QUAERITUR: Celiac, Communion and the Extraordinary Form

From a reader:

I have just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease-gluten/wheat intolerance. What does a person do at Holy Communion in the EF? I normally attend the reverent NO Masses in my area, but when I attend my Third Order Chapter meetings, the Mass is a gorgeous hybrid of both forms of the Mass. The parishioners and Chapter members receive at an altar rail. The Precious Blood is not offered. If the EF were to make a strong come back in the future, what would happen to Catholics with gluten problems? This is very hard for me, as I have a deep devotion to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and I’ve been a scheduled adorer at our parish for 10 years. I’m 53 now, and while I’m trusting in God, I’ve been receiving in tears. May I ask for prayers for my return to health? Thank you Father, and fellow readers for your patience.

This is not a problem in the EF. Talk to the priest, explain the situation and ask to receive by the Precious Blood. In the Ordinary Form or the Extraordinary Form it should be possible to help you.

That “hybrid” of the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form is not permitted. The two Forms are not to be mixed.

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Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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61 Responses to QUAERITUR: Celiac, Communion and the Extraordinary Form

  1. mamajen says:

    There are celiacs at my church who receive a special very low gluten host (the kind allowed by the Catholic Church). They’ve made arrangements with the priest and receive after everyone else. They’ve been doing this for over a year, so apparently the host is safe for them and there isn’t enough cross-contamination to speak of. That may be another option depending on this person’s level of sensitivity to gluten. I know some people are extremely allergic.

  2. DocJim says:

    Rice flour wafers are made for this purpose. [NO! Absolutely NO! Rice wafers would be INVALID matter. They cannot be used. Ever. Period.] I suggest to people with coeliac disease that they buy the rice wafers and take them to the priest with an explanation. The priest places 1-2 in ciborum with the others and remembers the face of the parishioner with the coeliac disease.
    (As a medical student 50 years ago, we were regaled by the story of the hospitalized patient who resisted improvement with diet therapy. When docs realized he had a daily communion wafer with wheat flour, they stopped it for a few days and his diarrhea remitted. The point was the very small amount of wheat flour that could cause trouble with gluten sensitivity.)
    My parish has a pizza parlor which runs ads in the weekly parish bulletin and advertises “gluten free” pizza crust.

    [There are low and gluten free hosts. But rice cannot be used. Only wheat hosts are valid matter.]

  3. mamajen says:

    @DocJim

    Unfortunately the rice wafers are not allowed to be used in a Catholic mass–they must be wheat based. There has been a wheat based wafer developed by nuns with a minuscule amount of gluten (0.01%) that doesn’t present a problem for most people.

  4. RomanticTradition says:

    I believe I know what Third Order Chapter she belongs too: It’s the Alliance of the Two Hearts! I think by hybrid, I don’t think it means what we automatically assume. From my experience with them, they do mingle some little things into the Novus but not horrendously.
    They say the Novus in Latin, all servers wear gloves, cassocks, surplices, ect., and they give communion at the rail but I notice they DO NOT say the Latin “Corpus Christi” but something around “Corpus Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam.” I found that strange. Another thing is that they do not like omitting the penitential act, but love holy water, so they just do the apserges DURING the procession. Okay, I’m done. ;)

  5. jesusthroughmary says:

    I wonder if the reader quoted in Father’s post thinks that the Mass is a “hybrid” because, for example, Latin is used and communion is administered at the rail, or because the proper Gregorian chants are sung where the reader expects hymns or a responsorial psalm. It seems to me that it’s more likely that the Mass is a licit Novus Ordo Mass that employs options so rarely seen at the NO that people wrongly assume they are forbidden.

  6. Elizabeth D says:

    Wheat-free wafers cannot be validly consecrated and must never be used. They do not become the Body of Christ, so to worship them as the Eucharist would be sacreligious. Very low gluten hosts that are valid to use are made by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration http://www.altarbreadsbspa.com/lowgluten.php .

  7. Michael_Thoma says:

    Here’s a canonical question for all you armchair Canon Lawyers out there:

    Can the Most Precious Blood be received/given on a rice flour wafer? Of course the priest must make it clear that only the MPB is being received and not the MHB. I think stating “the Blood of Christ” on an intincted rice wafer would eliminate any concern.

    Any thoughts? Is this possible, allowed, forbidden, sacrilege? [No. This should not be done. There is no reason why it ought to be done, either.]

  8. Yes, stay away from those rice hosts. Here is the website of the Benedictine sisters who make Church-approved hosts with very very low gluten content. http://www.altarbreadsbspa.com/lowgluten.php

    Common procedure is for the priest to have low-gluten hosts on the altar in a separate pyx to avoid contamination. I’ve been receiving them for years with no adverse reactions. And of course, adoration time is always allergen free ;-) The key is to get to know your priests so they know you and how to help you. There is no reason for medical/dietary issues to keep people away from Our Lord in the Eucharist.

