Mass wine exempted from prohibition in Bihar

Use of Sacramental wine has been permitted, state official Kunwar Jang Bahadur explained.

 Patna: (UCAN)

The blanket ban on alcohol in Bihar will not affect the Church, officials have explained on Wednesday saying Christians have permission to use sacramental wine during their Masses.

"Sacramental wine for religious purposes has been permitted," state excise commissioner Kunwar Jang Bahadur told Times of India.

The state imposed a ban on sale, use and production of all kinds of alcohol from April 5. Some people doubted if the ban also includes use of wine in the churches.

"We were granted special permission for offering sacramental wine and it's difficult to recall for how long we've had the permission," said Archbishop William D'Souza of Patna, according to a report in Times of India.

Fr Johnson Kelakath, parish priest of the Queen of the Apostles Church, Kurji. explained that wine in mass represents the blood of Jesus. The Church laws insist that natural wine made from grapes of the vine should be used for Masses, he said.

Father Kelakath said only a small quantity of some 10 to 15 ml wine is used. Most regions have their own state-licensed centres to produce sacramental wine.

For Bihar region, the “sacramental wine is prepared at Digha and a special licence had been obtained for preparing it. It was in the early 1950s that sacramental wine started being made here," he said.

Priests said sacramental wine is not banned in Gujarat or other states where liquor is prohibited. "Even in 1979-80, when prohibition was first enforced in Bihar, sacramental wine was exempted from it," Father Kelakath said.

Source: Times of India

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