Rorate Caeli

Adventures in the ordinary form: the wheat-free host

From Dom Mark Kirby's blog, Vultus Christi:

Our local Church Goods store is supplying Catholic parishes with gluten free "Communion Wafers" made by Ener-G Foods Inc. Here are the ingredients:

Filtered Water, Sweet Rice Flour, Potato Flour, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Potato Starch, Methylcellulose, Sunflower Lecithin.
One can no more confect the Body of Christ using such "wafers" than one can use cider or orange juice for the confection of the Precious Blood. It is appalling that this product has found its way into the sacristies of Catholic churches across the country.

Canon Law is explicit:

Can. 924 §1. The most holy eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed. §2. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling. §3. The wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and not spoiled.
Catholics with celiac disease, receiving such "wafers" are not receiving the Body of Christ. The consecration of such wafers is invalid, and the use of them is a grave abuse, given that it concerns the matter of the Sacrament.

We were going to call them "Pringles-wafers", but, after taking a look at this ingredient list (which includes "Wheat starch"), it is clear that Pringles has more wheat than the non-wheat wafers being sold by  a Catholic supplier to Catholic parishes (no, we are not saying that this snack food item is, or is not, valid matter). There is only one good side to this: no worries about all that handling of Consecrated particles in New Masses. When extremely serious matters are treated lightly, things ultimately reach their logical end, right?

34 comments:

David L Alexander said...

There are a number of sources for "low gluten" hosts, which are valid matter for the Eucharist. We are known them at the parish where I work, by prior arrangement. I don't remember where we get them, though. Anyone know of a good source?

Anonymous said...

Laudetur Jesus Christus!

Actually, my wife and I have attended EF masses for years and she is gluten-intolerant.

There is *one* Vatican and USCCB-approved low-gluten (not gluten-free) host available. See here: http://www.altarbreadsbspa.com/lowgluten.php

The priest usually consecrates it in a separate pix. It does indeed have wheat starch in it and, as such, constitutes valid matter.

-Adam R

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, O.S.B. said...

The Benedictine Nuns of Clyde, Missouri are the only source in the U.S. for "low gluten" hosts.

RJS said...

Heck, if the words of consecration are not necessary for a valid Mass, why would wheat bread be?

Adfero said...

I am gluten sensitive. But I have this silly idea that it's no longer bread but the Body of Christ, so I play food Rusian roulette, throw caution to the wind and receive our Lord like everyone else. So far I'm fine.

Francesco said...

Are modern Catholic parishes so oblivious to such basic customs and practices of the Faith that they can't even get the Eucharistic matter right?! I thought things were improving!

Gregorian Mass said...

It is horrible to think that if this has spread accross the country, how many people do not know that this is invalid matter and are not receiving the Body. This is an awful deception that if any Priest is knowingly doing to their parish should be reported (if people know). Can't people who are intolerant completely of any gluten whatsoever request the wine and be 100% confident that they have received fully the Sacrament? I believe this is the case, no?

Just curious said...

Since we are on the topic, what are the binding norms concerning the wine? Is a small amount of sulfites allowed?

Adfero said...

Gregorian Mass, let's hope that option soon comes to an end, as the indult for receiving under both species should come to a prompt end.

poeta said...

What wine?

Sorry, but we'd best call things what they are.

Peterman said...

Unless one goes into anaphylactic shock (indeed a serious condition) they are NOT allergic to anything in the wheat. They are merely sensitive to the wheat or gluten.

Edward said...

Will this nonsense ever end!!!!

Peterman said...

These things look pretty distinctive, I have not seen a communion wafer like this thank the Lord.

Picture here:

http://www.jensenchurchsupplies.com/products-page/communion-wafers-cups-filler-cards/communion-wafer-gluten-free-0-7058/

Unknown said...

As a medical student, I was regaled by the story of the ultra-gluten sensitive patient who in the hospital continued to have diarrhea. The problem was traced to his communion wafers. No more communion, no more diarrhea.
Gluten sensitivity can range from inconvenient to severe. I believe some Roman gastroenterologists should help get this changed.
Low gluten is not always quite low enough.
We are not talking about a problem that evolves with shortness of breath but day long diarrhea.
DocJim

Adfero said...

Let us not forget that anyone can make a spiritual communion while at Mass or at home.

Delphina said...

Adfero, you've got the right ideas!