  9. Konrad says:

    Regarding the mentioned “hybrid” form of the Mass, I believe it wasn’t a real hybrid, just the NOM with all the options conformint to the traditional form (e.g.: extensive use of Latin, Roman Canon, Ad orientem, no introductions, greetings, etc). I once attended a Mass where the priest wanted to show us, to which extent the TLM can be mimicked by the NOM without doing the “Mixing of Rites”-thing. It was impressive, one really had to look very close to note the differences. The most notable difference was the half-loud canon.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    We had this discussion on rice hosts before and these are not valid or legal. Perhaps people can check the tags under Father’s posts and look at other links.

  11. B Knotts says:

    At the church I attend, we receive (in the OF) at the altar rail. There are a small number of people affected by celiac disease, who receive the Precious Blood afterwards.

  12. monmir says:

    Only hosts with very low gluten are allowed. I know a person with coeliac disease, she brings the host in a pix, place it on the altar at NO Mass (the priests know her-this is a daily routine) she receives among the first communicants -I supposed the time to receive is what is easier for the priest first or last-, at EF Mass she gives the pix to the priest before Mass, it is purified after Mass.
    Of course it is a little more complicated, but it works well.

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030724_pane-senza-glutine_en.html

  13. notenoughflair says:

    At our FSSP parish, the priest has a second, small chalice that is used for the precious blood for those who are diagnosed with celiac disease. (You can see a small chalice in this picture of an altar during Mass, on the right of the ciborium). Instead of saying “Corpus Domini Nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam, Amen”, the priest says “Sanguis Domini Nostri Iesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam, Amen” and then offers the blood to the communicants at the rail.

  14. knittypig says:

    Hi Fr. Z, thanks so very much for your kind reply, even making it a blog topic today! And thanks to your contributors for their input. I will email our Third Order Prior (head of our Chapter), and ask about how I would proceed with talking to the priest before Mass starts.
    And I’m sorry I used the word “hybrid” to describe the Mass I go to with our monthly meetings. It is held at a very, very solid Catholic College. The Masses have all the prayers in Latin, and most of the time the choir sounds like they are singing Gregorian Chants and the words are in Latin. Plus, the communicants receive at an altar rail. The Readings and Gospel are in English. I can’t remember if the Eucharistic Prayers are in Latin or not.
    Thanks, again, Father for all your help. This is a difficult problem. But it’s an opportunity to live my Faith in deeper trust in God. Beneficial witness for the Grandkids, too!

  15. cblanch says:

    Dear Knitty, I will pray for you. I’m in the same boat and know how difficult it is. It’s so nice to read the posts here from others saying how their parishes accomodate this need! In my experience, the priests have been helpful, but the parish secretaries and EMHC’s are the ones who question or give you the strange looks. Hard to believe, I know.

    I try not to worry about the Precious Blood not being offered in the future. I think as time goes on more and more people will be diagnosed with this, unfortunately. And besides, the Lord always provides! :)

  16. Joseph-Mary says:

    We also have the extremely low gluten hosts available. The amount of gluten is miniscule. Father requests that those with gluten intolerance just make it known before Mass and those hosts will be available.

  17. Tessa says:

    I understand and appreciate the need to use only wheat for communion hosts, and that even that miniscule amount of gluten makes the wheat acceptable. What I don’t understand is how modern wheat, which has been so hybridized and genetically modified with DNA from several grains, even with animal DNA, is considered acceptable. I’ve read that modern wheat contains 42 chromosomes, while ancient wheat, such as Einkorn has only 14. If hosts should be made of only wheat and water, shouldn’t the wheat be purely wheat? Just wondering.

  18. Maynardus says:

    A second, smaller, chalice is also used at the Extraordinary Form Masses at Holy Name of Jesus in Providence. There are at least two individuals who cannot tolerate even the slightest bit of gluten and this solution has worked very well and with a minimum of fuss.

    It is my understanding that even back in the dark pre-Conciliar days this was possible in cases of necessity. I have heard anecdotally of this being done in the Archdiocese of Boston in the 50′s…

  19. Urget_nos says:

    Thank you Fr Z for posting about this important topic. At OF Mass my wife receives from the chalice. At EF Masses, because the Particle is comingled with the Preciuos Blood in the priest’s chalice after the consecration, that is not an option. The local priest consecrates a gluten free host for her in a pyx, my wife recieves Communion as the last person in the church, father prays “Coprus Domini nostri…” hands her the pyx, then she opens the pyx and places Jesus in her mouth. Doing this avoids cross contamination from Particles present on the priest’s fingers.

  20. qowieury says:

    The hybrid of the Mass is valid though. It is an OF Mass which is done like the EF. The good thing about the flexibility of the OF is that it can be done almost like an EF, not from the perspective of a liturgist or a person with a devotion to the EF; they would point out the 1000 differences, but from the perspective of the average person.

