Wheatless Hosts… Noooooooooooo.

Holy Church’s Canon Law closely follows Holy Church’s infallible teaching when it comes to discipline of the sacraments.

The Church’s doctrine holds that valid matter for the Eucharist is a form of bread made from wheat.  In the Latin Church this means a wheaten bread, unleavened, without additives.

Several centuries ago, when Jesuits were experimenting with inculturation in Eastern Asia. it was reaffirmed that we cannot use rice cakes or wafers. We must use wheat.

More recently, when we began to understand more about the celiac condition some few people suffer from, we developed extremely low-guten hosts which are still valid matter for the Eucharist.  They are extremely low in gluten, but they are from wheat.  If they were not from wheat, they would not be valid matter.

Recently I learned that a company is peddling hosts which not of wheat, they are bereft of wheat, they are wheatless, there ain’t no wheat in ’em, they are ex-wheat hosts.

Here are the ingredients:

Filtered Water, Sweet Rice Flour, Potato Flour, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Potato Starch, Methylcellulose, Sunflower Lecithin.

Were I to learn that these non-wheat wafers were being used in my parish, for anyone at anytime, I would send a list of the ingredients to the pastor of the parish, with copies to the local bishop and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

It is absolutely imperative that any use of these things be stopped.


Fr. Kirby at Vultus has more on this.  He must have been the source of what I received.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. wmeyer says:

    Appalling. And they sound rather… pasty, besides.

  2. Random Friar says:

    EnerG? Sounds like some kind of exercise food.

  3. NoTambourines says:

    I’m allergic to gluten, but would find no consolation in an invalid sacrament or sham host. Ener-G makes some great gluten-free products, but no thanks on the “communion” wafers. On the other hand, I wonder how they go with guacamole?

    Seriously, though, the USCCB has put out a very generous statement on celiac disease and food allergies:


    As the statement notes valid reduced-gluten wheat hosts, and my parish has enough celiacs and gluten-sensitive people that it has started offering these. I tolerate these very well (the standard host is enough to kick up symptoms for me).

    I would gratefully welcome any advice from Fr. Z on this topic, particularly in cases where the cup is available (thinking of Item 5 from the USCCB), but reduced-gluten hosts are not.

    Fr. Z, how would you address this in your parish? My parish is pretty laid back (my user name refers to a pet peeve in our musical selections), so I’d welcome the chance to compare and contrast.

  4. NoTambourines says:

    The typing hands are faster than the brain. The one paragraph above should read “As the statement notes, there are valid reduced-gluten wheat hosts.”

  5. dahveed says:

    Hi Father. I’m a celiac, diagnosed four years back. As of then, if it is permitted, I opt for the species under the appearance of wine. If not, I may opt for the Blessed Sacrament under the appearance of bread, or make a spiritual Communion. My regular parish is a small one (~400 souls, all told), and our wonderful priest is older and works quite hard, so I am reluctant to add to his burdens. During the week, I often attend noonday Masses at a church near my employer, in a similar situation. In both cases, if there are more than perhaps another single celiac (outside myself and my kids), I’d be surprised. My symptoms aren’t always so bad. To be honest, I’d rather that any changes were of the let’s-have-an-Extraordinary-Form-Mass type. If I’m going to have celiac-related issues, to be truthful, I can think of no more worthwhile manner to obtain them than this.

  6. acardnal says:

    I’d like to think that these were created NOT for Mass in the Latin Rite Catholic Church but for use in some Protestant communion services.

  7. dominic1955 says:

    Is this company actually selling to Catholics or is this one of those products that is marketed merely as a “communion wafer” for whatever sect does some sort of “Lord’s Supper”? If the later, than it really doesn’t matter because their Communion isn’t valid anyway and they don’t even think in those terms.

    That said, it is unfortunate that these are out there because of people’s ignorance of matter and form. It would not surprise me if any kind of no gluten hosts were used by parishes on account of ignorance or some sloppy reasoning that they are acceptable because Jesus would never turn someone away, etc. Regardless of any issue, nothing can be substituted for wheat in the Host. To my knowledge, the only approved low-gluten Host is made by the Benedictine Sisters out in Clyde, MO.

  8. APX says:

    They’re like a cross between Pringles and those rice crackers. They don’t even look like hosts. I bet they’d go good with chip dip.