It is, after all, the Body of Christ you are receiving. He will not let you down.

And no one HAS to receive Holy Communion - spiritual Communions work just as well.

Tom the Milkman said...

Imagine the things that have gone on in Catholic parishes for the past forty years! Imagine what still goes on, the man in the pew unknowing, still believing, still waiting on the Lord. My Lord, what a tragedy grips the Church even to this hour. I've been personally blessed never to have been without the Roman Mass, the ancient rite of Sacrifice clothed in holiness and order, beauty and truth. Throughout the years of exile I still had the Immemorial Mass, God be praised. I'm grateful to God for that. Still, I've seen what the revolution has wrought, what it has cost, all that it has buried, killed and ruined, everything it has stolen. all that it has cost each and every Catholic soul. May God help us.

P.K.T.P. said...

Indeed, given the way the Blessed Sacrament is handled and treated at most Novus Ordo services, the use of invalid matter for the Eucharist is exactly appropriate.

One might also note how inapposite it is to confect the Eucharist surrounded by Altar serverettes and surrounded by the usual cowboy music and jazz and lounge music. Our Lord must get a headache being present in such setting.

P.K.T.P.

Barbara said...

Adfero said:

"I am gluten sensitive. But I have this silly idea that it's no longer bread but the Body of Christ, so I play food Rusian roulette, throw caution to the wind and receive our Lord like everyone else. So far I'm fine."

That's it. It's the same with the wine. Oh we of little faith! What about priests who are alcoholics - which is not unheard of - I mean sober ones..


Delphina said:

"And no one HAS to receive Holy Communion - spiritual Communions work just as well."

I don't think this is true Delphina...they are not the same...

Barbara

Benedict Ambrose said...

I too am aghast at the widespread use of illicit and invalid matter for the Eucharist. I beg the bishops to pay attention and to stop such unthinkable abuses from being perpetrated in their dioceses. It is obvious that too many priests know or care no better.

But please, let's be a little sensible here with regard to the health consequences of ingesting the Eucharist for the gluten intolerant, such as Unknown has just outlined.

Adfero, Delphina, et al.: the effects of the gluten remain in the Host as does whiteness, breadiness and all the accidents. Why on earth wouldn't they? In fact, we have evidence that some people can become ill even from the glutenous accidents subsisting in the Eucharist.

Can Our Lord choose to protect those who trust in Him from the harmful effects of these accidents? Of course. Can we know that He will? No. We can't. He never promised such.

And really, is it charitable for those of us who are not affected by such accidents to suggest that others who are (or fear they may be) lack faith in Our Lord's miraculous presence?

Liam said...

Church goods stores don't only supply Catholic churches; in my experience, those GF wafers are directed towards Protestant church customers. Do you know in fact how many Catholic parishes are buying those?

Barbara said...

Benedict Ambrose said:

"And really, is it charitable for those of us who are not affected by such accidents to suggest that others who are (or fear they may be) lack faith in Our Lord's miraculous presence?"

Yes, you are right we don't really know for sure, but I don't think there is any lack of charity in thinking that Our Lord's miraculous physical presence of Body and Soul in the Sacred Host can and will protect the person who communicates with Him. Of course,it is too complex an issue, we cannot know the disposition of any individual when they approach the Sacrament.

Mine was just a quip, probably shouldn't have said it. Nonetheless, Holy Communion being the centre of my life and literally, my All, I can testify to miracle after miracle and not only in mine. He can do anything and I would think in this case it woud be "a piece of cake" for Him, if humbly asked. No offence meant to anyone, I am just expressing my opinion, limited as it is.

Barbara

Bob said...

As Dom Kirby noted, the sisters in Missouri provide very, very low gluten hosts that are approved for use.

Despite the fact that gluten-free living is currently a trend, there are many people that validly suffer consuming gluten. To simply assume that God will protect them from receiving a regular host is an irresponsible
line of thinking. While the miraculous can definitely occur, when someone is allergic to gluten, the priest or family member should either try to arrange for the reception of the low gluten host or the person should abstain from receiving.

If one is up to speed with the many new Mayo Clinic studies, etc., it would be wise for more priests to look at this as a serious issue. More and more people are being diagnosed with either a severe intolerance or celiacs.

As long as the Missouri sisters have a low gluten host available as an option, priests should look at how to provide this for their parishioners who have legitimate medical issues due to gluten.