    This hybrid is exactly what is most desirable. This is why the future of the Mass is the OF. The presence of the EF will pull the OF back toward tradition, while retaining the best of the reform: vernacular readings and propers, people’s participation in the Gloria, Creed, etc., flexibility to accommodate different situations (within reason) such as reception under both forms sometimes and Mass with a deacon but without a choir.

  21. Tina in Ashburn says:

    The unofficial term ‘hybrid Mass’ needs clarification. Obviously the two Forms, OF and EF, cannot be mixed such as substituting the Canons from one Form to the other, or including the full Epiklesis missing in the OF, or adding the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar to the OF. I have never even seen such a Mass or heard if anybody would do such a thing.

    I have used that term too and got a bad reaction. I guess because the term is misunderstood, maybe we shouldn’t use it LOL.

    The OF Mass that uses all the best possible options available and as much Latin as possible, as much reverence as possible – such as kneeling for Communion at a rail, Latin chant, excellent polyphony, no shenanigans, and by the book – is what I think of as a hybrid Mass. These Masses are extremely reverent and are usually celebrated by very conscientious priests who want to do the best that they can. Most are priests who have no chance of learning the EF, or perhaps are EF-saying priests who want to make the best of the OF when in the OF circumstances.

    This is how many people here in our Diocese got ‘prepped’ for attending the EF Mass that has blossomed in parishes here. Years ago a priest or two regularly did extraordinarily beautiful Masses – I learned chant because of these Masses, polyphony, re-learned prayers in Latin that I once knew, re-learned reverence of the Sacraments, etc. Quite a few attending youth later became priests who now say the EF today. These Masses have their place when in circumstances that don’t allow the EF. For me today, the EF is my preferred Mass, but back then, the NO was the only option without a trip into DC.

    Adding to the confusion of the term ‘hybrid Mass’ is ignorance on what exactly is allowed or forbidden at the OF. Some actions that are thought to be forbidden are not. We can borrow many things from Tradition and what was common and accepted practice but what the long list of details would be, who knows?

  22. APX says:

    Even the low gluten hosts are still cautioned to not use them because, even though they don’t (usually) cause a noticeable reaction, they still damage the intestines.

    Then there are those are so sensitive to gluten, even the smallest amount of gluten makes them violently ill. I had a roommate like this. We had to be scrupulous with crumbs left on the counter because the tiniest crumb made her very sick.

    Back home we have a priest whom only receives communion under the Precious Blood and has to leave out the fraction rite when he celebrates Mass because of developing celiacs over the years.

  23. qowieury says:

    @Urget_nos, I have often wondered about this level of caution. Since I do not suffer from the disease, I am in no position to know, but it amazes me that if the priest were to touch the host, that could be a problem. Gluten forms a small portion of bread and the “bread” (speaking merely of accidents) that is present on his fingers would be so minuscule, particularly after checking that there are no visible particles, that the amount of gluten that would be very insignificant.

    I see, with a little quick research, that 50 milligrams of gluten has been shown to be safe for people with celiac disease. An entire Communion host has perhaps 500 mg of gluten. How could the priest, having eliminated visible crumbs, have more than 10mg of gluten on his fingers in the extreme? And most of that would not transfer to the low-gluten host.

    Even receiving from the cup, presuming 50ml of liquid, which would be a smaller than normal amount, and that she would receive a small sip, 10ml. and that the piece of the host added to the chalice constituted a piece 1/10 the size of a Communion host (people’s, not priest’s) which would be normal, she is consuming 1/5 of 1/10 of 500mg if the host had completely dissolved in the chalice, which it never does. In other words, receiving from a conmingled chalice would mean less than 10mg at the absolute worst case. In reality, much of the gluten would stay in the piece of the host.

    So I suppose that my question is, did she try receiving from the priest and had a problem? Or are the consequences so serious that she feels the need to take every precaution? I ask this in the pastoral interest of those whom I serve with the same disease. I often feel that the gluten precautions around Communion are excessive and do not balance the need for respect with the need to be cautious, but I am also aware that without personal experience, I am merely speculating, so I am very interested in what her experience has been.

  24. Banjo pickin girl says:

    Tessa, Many plants as they naturally hybridize become tetraploid, etc. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It can increase disease resistance for one thing. It may be that einkorn is useful for people with celiac disease but it hasn’t been recommended, probably because of conservatism in the medical field, gluten is gluten.

  25. qowieury says:

    @APX See, that is what I am talking about. There is a world of difference between bread crumbs and “Even the tiniest”. Bread crumbs might have 10mg. Low-gluten hosts have less than 0.5mg Also, it sounds like those Masses are invalid.

    @Tina I think that the prayers at the foot of the altar are one part that can be added. Nothing in the Ordinary Form prevents the priest from saying prayers. It may annoy some, but almost anytime, except in the middle of another prayer, a priest in the OF could easily pray a Hail Mary or a Glory Be or the prayers at the foot of the altar. Indeed, since they are done before the Sign of the Cross, he is particularly free to do so.

