Hi for any coeliacs who are catholics... - Gluten Free Guerr...

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Hi for any coeliacs who are catholics, has anyone ever had a problem with communion hosts. I have just been sent this by my parish priest.

Mia1057
Mia1057
29 Replies

vatican.va/roman_curia/cong...

CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

Letter to all Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences concerning the use of low-gluten altar breads and mustum as matter for the celebration of the Eucharist. Vatican City, 19 June 1995.

In recent years this Dicastery has followed closely the development of the question of the use of low-gluten altar breads and mustum as matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.

After careful study conducted in collaboration with a number of concerned episcopal conferences, this congregation in its ordinary session of June 22, 1994, has approved the following norms, which I am pleased to communicate:

I. Concerning permission to use low-gluten altar breads:

A. This may be granted by ordinaries to priests and laypersons affected by celiac disease, after presentation of a medical certificate.

B. Conditions for the validity of the matter:

1) Special hosts "quibus glutinum ablatum est" [that are gluten-free] are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.

2) Low-gluten hosts are valid matter, provided that they contain the amount of gluten sufficient to obtain the confection of bread, that there is no addition of foreign materials and that the procedure for making such hosts is not such as to alter the nature of the substance of the bread.

(I omit similar instructions regarding non-alcoholic wine.)

III. Common Norms:

A. The ordinary must ascertain that the matter used conforms to the above requirements.

B. Permissions are to be given only for as long as the situation continues which motivated the request.

C. Scandal is to be avoided.

D. Given the centrality of the celebration of the Eucharist in the life of the priest, candidates for the priesthood who are affected by celiac disease or suffer from alcoholism or similar conditions may not be admitted to holy orders.

(Procedural instructions omitted)

29 Replies
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Penel

This seems very harsh to me. Surely the bread is symbolic, so why should it matter if it's gluten free? To say that coeliacs cannot become priests and to put it in the same sentence as alcoholism, is dreadful, in my opinion.

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Medoc99
Medoc99
in reply to Penel

What happens to RC priests when they are are diagnosed as coeliac? The whole argument about bread puts me in mind of the middle ages and the number of angels who could dance on a pinhead.

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Mia1057

I agree but my parish priest is very conservative and I have had some problems.

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Sonianin

Wow - I am stunned by that, it's terrible. I'm a non-practising catholic and that's certainly backed up a few thoughts I've had about the catholic church with their outdated opinions on some things (the AIDS situation in Africa is what really makes me mad).

Very sad, it must be a difficult position to be put in if you are devout.

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Hidden
Hidden

Agree Pennel. Sorry for all Catholics at Easter.

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Apricot

I am so very sorry for the problems...I thought this had been resolved since 1995.

Can only hope that it will change...and soon.

Point C says a lot...

Apricot

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KathrynS_UK

How disgusting! I think if this is the kind of attitude you have to put up with you should find a new priest / church.

Not taking the welfare of their own flock seriously seems very shortsighted. Why wouldn't gf bread surfice?! The whole thing is only symbolic anyway.

A catholic church where I grew up used to use Ribena instead of wine....

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windymillersue

As i am also corn-allergic, i need the rice -only catholic host, this seems desperatley harsh . Personally i havnt took communion for many years as no rice host available( i am now c of e but grewr up,a catholic) my vicar has recently promised to get me some rice ones. I can also react to cheap wine (sulphites) so pretty tough, so i have gone with the symbolic, and just get blessed. i know another coeliac that takes their own piece of rice cake to be blessed at the begining of communion.

Ps to anyone interested, the anglican coeliac host is rice, maize and potato.

Seems a massive step backwards, my sympathies

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Vinny

AS far as I know there are two types - the more common one is the square host which is made from Codex wheat; these are served in Anglian churches as well. Another round one is wheat and gluten free - more info on Coeliac UK site

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windymillersue

Note .c. Scandal is to be avoided......

Well tough, this is pretty scandalous!

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Lexy

This is truly sad. I too am a non-practising Catholic and find it extremely bizarre that being coeliac should bar anyone from becoming a priest. Or that gf-communion hosts are not acceptable. I note these 'instructions' date from 1995. Has nothing changed since then? Perhaps now with Pope Francis things can indeed change...? Admittedly one of the reasons I am no longer practising is the myriad difficulties I have with so many of the Churches doctrines. And now I have yet another one to add to the list!

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Hidden
Hidden

I am an Anglican and I have my wafer on a separate tray, and the Vicar does not touch the wafer as he has been giving out bread. He has also started giving me wine in a separate small cup as I should not be using the communial vessal. The giving of wine in this way was his idea. He ad looked up the condition and made this decision. The wine is also on a small tray which is handed to me to take off the cup.

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PuddingPack

I personally have no problems taking communion. However, once, taking communion away from home and not at my usual place of worship, I was given a small piece of Jacob's cream cracker in place of a communion wafer! (This was before I went GF).

I saw nothing wrong with it then and I see nothing wrong with it now. The symbolism was the same.

The above just shows the inflexibility of the Catholic Church. And are they really suggesting coeliacs are on a par with alcoholics?! What happened to tolerance, humility and love for fellow human beings?

There are non of those attributes in the above dogma.