  9. gloriainexcelsis says:

    If one has no exerience with the gluten problem, there is little understanding of how serious it can be. Moreover, it is not a problem with “some few” people, Father. It is wide-spread, simply unknown and undiagnosed for too long. I have a daughter who, because of being undiagnosed for years, has suffered organ and nerve damage. With a normal diet, containing wheat, barley, other grains with gluten, these people are not receiving proper nourishment and malabsorption is the result. It can lead to stomach cancer, peripheral neuropathy, damage to other internal organs. My daughter can not take even the low gluten host. We keep a separate margarine tub for her, for instance. A knife with a crumb or two from a piece of bread, used in a family tub of margarine, can lead to diarrhea and illness for a week or more. It is really serious for many people. In the last several years, with more study and knowledge, there are more and more products in the grocery store that carry the gluten-free notation. We have to examine every canned product to see if there is any wheat used, or if a packaged product was produced in a facility that processes wheat, for fear of cross-contamination. Gluten-free breads are usually terrible, some newer ones are becoming tolerable. My daughter substitutes with corn tortillas just to make a sandwich. Many restaurants now have a separate gluten-free menu so that diners can tell which things are prepared without gluten or are prepared on a separate grill. The problem can run in families. A brother-in-law died of stomach cancer, ate healthy foods, produced on his own farm, but suffered for years with stomach problems, undiagnosed. Others in the family are now discovering that they also have gluten intolerance. Our pastor (traditional, FSSP) has said that he can get permission to allow my daughter to receive Holy Communion with wine rather than the host. With some people the problem is not so great, especially if diagnosed soon enough; or they may have a gluten “intolerance” but not a true gluten “allergy.” They may be able to tolerate a small amount of gluten ; and the low gluten host would suffice. Many of the people afflicted with celiac disease, the name for this, are also lactose intolerant and have a problem with dairy products. There are celiac support groups all over now, and websites which keep track of new products available and some that have become unsafe. This is an FYI for other readers of the blog who may not be aware.

  10. frjim4321 says:

    Seems rather elementary that using these host would result in both an illicit and invalid simulation of a sacrament.

    As others have stated, I suspect these are being marketed for other churches.

  11. Supertradmum says:

    Please be careful, as there is a radical, very anti-Rome and anti-USCCB group of Catholics who have been pushing for rice wafers for years. This group claims that Catholics leave the Church because they feel like second-class citizens. They think they can change Canon Law and the Scriptures-heretics.

    I would like to state this. Gluten allergies have grown with the tampering of natural wheat grain strains. Man has created this huge problem of too much gluten in wheat, as insects do not like gluten, either. I am from Iowa, and the largest contributors to the State University of Iowa and Iowa State University Agriculture Departments is Monsanto, the billion-dollar global group, which has changed wheat stocks through-out the world with genetic engineering.

    I had members of two different classes of college students research this and the results were terrifying, discovering that one of the biggest manipulators of nature was basically in control of two of the largest Ag universities in the world.

    While some of the Catholic celiac groups severely criticize the Catholic Church and actually state that Jesus would use rice, they overlook the reality of how these allergies entered our gene pools.

    I have students who have changed the minds and hearts of hundreds of people through their thorough research on the evils of genetic engineering in our food chain, specifically wheat. Again, the God of Mammon is laughing while the Church gets criticized for a lack of understanding. However the Evil One can hit us, he does. Instead of labeling the Church as insensitive or tyrannical, these groups should target the big business of genetic wheat engineering and we should return to the natural, older versions, which took more care and are not conducive to global corporate farming. The older strains were much, much lower in gluten, but did not bring in the big bucks.

  12. frjim4321 says:

    Further I doubt that any churches with valid orders/sacraments would admit to the use of non-wheat hosts.

    I did not mean to imply non-wheat hosts would be valid matter in other churches either.

  13. Samthe44 says:

    My mother has a wheat sensitivity. It is not full-on celiac disease, but wheat gives her stomach problems. For years we thought that she just had a problem with ‘normal’ bread. We were Anglicans, and she could take their fake communion wafer with no problems. However, when she and I became Catholics, she started having reactions to The Host. We think that The Catholic Host is ‘wheat-ier’ than the Anglican fake one. She eventually got around it my asking for a very small Piece of The Host. Though she is able to take the full Host, now, as she has built-up her tolerance.

  14. wmeyer says:

    Supertradmum, I have been convinced for years that we suffer terribly for the knee-jerk legislative reaction which has persisted for decades in the U.S. I have lived in Canada, where I ate cheese made from unpasteurized milk (much nicer than the crud which is labeled cheese here), and purchased barbecued smoked salmon offered on open saucers in an open market. Here we have fat-free this, and enriched that, and allergies as far as the eye can see. N0t to mention the pervasive obesity issues….

  15. Taylor says:

    Oh man. There is a Ziegler’s location in my diocese, just down the street from the cathedral. Maybe I should call them if they haven’t heard already…

  16. JacobWall says:

    I was actually wondering about this issue. I’ve read that according to canon law, which means it’s not optional. This summer, at the same time that I joined the Catholic Church, we realized our son is celiac. Right now, it’s not an issue since he’s only 4, but I’d rather be prepared when the time comes. It’s great to know about the low-gluten hosts!