    The real question is whether they form a valid part of tradition or an unnecessary addition. The idea of removing them was to have the priest say them in the sacristy before walking up, but this is rarely done. That a priest should pray before Mass in without question. That he should lead the servers in prayer seems right. But must these prayers be said literally at the foot of the altar? Would they not be more appropriate at the back of Church before the procession, before he even begins to go up to the Altar of God? These are the questions that must be organically answered over the next century or so, and the flexibility of the OF allows for various options to be tried and given the test of time. I think that the current situation where the priest spends the last minute before the procession in the gathering space, chatting, cannot last.

  26. Sixupman says:

    Is there any record of anyone suffering from a communion host of normal formulae?

  27. qowieury says:

    @sixupman definitely. 200mg per day is enough to cause visible damage to the intestines. A normal Communion host has about 500mg.

  28. The Masked Chicken says:

    We have several celiac inflicted people at the EF and the all receive from the Most Precious Blood. How did the idea of using rice hosts start? Who would be so daring?

  29. The Masked Chicken says:

    If 200 mg per day of gluten is enough to cause problems and the Host contains 500 mg, can some communicants receive just a small portion of the Host? Perhaps the measuring of how small is small would be a problem, however.

  30. Doug says:

    I see comments here about rice or other non-wheat wafers. Example:
    “Elizabeth D says: 15 August 2012 at 8:50 am Wheat-free wafers cannot be validly consecrated and must never be used. They do not become the Body of Christ, so to worship them as the Eucharist would be sacreligious. Very low gluten hosts that are valid to use are made by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.”
    “they do not become the Body of Christ” Why not? If the ‘miraculous process’ can change one God-given cereal into a person, why can’t it with another? Is God’s power limited?

  31. qowieury says:

    @The Masked Chicken 200mg causes problems, so 50mg a day is considered safe, but there is technically gluten in everything, so they could not receive the whole 50mg at once. They need some room for the rest of the day. Low-gluten hosts have about 0.5mg. so 1/1000 of a normal host would be the same. This would be a very small crumb. But, yes, it would seem that if they wanted to receive, since Christ is fully present in every visible crumb, that this might be a possibility. But the low-gluten hosts we are talking about are wheat, not rice, so they are a better solution.

  32. mamajen says:

    @Doug

    No, of course God’s power is not limited. What an insulting thing to even say. He instructed us to use bread and wine. Gluten is what enables flour to bind together and make bread without other agents (apart from water) being added. Rice and most other “cereals” cannot do that. If we can redefine the bread requirement, then why must we follow Jesus’ other teachings?

  33. mamajen says:

    @Sixupman

    Yes. In fact, some celiac sufferers cannot even tolerate the very low gluten hosts. It is a real thing. Some people cannot even use cosmetics or toiletry products that contain gluten, even though they do not consume them.

  34. Giuseppe says:

    @mamajen and @Doug

    re. gluten-free bread. It is possible to make bread without gluten. I once had a delicious bread that used flaxseed as the protein source.

    re. what’s a valid host or not has less to do with gluten and more to do with wheat. As noted above, it’s impossible to have completely gluten-free wheat. Thus, all hosts will have some gluten.

    Touching story – I knew a woman who was a celiac and an alcoholic. She attended mass celebrated by a priest she knew from AA, as he told her his chalice has one drop of wine and the rest was water. She was nourished by His precious blood.

  35. mamajen says:

    Here’s a list of ingredients in rice “communion wafers”:

    Filtered Water, Sweet Rice Flour, Potato Flour, Palm Oil, Potato Starch, Methylcellulose, Sunflower Lecithin, Ener-G Baking Powder (sodium pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, potato starch, monocalcium phosphate).

    (I think that baking powder violates the requirement for unleavened bread that we have in the Western church).

    Here’s a list of ingredients in standard communion hosts:

    Wheat Flour, Water

    Here’s a list of ingredients in the low-gluten hosts:

    Wheat Starch, Water

    Very striking difference between rice “hosts” and permissible hosts.

  36. wmeyer says:

    “Very striking difference between rice “hosts” and permissible hosts.”

    Yeah, everything but water and (presumably) the shape.

  37. oakdiocesegirl says:

    OK, I never thought about this before I read this post, but-do you really expect us to believe that Jesuit missionaries in China like Matteo Ricci always used wheat hosts?? That goes for all of Catholic practices in the Far East: Japan, Korea, Indo-China. Where the staple grain is not wheat, but rice, I would have thought there would be a dispensation, out of pure necessity. Please tell us if you know, Fr. Z!

  38. mamajen says:

    @Giuseppe

    I concede that my earlier comment was a little bit off base, and you’re right. It’s definitely the wheat that is key, not the gluten. There are a few other grains that contain gluten, but aren’t permissible substitutes. And, yes, there are grains that bind together without gluten. There are plenty of examples in the Bible of the Jews being instructed to eat very specific things, so I guess we really needn’t ask why or try to find a technical reason for the wheat. “Because He said so” should suffice.

