Shortage of wheat flour means no more Communion hosts in Cuba

communion hosts Credit: Pixabay

The economic crisis in Cuba continues to impact the population, this time affecting Catholics specifically because the lack of wheat flour has meant that no more Communion hosts can be made.

The St. Teresa Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Havana announced the news Wednesday.

“We inform all the dioceses that there are no longer hosts for sale. We have been working with the little flour that was left and what was in reserve has already run out,” the nuns reported in a statement shared by the Catholic publication Vida Cristiana.

“We hope and trust in the Lord that we can resume work soon, and once we have enough to distribute to all the dioceses, we will notify you,” they added.

The Catholic Church stipulates in the Redemptionis Sacramentum instruction that the host can only be made with wheat.

“It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament,” the instruction states.

In addition, the instruction says: “It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist.” 

Shortage of wheat flour in Cuba

At the end of August, the Cuban Ministry of Domestic Trade acknowledged that in recent months “the difficulties for importing wheat” have worsened due to “the tightening of the blockade, the current international logistics crisis, and the country’s financial limitations.”

The U.S. trade embargo of Cuba does not include food products.

The lack of wheat flour is also affecting bread production throughout the island.

The director of the Guantánamo Food Industry, Albis Hernández Díaz, said in an October issue of the state-run newspaper Venceremos that they had ended the week with 60,000 fewer units of bread, affecting homes in the municipalities of Guantánamo, Baracoa, and El Salvador.

The official indicated that the low production is also due to the shortage of fuel for the ovens and the blackouts that continue to occur since Hurricane Ian hit the island in September.

“The quality of the bread has been affected by the type of flour available, with less fine grains and loaded with bran or wheat husks, and the use of national yeast with low fermentation power, components that affect the flavor and color of the bread and, in addition, they slow down the production process,” the state-run media reported.

In the province of Holguín, the Provincial Food Production Company reported Oct. 21 that the main causes of the low availability of bread are the “late arrival of flour and a lack of electricity.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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