    However, I think in the parishes my family attends (one in Canada, one in Mexico, our two places of residence) we’d be in a similar situation to Dahveed; our parish in Canada makes his 400 look like a mega-church (speaking of size, not style) – the one in Mexico is huge (maybe 2000?) but celiac is unheard of in those regions. In both cases, there would not enough of celiacs to justify putting the priests or parish staff to a lot of trouble.

    Father, I would also like to know what is reasonable to ask for or do in these cases; is it too much to ask the priest or parish staff to have low-gluten hosts available for one person? Would it be out of place or inappropriate to go out there and find out where these (the low-gluten, NOT the non-wheat) are available and make arrangements to have them delivered to the parish?

    I know when the time comes, my son will be delighted to receive communion – he loves the Church and everything associated with it. I’d like to know what can be done, and what I can do to help.

  17. frjim4321 says:

    The person here with the wheat allergy receives from the cups, and she does not have an adverse reaction.

  18. frjim4321 says:

    cups = cup

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Jacob Wall

    The nuns at Clyde in Missouri used to make low gluten hosts. I knew some of them personally at one time. One could order these and offer them to the priest to use, or ask him if he would use one for your son, if you bought such hosts. I think that is fair. Here is the link and you can contact them. http://www.altarbreadsbspa.com/lowgluten.php

  20. Jerry says:

    The product description on the Zeigler web site contains the following warning in red text:

    This Altar bread is Gluten Free and contains no wheat please consult your local Church institution for acceptability.

    It would be nice if the statement were modified to explicitly warn Catholics that the product is not acceptable.

  21. tzard says:

    Just a point – this product fails primarily in that it has no wheat. But otherwise it’s also adulterated with palm oil, methycellulose, and lecithin.

  22. leonugent2005 says:

    I have a friend who can’t tolerate gluten at all. She refuses to got to an OF mass and the TLM community won’t let her receive from the chalice. She assures me that as a lay woman it’s not important that she receive communion so I don’t think there’s a problem here.

  23. LisaP. says:

    I think it’s important to remember that while wheat allergies and sensitivities can have a huge impact, Celiac is a very specific auto-immune disease where the ingesting of gluten provokes the body to an immune reaction against the villi in the intestines. In other words, when a person comes into contact with gluten the body thinks it has to attack an invader, like a virus, and that results in an important part of the digestive system actually being physically destroyed. It’s not just your grandmother not being able to eat sausage after 4 p.m. or she’ll have bad dreams, it’s a real condition only some people have and it is medically based and can cause extremely serious health issues and result through those in death.

    That said, the push for wheat-free wafers to me is not about wheat or Celiacs. It’s about Catholics not believing that the host is what the host is — if you think of communion as simply a shared meal, then leaving some folks out because they can’t eat wheat is uncharitable. The refusal to believe or ignorance of Catholic theology on what the Eucharist really, really is is at the root of this issue.

    If a person really believed she had a choice between having a spiritual communion while others consumed the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ or eating a rice cake while others consumed the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ, she’d of course prefer the spiritual communion. But if she thinks she’s got to just sit in the pews while everyone else has a shared snack, the rice option looks like it allows her to be included.

    I have had times I could not take the wafer because of wheat issues with a nursing child. It’s sad, but it’s also an opportunity to more deeply understand the sacrifice of the Mass, and the sacrifices we all are called to make in our own lives, including sacrificing the idea that the Eucharist is about me and my inclusion, rather than about Christ and his universal love.

  24. dahveed says:

    with all due respect, the first serious cases of celiac disease were diagnosed in Holland, immediately post WWII. Non-tropical sprue had been noted before, but not in all it’s seriousness. Whether or not GMO-related monkey business has exacerbated the issue is one thing. The issue itself is another story.

    In my family, I am the oldest of four brothers. My next younger brother was diagnosed five years before me, and also suffers from osteoporosis. Of my two other brothers, the youngest is likewise a celiac. Of my five kids, two are thus far diagnosed celiacs. The odds are in favor of the rest turning up as I did, in adulthood. Those are the breaks, regardless of where one places blame for the disease.

    We don’t agree with those who attempt to castigate the Church. Nor will we. They’re wrong. If I were blessed by living more-or-less next door to a parish where the Extraordinary Form was practiced(yes, I’d love that), I would speak with Father about the possibility of obtaining permission for regularly receiving the Blessed Sacrament under the species under the appearance of wine, as I do currently when possible. I wouldn’t dream of asking the Church to change for me. The nuns at Clyde do still make low-gluten hosts, also. I checked their website a few weeks ago, and that is an option. As I’ve said to my wife, if this (celiac disease) is the worst thing ever thrown my way, I am blessed. No medication needed, just a change in diet. And as I said above, if I show symptoms, as a consequence, I can, and will, deal. There are many worse things in life.