  39. eulogos says:

    Because the Church says so should suffice, as the Church is entrusted by Christ with bringing to us both His truth and His eucharistic Body.

    Wheat is grown in northern China. I am sure that one way or another, Matteo Ricci used wheat wafers.

    A really sad story is that of the settlement in Greenland as the climate changed during the “Little Ice Ace” and at the same time, the plague in Europe disrupted society to the point that the little colony in Greenland was forgotten. Wheat and wine could not be grown there. When no more ships came, they simulated a eucharist with seaweed wafers and water. Then their bishop died, and later their last priest. A more poignant image of abandonment could not be imagined than those seaweed wafers. The remains of the church in which this happened can still be seen. The story is told in a book called “Greenlanders.”
    Susan Peterson

  40. Suburbanbanshee says:

    When missionary priests go to other countries where wheat and grapes are unknown, they bring wheat and grapes there to grow, using supplies brought with them until they can use their own. This is one reason why parish churches in Europe and elsewhere traditionally owned some farmland. (You may have heard it called God’s Acre, etc.)

    One striking example was in a TV show about a remote Himalayan village where the villagers were Catholics, but no missionary priests had been sent to them after China expelled them fifty years ago or so. The priests had been French guys, and their vineyard and wheat field were still there, albeit growing wild. One of the villagers had recently taken up making secular wine from the abandoned vineyard, which he was tending and setting to rights.

  41. Darren says:

    Re: mamajen: There are celiacs at my church who receive a special very low gluten host (the kind allowed by the Catholic Church). They’ve made arrangements with the priest and receive after everyone else. They’ve been doing this for over a year, so apparently the host is safe for them and there isn’t enough cross-contamination to speak of. That may be another option depending on this person’s level of sensitivity to gluten. I know some people are extremely allergic.

    We have the same at my parish. When this started our pastor explained it after mass one week and in the bulletin. He said they were made by a group of nuns (I forget who, I doubt they ride around on a bus). They are under strict church supervision.

    There is no substitution for wheat. Period.

  42. APX says:

    @Giuseppe

    I knew a woman who was a celiac and an alcoholic. She attended mass celebrated by a priest she knew from AA, as he told her his chalice has one drop of wine and the rest was water. She was nourished by His precious blood.

    It sounds more like she was nourished by wine-flavoured water. I don’t see how that could be valid matter. The priest is only supposed to add a drop of water to a chalice of wine. To add more water than wine would be more along the lines of wine-flavoured water. This is why water is supposed to be added to the Most Precious Blood if for some reason it must be poured down the sacrarium. By adding more water, it changes the substance and no longer is the most Precious Blood.

  43. Doug says:

    @mamajen
    “Is God’s power limited?” is what I asked, not what I ‘said’. A difference, I think- unless questions raised by posts aren’t allowed. You aren’t a member of a cult, are you? (Just asking. Cults don’t like to be questioned.)
    Back to rational discussion: RCC teaching is that Jesus/God is present actually and really in the wine and bread. If worshipful Catholics are gathered to celebrate the Mass, and a practical way is found around celiac disease, why does it seem [to an outsider] that Jesus/God isn’t able to make allowances? Also, where does the wheat requirement come from? Flatbread and unadulterated wine, yes, but why the restriction that seems so pharisaical?
    “If we can redefine the bread requirement, then why must we follow Jesus’ other teachings?” Jesus’ “other teachings” were based on scripture and love. I don’t see how this redefines the requirement for “bread”, which is made many ways in many cultures.
    If answering questions makes you uncomfortable, just ignore this and perhaps a more qualified Catholic will pick it up. (1 Peter 3:15,16)

  44. qowieury says:

    The question of whether other grains such as rice could be used came up because of the missionaries to China, etc. It was thought about and decided that the wine had to be made of grapes and the bread had to be made of wheat. Other wines and other breads could not be permitted. The reason is that all the sacraments must be done in the way they were done by Jesus.

    However, this is obviously a limited reason. We use both red and white wine. We use both leavened and unleavened bread. The wheat used today is different from the wheat used 2000 years ago due to cross-breeding etc. Communion wafers are very little like bread as it is. So where does the line get drawn? That is a difficult question, but we do know where the line has been drawn. The bread must be made from wheat and the wine must be made from grapes. Fr. Marquette did not celebrate Mass for 10 years because he had no access to grapes.

    The “Is God’s power limited?” question is always dangerous. It can be used to contradict anything. God’s power is not limited, but we do not control it ourselves. We can at best predict where it will be directed based on what he has told us. There must be some restriction on what Communion hosts can be made of. Pizza and Pepsi are not valid matter. Wood and whiskey are not valid matter. It is not that God could not do it, but that he does not do it. Why? You would have to ask him. So we are back to where do we draw the line? The answer is we do not. The Church does. I might have okayed rice bread back in the day. That does not matter. The line is drawn.

