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Amazon synod ‘will discuss replacing bread with yuca at Mass’

Dried yuca roots are ground into flour (Wikimedia)

A theologian said it is difficult to store wheat bread in the Amazon climate, however there are doubts over the validity of such a move

A leading South American theologian has said October’s Amazon Synod will discuss replacing bread used in the consecration of the Eucharist with yuca, a shrub native to the region.

Jesuit Fr Francisco Taborda said traditional bread usually used in the Mass often turns to mush in the extreme humidity of the Amazon, meaning “it’s not bread, and if it’s not bread, it’s not the Eucharist.”

The priest, a professor of theology at the Jesuit university in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, told Crux that bread in the region is most commonly made out of yuca.

While changing the type of bread used in the Eucharist is “a very complex questions”, Fr Taborda said the question will almost certainly arise in the Synod, and that it should be decided by local bishops.

However, there are doubts over the validity of such a move. On his blog, Fr John Zuhlsdorf said: “For the Eucharist to be confected validly, only bread of wheat may be used.  In the Latin Church we use only unleavened bread, as Christ used at the Last Supper.”

“No wheat… no Eucharist,” he added.

Fr Taborda also said that the ordination of married men to the priesthood will be on the agenda for the Synod.

“There is a shortage of priests,” he said which requires a “re-thinking of how it can be done so that every community…can have the Sunday Eucharist.”

One proposed solution is the ordination of mature married men, so-called viri probati. When asked if the “re-thinking” included this measure, Fr Taborda said “that’s what this is about”.