  25. Pingback: Beware the Dangers of Gluten-Free Hosts | God and Cheeseburgers

  26. liebemama says:

    We have 3 daughters with celiac disease. We received the diagnosis this last spring right before the First Holy Communion of my 3rd daughter. We found the correct hosts online and ordered 100 plus http://www.hostie.de/index.php?id=7094&BIPID=titnl4je81outl8aqn31fira0u2cnv0l
    and also a brass paten, the kind for transporting Hosts to the sick and homebound. Our Parish already had the Hosts available and we only need our own when traveling. In our experience no Priest has been “burdened” by our children’s extra needs.
    As an adult, you can make the decision for yourself if you receive the full gluten Host or not, but I would not risk it for our children. Give your Priest the information about ordering the correct Hosts or offer to do it for him. We have never received a negative response from a Priest or a Sacristan. The only Mass where it was impossible to arrange for the special Hosts was the Papal Mass in Erfurt Germany, which we really didn’t expect but asked just in case. Our Priests are not burdened by people wanting to receive Our Lord.

  27. Pingback: Beware the Dangers of Gluten-Free Hosts | Jesus, Fount of Mercy

  28. Taylor says:

    Leonugent: Catholics of the Latin Rite are bound and obligated, under the pain of mortal sin, to receive Communion at least once a year in the Eastern season. She has to do it sometime then. Either the TLM parish should budge or she should go to a weekday OF and try to get a sip from the chalice.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    I did not say that the disease started with the genetic engineering, but it has exacerbated it. I stated that the allergies “had grown”, not been created by genetic engineering. There is demonstrability more gluten in the new strains of wheat. There is more celiac disease. (The Greeks knew about the disease and invented the term.) My point was that the modern farming techniques and modern business greed have made the natural antibodies in our bodies have to deal with an usually high amount of gluten in the new hybrids which did not exist before the 1950s. There have always been some people with the allergic reaction. But, just as I have asthma, the first in my family to ever have it, because I have had two reactions to drugs which severely weakened my lungs, some things have been made worse by pollution or manipulation. Our climate of manipulation of plants, animals, and chemicals has been pushed to unhealthy and unnatural extremes because of greed. That the Church gets criticized is part of Satan’s plan, as he is in charge of money and greed, as the god of mammon, called so by the Jews of the Old Testament and Christ Himself.

    I totally sympathize with those who have the disease, just as I understand women who have had cancer, as I have had. But, I am convinced that we have caused more damage to our bodies than not by the manipulation of nature. Just to add to the argument, there is more autism, more new strains of cancer, more new types of auto-immune diseases, etc. and partly because of human involvement in the engineering of nature.

  30. jesusthroughmary says:

    Taylor beat me to it. She has to make her Easter duty. It is sad that for some it truly is a duty.

  31. dominic1955 says:


    However, just like the fasts, this rule can be mitigated by a situation like the one we are discussing. Some people with these sorts of issues cannot even partake of the chalice. Any rule of the Church is mitigated by legitimate extenuating circumstances.

  32. LisaP. says:

    As an aside, many auto-immune diseases have a genetic component, including the Type 1 diabetes my kid has. I read recently about a study where researchers found folks using hormonal contraceptives tend to choose mates differently than those who don’t, because the chemical signals from the body are changed by the hormonal contraceptive. The result may be that a natural ability to “weed out” from the mate pool those who have genetics too close to your own might be short changed. It seems to me that it makes sense that diseases with a genetic component that have existed for centuries but gone into overdrive in recent generations might be fed by this — Type 1 diabetes, for example, probably “needs” both genes from both parents and an environmental trigger. Sometimes that’s bound to happen by chance no matter what, but it seems to me the increase in incidence of these diseases could have something to do with this engineering of nature, particularly since so many of these diseases are seeing rapid increases mostly in “developed” countries like the U.S. and Western Europe.

  33. anilwang says:


    There are solutions if you don’t want to overburden your priest and wine is not offered. Priests already make arrangements for the bed-bound who are unable to attend mass, usually though EMHCs. Your case is simpler since you don’t need wine or a tiny fragment of the host (which is as good as a whole host) to be delivered to you. You can ask to receive it immediately after the mass.

    As a side note, would it be valid for the priest to break the communion up into two parts, regular people and then people with special needs such as severe allergies or severe mobility issues? Or to have a special EMHC to serve special cases? Intuitively both seem to be okay, but given Fr Z.’s comment on the illegitimacy of blessings during communion since it adds to the GIRM, I’m not sure.

  34. Not everyone reacts as severely; our Archbishop has Celiac, but takes a small portion of a regular host and he says he can manage that. Others, as noted above, react to even a tiny bit of a host that has regular gluten in it.