  45. Benjamin says:

    I didn’t quite understand the problem. The reader did not said that he or she cannot even tolerate the very low gluten hosts, which are completely lawful to be used for Holy Communion in NO or EF. Perhaps he/she or his/her pastor have not heard about them?

  46. Father P says:

    This is where Father Z’s “mosquito in amber” analogy works best and a case for real “mutal enrichment”. I know of an EF priest who refuses to use low-gluten host or give from the Chalice to celiac sufferers because there is no provision in the 1962 Missal for these things. (His “pastoral” response BTW is “no sacrifice is too great to receive Communion” so they should just receive a regular Host and offer up the consequences).

    Mutual enrichment should be more than just about readings and prefaces and offertory prayers. Personally, I have found “de defectibus” from the EF Missal is a great aid to answer some practical questions for the OF so there are some practical considerations that have emerged since the 1960′s which current counsel from the Holy See can inform the EF.

    As to the use of other matter for the Sacraments. This is the scandal of particularity. The answer to the popular question “What would Jesus do?” is “Jesus does what Jesus DID”. Its not that God CAN’T its that God DIDN’T. The Sacraments connect us to particular historical moments. The reason why there needs to be proper “matter” is because the “matter” connects us to the historical event being sacramentally re-presented.

  47. Legisperitus says:

    Just one more thought about rice … if rice hosts, why not women priests? It’s the same issue of valid matter for the Sacrament.

  48. Legisperitus says:

    Second part of that thought: It’s not a question of what God has or doesn’t have the power to do, but of what He has or hasn’t given the Church power to do.

  49. MangiaMamma says:

    My 23 year old daughter has been diagnosed with celiac for 3 1/2 years. My family (husband & four young adult children) converted to The Church a year ago while I came back the previous August.
    The only thing that has gluten in it that does not upset my daughter’s digestive system is the host. Before receiving her first communion at last year’s Easter Vigil, I asked if she was concerned. She said, “No. Why should I be? It is the Body of Christ that I will be receiving.”
    I realize not everyone may have this experience, but I am always amazed and grateful for the Supernatural Graces poured out upon my family since coming Home!!

  50. APX says:

    @Father P
    (His “pastoral” response BTW is “no sacrifice is too great to receive Communion” so they should just receive a regular Host and offer up the consequences).

    May they offer up the consequences in Father’s sacristy washroom. Seriously, that is an ignorant pastoral approach to celiacs disease. Having been the fortunate soul who shared a bathroom my roommate who had a severe case of celiacs, I think that priest needs to educate himself on the consequences of consuming gluten when one has celiacs disease.

  51. Benjamin says:

    Here is the letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith “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”, signed by the then prefect Cardinal Ratzinger (dated 19 June, 1995; Prot. N. 89/78):

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19950619_pane-senza-glutine_en.html

  52. jesusthroughmary says:

    I find it very difficult to accept that there is a person out there who would not be able to tolerate either a particle of a low-gluten Host that is a quarter the size of a fingernail, or even a drop or two of the Precious Blood. When somebody says they can’t tolerate it without even attempting it, it seems to me that person is just trying to trap the Church in a “GOTCHA!” moment, so that they’re the bad guy either way.

  53. Doug says:

    @qowieury: A very good reply- because it’s understandable and useful. :-)
    “It was thought about and decided that the wine had to be made of grapes and the bread had to be made of wheat.” Who decided? Is there something in the scriptural accounts of the Last Super that mandate wheat bread? Others here have mentioned that each culture has its “bread”, made of almost any cereal. I don’t recall that the Jews were told ‘thou shalt not make thy bread from rice’, although they were given 600-some laws in the Law, many food-related.
    “The “Is God’s power limited?” question is always dangerous.” Well, it can be used snidely, which is not what I intended. (BTW I believe God’s power to do what he wants is certainly NOT limited. E.g. he has better things to do with his time than settle the Scholastic Question, so he doesn’t want to waste it rounding up angels for a pin dance.) To a non-Catholic it’s just astonishing that anyone would invent [as we see it] a doctrine that changes a piece of bread into a living human being who is also Almighty God. But if God is doing that, why can’t he solve the gluten problem? That is unneccesarily limiting himself, to the detriment of sincere worshipers. A God who “is love”? Really? “It is not that God could not do it, but that he does not do it. Why? You would have to ask him.” Well, I’ve been taught that He gave us many answers ahead of time, in the Bible, and I find none there on ‘mandatory wheat’.
    As to scriptural doctrine, I notice you write “However, this is obviously a limited reason. … We use both leavened and unleavened bread.” Are you saying that leavened bread is used in the Mass? I read that unleavened bread is to be used at Mass, communion, or whatever, first because it was specified at the first Passover, which was the standard for Jesus, and second because it symbolizes sinlessness to Christians. (“Christ our Passover”, said the religious lawyer Paul.)