SkinnyBaldGuy said...

Delphina Said:

And no one HAS to receive Holy Communion - spiritual Communions work just as well.


Spiritual communion might be the next best option if you can't receive but they don't "work just as well." One is a sacrament - a visible sign of the Grace bestowed - and was instituted by Christ. The other is a pious act not governed by any Church law that I'm aware of.

Andreas said...

Someone who can tolerate only tiny amounts of gluten might benefit from the fact that one who receives even the tiniest fragment of a validly consecrated host (as long as the accidents of bread are discernible) receives our Lord, whole and entire, just the same as one who receives an unbroken host. It seems to me that such a person could arrange ahead of time with the priest to be given just a very small fragment of a host. (I realize that this suggestion won't help those who cannot tolerate any gluten whatsoever; for these, spiritual communion or miracles seem the only solutions.)
-- Andreas

Anonymous said...

Delphina said...

Adfero, you've got the right ideas!

It is, after all, the Body of Christ you are receiving. He will not let you down.

And no one HAS to receive Holy Communion - spiritual Communions work just as well.


One of the precepts of the Church, under penalty of mortal sin, is to receive Holy Communion during Eastertide. A spiritual communion does not suffice.


DJR

Barbara said...

"To simply assume that God will protect them from receiving a regular host is an irresponsible
line of thinking."

If it's me that you are referring to Bob, I do not assume anything of the sort, if you had read my post.
Our Catholic faith is based on the fact that that the Sacred Host after consecration IS Jesus. This is where I am comimg from. Call me thick if you want, but I have a hard time in accepting the idea that Our Lord in the Sacred Host could become physical poison for some people, that's all.

However, I have to confess that I know nothing about gluten sensitivity, and wonder if anyone knows of any scientific study that directly correlates the receiving of Consecrated Hosts and the exacerbation of the condition. ...one case was mentioned by a poster. Has that been scientifically documented? Others?

Barbara

Adfero said...

DJR, no, it wouldn't suffice, do they need to suck it up and take Communion.

As someone with a gluten sensitivity, I think it's a small price to pay. Look at what our fallen brothers in Nigeria just went through in order to receive Him. This is nothing compared to that.

Rafael Castela Santos said...

This thread of comments seems to focuse on celiacs, a relatively rare disease fortunately.
As a medical doctor I had to attend a Priest in the Zaragoza Diocese (NE Spain) who realized rather abruptly he had been "consecrating hosts" made purely of rice. These were made by some pious nuns in Zaragoza who preferred rice to wheat, literally, "because it is so white and cute ...".
The Priest, a very holy man and with a PhD in Theology, suffered an enormity because of this.
For a moment, please, let us forget about celiacs. Are we sure adequate hosts made of wheat are used worldwide?
Aye, I think we are nowadays all celiacs of the True Doctrine and immaculate Deposit of Faith. The slightest portion of it provokes a diarrhoea.

Rafael Castela Santos

Bob said...

I don't need a scientific study as I know firsthand. For me, I am thankful to the sisters in Missouri for having come up with their formula that has been approved for use by the USCCB.

If I am unable to attend the Mass where the priest consecrates this type of host for me, I abstain. Sometimes it may be for weeks.

I recognize it as a cross that God has given me. He knows best. If more priests understood this issue, I could go to communion more often. Maybe someday that will happen. Until then I understand that I didn't do anything to have my reaction to gluten and that God isn't punishing me somehow. So I cannot receive as much as I want or as others can. It's all part of His will at this time of my life.

Barbara said...

Bob,
This topic has disturbed me and I would still like to mention a few things,but because I have no authority nor qualifications from a spiritual, academic and medical perspective, I fear to tread further in case what I say may be taken the wrong way by the sufferers of this serious malady.

So, I send you my best wishes and prayers.
Barbara

Bob said...

Thank you for your kindness, Barbara

Brian said...

The extremely rare person who is unable to consume any wheat, could, of course, take communion exclusively by drinking the Blood of our Lord, which contains His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

Wheat-free hosts are very troubling and lend credance to the SSPX caution regarding avoidance of Novus Ordo Masses.

Adfero said...

Brian: "The extremely rare person who is unable to consume any wheat, could, of course, take communion exclusively by drinking the Blood of our Lord, which contains His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity."

Your solution would require one to attend the Novus Ordo. No pain or reaction from gluten can be that bad.