    In my prior parish, I had a woman come to me who was both Celiac and an alcoholic. She hadn’t received the Eucharist for years. That was when I found out about low-gluten hosts, valid for Mass, and I obtained some via our chancellor. The way I did was as follows: she would let me (or the other priest) know she would be at Mass and come to communion. I would place the special host in a pyx, and place that in the bowl with the other bread. She would come to the priest only, who had the special host (which was consecrated along with the others). To avoid particles from the regular hosts contacting the low-gluten host, I would upend the pyx in her hand, but not actually touch the special host. It seemed to work for her; and you can imagine how happy she was!

    For those who don’t have to avoid drinking from the cup, I would encourage that as a solution; however, realize they can’t drink from the main chalice, due to the mingling of Body and Blood.

    I’m not familiar with the rubrics of the EF; however, I cannot believe some accommodation cannot be made for a communicant to receive from the chalice. It certainly *is* important for a layperson to receive the Eucharist, frequently!

  35. Supertradmum says:

    Another good reason for the forbidding of tincture in the Catholic Church…

  36. garysibio says:

    I’m sorry but complaining about gluten-free hosts reminds me of the account in the gospels where the Pharisees condemn the apostles for picking heads of wheat on the Sabbath. What’s more important? Yes, Jesus used wheat. He did so because that’s what they had, not because it had to be.

  37. fiatlux says:

    First, Father, AMEN. This product has no plass in the Liturgies of the Universal Church.

    However, gloriainexcelsis and other are correct that it is not just “some few”. Among Caucasians (& I believe numbers vary and can be higher among other groups), those with Celiac is around 1 in a 100, and there are approximately 2 million suffering undiagnosed. Nevermind those who are gluten intolerant, such as myself.

    I’m grateful I’m able to receive Holy Communion under both species, but do know it is a humble struggle for those who are far more sensitive than I.

  38. Amerikaner says:

    With as many people who now suffer from this auto-immune disorder, I think it is a pastoral duty of the priest to look into who in his parish needs low-gluten hosts. Otherwise the communicant must abstain for long periods and possibly suffer spiritually.

  39. Garysibio:

    Your argument sounds and feels compassionate and sensible on first blush, but it’s not. Let’s examine your argument and its underpinnings.

    Based on what you said, you can only be arguing from one of two premises:

    (a) The “matter” (and perhaps the form) of the sacrament doesn’t matter; there is no reason to draw any certain line between valid and invalid.


    (b) You draw the line between valid and invalid matter and form differently. In which case, the problem the Church has on this remains–but the locus of wrestling moves.

    Are you arguing that the matter of the sacrament doesn’t matter? Do you mind drawing out that argument further? Would you say that water is not necessary for baptism? How does one know whether one received a sacrament? Or do you maintain sacraments really don’t matter. What matters then?

    Or do you still draw the line, but in a different way? If you draw the line, why is your line reasonable and compassionate, and more Jesus-like, than where the Church draws the line? Please explain?

    Of course, what really matters is what Jesus wants. Can you tell us what that is? Can you explain why we should be confident in your answer–as opposed to anyone else’s–let alone that of the Church?

    Perhaps you will explain your reasoning further?

  40. Urget_nos says:

    Things for the bishops to consider:
    My wife was recently diagnosed w/ celiac. Our parish celebrates OF & EF. She can tolerate the low gluten host. Our parish distributes Holy Communion to celiacs via the chalice when available.
    Consider: EF – a Particle of the Host is placed in the priest’s chalice thereby intermingling the species (Byzantine rites are the same). EF distriubution before or after High Mass is not ordinarily allowed. OF – as at our parish the celiac person must sit in the first seat of the first row to be the first to receive (if the chalice is not being offered at that Mass). There are three celiac families that I know of in our parish and we have yet to collide at a daily Mass. It is a spectacle to the person with celiac disease that they have to have their disease held up front-and-center for everyone to ‘notice’.
    Possible norms: Allow/encourage celiac persons to approach the sanctuary after any Holy Mass (OF/EF) to receive the low gluten Host from the priest (w/o out the need for the lengthy EF prayer for distribution outside of Mass). Also blanket approval for parishes with extreme celiac persons (or alcoholics) to receive from a seperate chalice (no gluten contact) of wine/water (or mustum/water as appropriate). OF publish a simple norm for celiac persons to understand that it is okay to pass the priest distributing from the ciborium (celiac person bowing or genuflecting according to the norms of their diocese) and going to the chalice to receive under the one form only, as cultural momentum may lead many to believe that they have to receive from the ciborium if they are to be allowed to receive from the chalice. (As I understand it) low gluten hosts are made from wheat starch and water and are extremely ‘hard’. All priests should be made aware of them and it would be beneficial if every priest were to ‘try’ one (unconsecrated) and consider keeping a small supply sealed in the sacristy(unconsecrated) for visiting celiac persons.
    Thank you to the good nuns that came up with the low gluten hosts!