  54. jesusthroughmary says:

    Doug – If you adhere to sola scriptura, it would be better to just come out and admit it, because it changes the parameters of this discussion.

    To the Church alone has been given the care of the sacraments and the power to administer them. The Church has decreed from the earliest times that, following the example of the Lord and the command to do THIS in memory of Him, and consistent with the manifold images in the Scriptures to wheat and bread as a source of life, that only wheat bread may be used in the Eucharist. The Church does not claim the authority to violate what She sees as a direct command of the Lord, but she does rightly claim that She alone has the authority to declare what Christ and the Apostles actually taught.

  55. qowieury says:

    Who decided? The Pope and those people he has appointed. Today it would be the CDW. I am not sure what the office was in the 15000′s.

    Is there something in the scriptural accounts of the Last Super that mandate wheat bread? No. But it was wheat bread. That is without question.

    Others here have mentioned that each culture has its “bread”, made of almost any cereal. I don’t recall that the Jews were told ‘thou shalt not make thy bread from rice’, although they were given 600-some laws in the Law, many food-related. No. Barley bread was very popular and probably more common among the poor than wheat bread.

    “The “Is God’s power limited?” question is always dangerous.” Well, it can be used snidely, which is not what I intended. I presumed no ill will. The problem is that the question is usually asked by someone who wants to direct God’s power toward their own purpose. We do not control God. If he is not doing something, it is not because he is weak. It is because he does not do it. Why not? I would never claim to know.

    To a non-Catholic it’s just astonishing that anyone would invent [as we see it] a doctrine that changes a piece of bread into a living human being who is also Almighty God. But if God is doing that, why can’t he solve the gluten problem? Again, he did what he did. He also does solve the gluten problem with low-gluten hosts made by humans with intellect given by him. Also with the second species of Eucharist in the cup of wine. Rice is not necessary. Nothing is lacking.

    That is unneccesarily limiting himself, to the detriment of sincere worshipers. But it is not to the detriment. As I say above, options do exist.

    Well, I’ve been taught that He gave us many answers ahead of time, in the Bible, and I find none there on ‘mandatory wheat’. Only that wheat bread was actually used. There is no rule that says no milk for baptism, but since milk was not actually used, it cannot be used.

    As to scriptural doctrine, I notice you write “However, this is obviously a limited reason. … We use both leavened and unleavened bread.” Are you saying that leavened bread is used in the Mass? I read that unleavened bread is to be used at Mass The Latin Church follows Matthew, Mark, and Luke and uses unleavened bread. The Greek Church follows John and uses leavened bread. Either is valid species, but it is illicit for a member of one Church to use the kind that is not traditional for them. So a Latin priest could consecrate Wonder Bread, and in very serious circumstances that would be fine, but in general should not, just as a Greek priest should not, in general, consecrate Communion hosts.

    To sum up my main point earlier: If I were on the CDW in 1500 when the question arose, I might have said that rice bread would be fine. I think the strongest argument against it is that rice bread and corn bread is not very much like bread at all. Only modern chemicals have the power to make other grains imitate bread. But if another grain was produced that could create a passable imitation of bread I probably would accept it. But I was not on the CDW in 1500, and those who were tell me that the use of wheat bread by Jesus makes it necessary for us to use only wheat bread.

  56. Tina in Ashburn says:

    qowieury: Thanks for the interesting information. Who knew? Like I said, I’d love to see a list of how the OF can be enriched by what went before. But to keep it simple, I’d just like to see the EF everywhere. :-)

    @Doug: I recognize your question as rhetorical. Of course God is never limited. Put simply, the matter of bread’s content is a discipline of the Church, just as the grape juice for consecration must have some fermentation to be valid, so is wheat a requirement for the host.
    Matter matters. We must have water for baptism. Oil for Holy Orders and Confirmation. These are disciplines of the Church which have been observed since Christ. There are many other examples such as the words of baptism must include the Trinity: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Without specific disciplines, the Church would be chaos, as each individual would crazily make up whatever he wanted [the Church does not tolerate individual inspiration in these cases, a concept promoted at the Reformation]. There are words and intentions for all kinds of blessings, actions, devotions that have been formed by the Church and developed into disciplines. For instance, an exorcism must be done a certain way and always and only with a mandate from the bishop [else all hell can truly break loose]…how many examples do you want? LOL.
    The root argument is this: God made us, He is our creator. God wants us to love Him back. In order to return His love, we must know Him. Therefore, our Creator God reveals Himself to us. One of the ways is telling us how He wants to be worshiped. You can find a zillion instances throughout Scripture describing what He wants. Take a look at how He wanted the Arc of the Covenant. Or how Abel’s smoke arose, while Cain’s smoke fell to the ground. Starting from Genesis, we read constantly these examples of what pleases or displeases God. uhm…idols? NO! and so on.
    Then fast forward to Christ. Christ did not leave us orphans but founded the Church, leaving us Peter and the Apostles/bishops, to continue to guide us and interpret revelation. “what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven, what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven” If you believe that Christ founded the Catholic Church, then you must also follow her teachings and disciplines.

