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Sacramental wine shortage has Venezuela in need of divine intervention

Venezuelan church goer
AP Photo/Fernando Llano
Without sacramental wine, how will Venezuela hold communions at Mass?
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

As if running out of toilet paper wasn’t indignity enough, Venezuela is now proving itself incapable of supplying yet another staple of life: sacramental wine.

The country’s Roman Catholic churches are now being asked to ration their dwindling supplies. The wine shortage, much like the country’s recent toilet paper, sugar, coffee, and wheat flour shortages, is a consequence of the government’s shortsighted economic policies. Local suppliers of the sacramental wine used for Mass suffered a bad harvest this year. Imports that could have made up for the shortfall are out of reach due to currency controls that have made dollars scarce.

According to an internal church memo, the Catholic church has given permission to use non-sacramental wines in cases of “extreme necessity.” But sacramental wine isn’t just any wine; it has a higher alcohol content, which, all jokes aside, allows it be stored longer without refrigeration. So while using the more expensive “good stuff” may sound like a treat, it’s actually doubly expensive.

It’s a tough break for a country that is over 90%  Roman Catholic—especially given that Venezuela’s wheat flour scarcity has also caused a shortage of altar bread. Soon, the Catholic Church claims, the body and blood of Christ may be in such short supply that it won’t be able to perform mass at all.

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