  41. Is there no provision whatsoever in the EF for (a) consecrating an additional chalice, in which none of the Body has been mingled, and (b) for distributing from that chalice to the faithful (or a cleric for that matter)?

  42. Imrahil says:

    Dear @NoTambourines,

    if you allow me to chime in into your question: if the Chalice is available and low-gluten Hosts are not, approach the Chalice, alone. And while it generally is a good thing to talk about extraordinary (pun not int.) things at appropriate time and not making them a mystery, I see absolutely no reason why you’d need to ask the respective pastor.

    If the Chalice is not available, ask whether you can communicate with the altar service, or whenever some people (other than the celebrant, of course) receive Holy Communion under the Species of Wine. If there are some. If there are none, ask the celebrant to administer the Chalice personally to you, after the Communion of the others.

  43. Rich says:

    “But, Father! But, Father!” some of you must be squealing with increasing pitch. “Surely God has mercy on those with dietary restrictions! He wants them, too, to avail themselves of the ordinary means of receiving grace in the sacraments, especially that of the…Eucharist! It is absurd to think that God is bound by such rigid canonical regulations!”

    “Yes,” I reply. “But, the war on Ziegler has already begun… The CDF is already aware of their wheat-free hosts, and any pastor using these hosts and his bishop have been promptly notified of their invalidity. Like Zagnut, Ziegler need not concern itself with peddling its wares in Catholic supply catalogs anymore.”

  44. jesusthroughmary says:

    Fr. Fox –

    Sounds like a letter to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei would be appropriate. I believe someone with “standing” in the matter would have to write it, no?

  45. APX says:

    However, just like the fasts, this rule can be mitigated by a situation like the one we are discussing. Some people with these sorts of issues cannot even partake of the chalice. Any rule of the Church is mitigated by legitimate extenuating circumstances.

    Aye, but from the sounds of it, this person can receive from the cup at the OF Mass, but simply refuses to attend the OF.

    There’s a priest here with celiacs, so there is no fraction rite, nor does he consume both species when he offers Mass. I have often wondered about this, as everything I’ve ever read states that the priest is the only person who must receive under both species. Perhaps Rome has the ability to lift this requirement given the extreme priest shortage.

  46. APX says:

    *I mean commingling. There’s no commingling.

  47. Re: “Wheat was all that Jesus had.”

    1st, obviously Jesus was God. He was there when all things were created, and it wasn’t any other god doing the creating of it. God didn’t just pick out wheat from among the available wares; He made the wheat, maintained wheat in existence as a species, controlled its evolution and its breeding by men and women. God then commanded that the suitable Temple bread foreshadowing the Eucharist, the showbread or Presence bread, would be made out of “finest wheat”. Not barley, spelt, rice, kamut, or whatever else grew in the ancient world (which of course, He also had created and controlled, including trade routes, fields, seasons, climate, and human tastebuds).

    2nd, God permits the existence of celiac disease. Jesus, the Good Physician, knew all about it then and knows all about it now. It’s a double cross for Catholics — which means it’s a double sign of favor for some Catholics, to be asked to bear this suffering patiently.

    3rd, there have probably always been Catholics who had celiac disease, from the very beginning of the Church. Celiac disease is common among Jews, Palestinians, and Italians. If Jesus chose wheat and the Church never changed it then, why would we change it now? Are we so much more special than the early Christians, just because we know why some people can’t deal with wheat instead of just knowing that it happens?

  48. Supertradmum says:

    Not all NO have both species. Most Catholic Churches I have attended where there is the NO in England and Ireland only have the Host given. Under both kinds is done in a few places, but not all, by any means. I think a celiac could ask for the wine and receive it afterwards, for example, with no trouble. If someone insists on only going to the EF, which I would do if I could, and I had the disease, I would ask the priest for the Blood of Christ privately after Mass. I can remember one woman at the Byzantine Church having only the Blood of Christ. That must be arranged ahead of time as the Body of Christ is placed in the same Chalice as the Blood. I am sure that most priests would be accommodating.

  49. So anyway, Jesus didn’t just pick any old grain that was on the table. He had wheat in the plan from long ages before He was born a baby. It’s sad that Adam and Eve’s sin stuck us with diseases and ills like celiac; but if He didn’t think better of using wheat, we dare not. Just as we have to use some kind of water to baptize, so we can only offer God bread and wine to be changed into His Body and Blood.

  50. APX:

    Without quoting chapter and verse, I believe the priest offering Mass must consume both the Body and Blood, consecrated at that Mass, for him to have validly offered Mass. That doesn’t impinge on the validity of the sacrament being confected–so those receiving the Eucharist receive the Eucharist. I will let someone else explain what it means to say a priest did not validly offer Mass, yet the faithful attending benefit.