    God reveals Himself to us through the Church – and even to the details of what form and matter we are to use in the Sacrifice of the Mass, which Jesus Christ instituted, and the Church follows, and in turn reveals to us. So yup, a host is wheat and water. That’s it. [in the Eastern Rite, leavening is allowed - but it is still wheat only].

    Getting back to the gluten issue – i wonder if the old grains, the precursors to wheat can be used as matter for hosts – many celiacs don’t have aversions to these ‘older’ grains and they are a form of wheat as I understand them…?
    Another possibility is that most wheat is bromated – some can tolerate non-bromated wheat much better. Bromides are really bad for us but it makes a lighter bread so this type is used widely in modern flours.

  57. Doug says:

    @Tina: “If you believe that Christ founded the Catholic Church, then you must also follow her teachings and disciplines.” Ah, well, you see I don’t so believe; not a Catholic. I believe in Jesus as a historical person and as the Son of God and as Savior. But, as I said above, I don’t see him specifying “wheat” at Passover, just using the “unleavened bread” left over from the Passover meal. (Ex 13:7) The Egyptians were indeed known for their large wheat fields, but barley and other grains were also present. In any case, no specification by God. So, I could use some scriptural backing for your statement, “… disciplines of the Church which have been observed since Christ“.
    ‘the words of baptism must include the Trinity: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”’ I’ve often been given that as an expression of the Trinity, but I read it as a command, not a statement of doctrine or dogma. “Go, teach …”, and no mention of “Trinity”; not that word anywhere in scripture in fact. What I do notice is this: ‘Baptize in the name of Father, Son, Holy Ghost.’ One name? What is it? Jesus and Jehovah are two. No name for HS. Three names? Jesus and Jehovah are two. No name for HS. The wrong number of names for dogma but just enough for scripture. Trinity, of course, is another topic, but our tie to wheat/celiac is: where is it specified by name? In the churches, certainly- most have Trinitarian creeds- but as most scholars agree the doctrine itself was “hammered out” by men over the centuries. The only explicit statement of it is at 1 John 5:7,8 in some Bibles, including your Douay: “… the spirit and the water and the blood. And these three are one.” Is that what you meant by the basis for a “discipline of the Church”?
    I agree with one statement, as does Jesus: “God wants us to love Him back. In order to return His love, we must know Him.” John 17:3: “Now this is eternal life: That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
    And my first post perhaps was a clumsy way of pointing out that a creator God of love would certainly anticipate celiac problems (from Adamic sin, remember) and would hardly lock in the faithful to a problem so easy to solve.

  58. Doug says:

    @ qowieury “Well, I’ve been taught that He gave us many answers ahead of time, in the Bible, and I find none there on ‘mandatory wheat’. Only that wheat bread was actually used.” And that is in the Last Supper accounts somewhere? What you did give me is, “Who decided? The Pope and those people he has appointed.” … but they weren’t there, were they?
    Is there something in the scriptural accounts of the Last Super that mandate wheat bread? ” No. But it was wheat bread. That is without question. Not being snide, but “without question” can’t be true, because I did ask!

  59. Urget_nos says:

    Hello “qowieury”, thank you for your question. I tried to find a way to contact you outside this thread and don’t see how. So here goes. You are trying to quantify this by incrementing the proportions of this and that. A change of perspective may be helpful here. Celiac isn’t an allergy it is a condition that manifests itself by damaging the cilia of the intestines. The domino effects of the damage to a person’s overall system can be tremendous and the relative sensitivity can be impacted by recent ‘failures’. Example 1: soy sauce has wheat in it. A small amount of soy sauce inadvertently included in food prepared by someone else is enough to cause a failure for some people. Example 2: these days there are numerous restaurants with gluten free menus available along side regular menus. We have learned by experience that half the time we try to eat in such a place my wife will have a ‘failure’ likely due to cross contamination from her food having contact with the preparation surface a gluten-full food (chicken cooked on a grill that is also used to brown a hamburger bun). Among the saddest of the domino effects of the body struggling against itself due to gluten is miscarriage. Yes, it matter alot. Pax tecum.

  60. jesusthroughmary says:

    Doug –

    This is a fruitless debate. Either you accept that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ or you do not. There is no sense in trying to get you to accept the conclusion if you reject the premise. Likewise, your arguments based on the assumption of sola scriptura are not convincing nor impressive to a Catholic.

  61. ALL: Here is the deal. The default position that Catholics must accept is that only wheat bread can be validly consecrated. Not “licitly”… “validly”.

    That’s it. Period.

    This rabbit hole is closed.