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Vinny

Your lucky Maurita that your Vicar knows what he is doing. last couple times I went to HC it was awful (in my opinion). The first time the host was kept on a side table and not blessed at all. Then when it was my turn the verger quickly found it and the priest said to me: "are you the gluten free one - here's your gluten free" (instead of "the body of Christ"). I was gutted but a friend pursuaded me to go back. so the next time they forgot to give me the wine (just being so preoccupied with the g/f wafer). The wafer always gets served on a yellow plastic lid there - makes me feel like I'm a rabbit. In the past they forgot to bless the host too, so I almost wander if they really think its not the right stuff?

Anyone knows any good church (protestant) for Coeliacs in London - could you please post a recommendation here?.

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SuzzleBrickLane

St Matthew's Bethnal Green is good. The rector is GF himself, so just let someone know when you get there.

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racquelle

I'm Anglican and have been receiving square GF wafers since I was diagnosed (just over a year ago). I have recently begun to worry about communion for several reasons:

- I don't know if the wafers contain codex wheat starch (which I otherwise avoid)

- intiction (dipping the bread in the wine) seems to be a popular practice in my church and I worry about cross contamination

- I find that drinking wine gives me a reaction, so i fear that I ought to be avoiding it completely

I don't think the C of E has any clue about how to safely cater for coeliacs, and that makes me a bit cross. I am utterly shocked by the Catholic stance however! Have you been asked to present a medical certificate?! I can't believe that coeliacs aren't allowed to become priests!

I think the 20ppm 'safe' standard has really muddied the waters on this topic. If prescription GF foods weren't laced with CWS, it would be alot easier to convince the church that it isn't appropriate to use it in communion wafers.

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Vinny

I agree with you rawquelle that the waters are muddied. How can non-coeliac get a grip on this, if even the coeliac society endorces this stuff?

the square wafers are made of codex wheat

charlesfarris.co.uk/content...

I guess this is to make them ok for catholics?

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racquelle
racquelle
in reply to Vinny

Thanks for the info Vinny. I will have to think on this...

btw I can't believe you were served communion off a plastic yellow lid! Things really do need to change.

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Shonny

According to Wikipedia, Catholics believe the host actually becomes the body of Christ after it is consecrated. Protestants believe it to be symbolic. Both say it must be wheat flour - no explanation of why but I guess it must be in the bible. Last Supper maybe? The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) seem to be the only ones who aren't bothered and will allow you to bring rice cakes or any type of GF bread you might like to be consecrated.

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Rumbull
Rumbull
in reply to Shonny

Christ would be pulling his hair out at this! Bread and Wine are purely symbolic of the body and the blood of Christ, is the church seriously suggesting that Christ would have said to a coeliac,.. " hard luck sunshine, you can not partake". Shonny has put it in a nut shell.

I am a none practicing Roman Catholic who came to realise why Christ in vain also tried to get across that each man and woman was his/her own temple... Churches follow the doctrine of men,.. someone else's interpretation of the Bible and Christ's message. "Pray unto me with a sincere heart and the truth will given unto you"

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tygfuz

You could pass this on this on to Coeliac UK. It should interest them.

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FionaGFG
FionaGFGAdministrator

Mia - I'd recommend you contact Coeliac Ireland as they have a lot of religious followers and I know they have communicated well about GF services etc.

The note does seem very intolerant and the opposite of what the church are striving to achieve.

See: coeliac.ie/gf_living/taking...

Extract:

"A German company Franz Hoch, is producing hosts using only Codex Alimentarius quality wheat starch and water (< 20 ppm). This is possible because unlike ordinary bread the hosts are extremely thin. These hosts have official Church approval. Importantly for Coeliacs, they have been approved by the scientific committee of the Italian Coeliac Society and also by the Coeliac Society of Ireland.

These hosts are deemed gluten-free for the purposes of differentiating them by the Coeliac Society from ordinary hosts. But for the purposes of clarity with the Church they are known also as low-gluten hosts. It may be less contentious to describe them to your Parish Priest as ‘low gluten hosts’."

It appears that the terminology of GF hosts is different to how we would describe things in modern speak and that they need to contain codex wheat starch as bread has to be present or rather it has to be derived from bread.

As I don't follow any religion this saddens me that people of faith appear to be being penalised for having a life long disease. I honestly can't believe Jesus would care - surely it's the symbolism and your belief in God that is important?

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Mia1057
Mia1057
in reply to FionaGFG

Hi Fiona

I will do, the problem is that I can't tolerate even the 20ppm so before we had sourced other hosts which were rice based but the new Parish Priest has said he can't use them and sent me this info. I am disappointed that after 55 years, I won't be able to go to Communion.

Maria

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FionaGFG
FionaGFGAdministrator

Mia that does seem very harsh. I guess all religions are based on rules though (which is probably why I avoid them!). Perhaps you could have a chat with your Parish priest and explain the problem. Maybe he / she can make an exception? Often Coeliacs find they can't tolerate codex wheat starch. However there are ones that will come in at different levels of testing. The one mentioned in the Irish link above maybe worth investigating i.e. if it came in at 6ppm then it could be worth a try?

I wonder what NZ & Aussie Coeliacs do as their levels are very low. I found this old article online..

theage.com.au/articles/2004...

Maybe we all need to write to the new Pope about this. It does seem an odd rule as it will make many Coeliacs ill. However, as the article said people can partake in the wine instead is that an option (I guess you'd need a separate glass to avoid the cross contamination). Would your Parish priest agree to that?

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JoolsEnzo

I am horrified to read this about Holy Communion. I thought it was bad enough eating out but to have so little understanding when it relates to a fundamental part of the Catholic faith is disgraceful. Do the Catholic press have any knowledge of this, I wonder? It should be reported by National if not World Wide press.

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