    However, because a low-gluten host is valid matter, a priest could validly and licitly offer Mass, using both kinds of bread, and then only communicate with (a) a tiny portion of a low-gluten host and (b) the Precious Blood in which none of the host was mingled. I.e., if more than one chalice consecrated, the Host is not mingled with all of them. Also, he could use the low-gluten host for the mingling.

    Insofar as the gluten content of the special hosts is very, very low, a person receiving only a tiny fraction of said host would then be exposed to the accidents of a miniscule amount of gluten. I’m not being dismissive of the concern–I am told even small amounts are a problem–but there is some threshhold.

  51. APX says:

    Even “low gluten” hosts are bad for some people with celiacs. Although they don’t have a noticeable reaction to them, it still causes internal damage to the intestines.


  52. APX says:

    Sorry, I missed reading that last part about the low threshold for gluten.

  53. Tantum Ergo says:

    I see a lot of interest in valid matter concerning the hosts, but none concerning the use of wines designed for secular table use. Canon law requires wine made from grapes with no additives, but it is common for secular winemakers to “doctor” the “grocery store” wines in order to keep uniform the color, sweetness, etc. from season to season. This is a huge can of worms, because it calls into question whether “grocery store” wine is indeed valid matter, and so many parishes use it without a care for prescriptions of canon law. There are winemakers who make wines suitable for sacramental use, but because they cost more, many parishes buy their wine at Publix or Sams.
    (reason # 63,982 for Summorum Pontificum)

  54. jesusthroughmary says:

    Assuming the purchase of altar wine at Sam’s Club is a problem that could lead to doubtful validity, how does Summorum Pontificum solve it?

  55. Tantum Ergo says:

    jesusthroughmary says:
    Assuming the purchase of altar wine at Sam’s Club is a problem that could lead to doubtful validity, how does Summorum Pontificum solve it?

    In the TLM there is so little wine used that cost is hardly a factor.

  56. jesusthroughmary says:

    True. I hadn’t thought of it like that.

  57. isnowhere says:

    An acquaintance emailed me. He noted that some of the “low gluten” hosts available are actually made from wheat starch that has no detectable gluten in them at all. Certainly this brings validity into question.

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith requires “sufficient amount
    of gluten to obtain the confection of bread without the addition of
    foreign materials and without the use of procedures that would alter
    the nature of bread.” Is no-gluten bread made from wheat starch
    without addition of foreign materials valid matter? Are hosts that
    have the possibility of not having gluten valid matter?


  58. mamajen says:

    I have been researching this matter in depth since I am planning to go gluten-free in the near future to see if it helps with a variety of health issues I have been having. The Eucharist was a big concern for me, and I was afraid I would have to go without. I was delighted to learn (through Wikipedia of all places), that there is a wheat-based alternative that is extremely low gluten. There is one woman in my church who receives a separate host, which I assume to be gluten-free, but I’m not sure which type it is. If I determine that I do indeed need to stick with a gluten-free diet, I plan to offer to purchase the correct type of host myself if they aren’t already ordering it. I think it’s really neat that there has been a product developed to meet the special requirements of both the Church and the churchgoer–where there’s a will, there’s a way!

  59. dominic1955 says:

    That is true with the wine. Of course, at our TLM parish, they use nothing but proper church wine. It really isn’t that expensive, though I suppose the cost would start to rack up if you had to go through a bottle or so at every Mass.

    I’ve seen that happen at parishes before, they have a box of Franzia or something of the like in the fridge in the sacristy. Shudder to think what that kind of stuff really has in it and if it really is invalid…

    Side note, I think I remember a TLM on EWTN in which the priest had consecrated a separate little chalice for one of the nuns who must have had celiac’s.

  60. lwschneider says:

    Just to keep the record straight: Ziegler’s doesn’t make the hosts, they just sell them. They also sell to Protestant churches that can use this kind of host, so they are not marketing them to Catholics (supposedly). It’s sad that they don’t want to put a stronger disclaimer on their website, but it’s even sadder that Catholics are purchasing them for their parishes, and much sadder that priests are using them.

  61. kat says:

    My daughter tells me that a new student at our school cannot receive the Host at the daily school EF Mass. This girl goes to Communion last, and apparently Father has a special spoon and has saved a bit of the Precious Blood which he gives her. a lady in our church goes up and receives a very tiny portion of the Host. so our EF community priests are accommodating those who have gluten problems.

  62. Random Friar says:

    I can imagine the TLM or other ancient Rite allowing reception of the Precious Blood, via a separate chalice for the soul that suffers from Celiac’s. I’m trying to recall where I saw this, but was one receiving Viaticum who could not receive the Host able to receive the Precious Blood, there being a whole set of cautions about the handling of the Precious Blood notwithstanding? Frequent Communion is not on par with Viaticum as far as urgency, but I would see the reasoning there (guarding that it doesn’t just become an excuse to simply offer to all who wish).

    I would ask the Ordinary for the proper dispensation and send it up to Rome in the meantime.

