," Father Juan Carlos Silva, a local priest, tells the BBC.

It's just the latest embarrassment for Maduro's new government, which has struggled to keep Chavez's socialist programs in place after his death earlier this year.

Last month, the National Assembly voted to import millions of packages of toilet paper from abroad to ease a national shortage, the BBC reports. Now, the church is warning both its key ingredients in communion are in danger.

Many local winemakers have stopped producing altar wine, which has a higher alcohol content than normal vino, and several parishes have already run out.

"We'll soon have to ration it even more and try to find a substitute," Silva tells the BBC.

With wheat flour running low, host bread is also close to running out in many churches.

"There's a problem in terms of raw materials, which would be wheat flour," he says.

Government spokespeople blame the shortages on "panic buying" and "unscrupulous merchants," though it's not clear who would be hoarding altar wine and holy bread other than the Catholic Church itself.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.