  63. Random Friar says:

    @dominic1955: Get ready for sticker shock on wine: http://www.kaufers.com/productcart/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=153

    That’s 12 bottles per case price, not per bottle, but it can add up, yes. By the gallon is cheaper, but not an insignificant cost.

  64. Kassi says:

    I have a very severe allergy to gluten. My priest, who is exceptionally accommodating, purchased the Vatican approved low-gluten hosts for me and went out of his way to avoid any possible cross-contamination when he gave it to me. Knowing the severity of my allergy, he also gave me only about 1/3 of a host. I still reacted severely. We went back to me taking the Precious Blood from a separate chalice. Fr. Fox is absolutely correct about a shared chalice being a danger for a gluten intolerant/allergic or celiac person.

    Now my son has developed a severe allergy as well and he and I share the separate chalice. Even when it was just me who was afflicted, our entire family went up together as the last ones to receive so I would not be kneeling at the altar alone – at our priest’s suggestion. Those in my family who can receive the Host do; those of us who cannot receive last out of the separate chalice. (And, of course, if anyone is even on the verge of sickness, we make a Spiritual Communion. At the beginning of Mass, Father looks my way and if I nod, we receive. If I shake my head no, we don’t. It’s that simple.)

    Our parish does not offer the Eucharist under both species for everyone. Thus, I get questions from time to time (e.g., “Why do you get to receive under both species?” to which the answer is “I don’t”) and comments along the lines of “God would not make you allergic to the Body of Christ.” The commenter here who said this is a double cross for Catholics is absolutely correct. The last thing most of us want is to be a spectacle. Thus, it could be a triple cross.

    I think most of us offer up the difficulties and do our best. We are exceedingly grateful for the blessing of understanding priests who accommodate us so well. I have been self-conscious about adding to our priest’s burden, but he has repeatedly assured me that it is never a burden to see that his parishioners receive the Sacraments – all of them.

    When you deal with health issues, you need all the graces that the Sacraments can offer and so it is a shame when people are denied this particular Sacrament when it is rather easy to make arrangements (either a separate chalice or the approved low gluten hosts) that are canonically correct. It makes me think that more prayers are needed for this intention.

  65. dominic1955 says:

    Random Friar,

    I’ve had single bottles that cost that much or more but it is certainly different when you have to supply bottle after bottle year after year. Yes, that is the stuff my parish uses and what I’ve seen many churches use. I would guess it is probably a pretty standard staple. However, I would guess that a case lasts our parish at least a couple months if not more based on how much is used. So, while not extremely cheap, I can only imagine having to kill one of those cases every couple Sundays at one of the bigger suburban parishes.

    Regardless, it is definitely worth getting the right stuff because we simply cannot chance having invalid matter.

  66. Supertradmum says:


    Your comment seems to veer toward the idea that Christ was not in charge of Salvation History, which He created and that you may think there is a difference between the Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith, an old Modernist heresy from the Protestants.

    I am reminded of the Modernist heresy which claims that Jesus was a product of His time and therefore many of the customs (women’s behavior in worship, men only in the priesthood, fasting, etc.) he had to conform by as a First Century Jew. Nonsense, says the Church. He, as God, created the Jewish people, the hierarchy and chose, as God, to be born in one of the poorest, most desolate places in the world which grows wheat and grapes for wine. God chose all of this in His Perfect Will. He, as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity created the conditions down to the details of Bread and Wine, Wheat and Fruit of the Vine. If we believe anything less, we are denying the Incarnation and the Plan of Salvation. Jesus did not die on a Cross because that is what the Romans used. He died on a Cross because He chose to do so and in His Will, willed it so.
    Heresies condemned in Lamentabili Sane” 29. It is permissible to grant that the Christ of history is far inferior to the Christ Who is the object of faith.40. The Sacraments have their origin in the fact that the Apostles and their successors, swayed and moved by circumstances and events, interpreted some idea and intention of Christ. And there are others.

  67. biberin says:

    I am very happy these are now available, so long as it is clear to Catholics that we can’t use them. I can’t tell you how many times I have directed my Protestant celiac friends to the sisters at Clyde, and they have been *thrilled* because they never had any other option that looked like their altar bread. I’d prefer the sisters get the business, but it is my understanding that communicating with them can be awkward/difficult because of the cloister, and that may be more than individuals acting as individuals can manage. So I say great! to the ener-g wafers, but would prefer a more definitive statement on the package.

  68. dnicoll says:

    The UK approach s outlined in http://liturgyoffice.org.uk/Documents/Coeliacs/Coeliac-Leaflet.pdf. Basically some low gluten altar breads from approved suppliers can be used where the person’s allergy is not so strong to prevent their use. However if someone is so allergic to gluten that even the low gluten hosts are not appropriate then they are asked to take communion in one kind – the wine – only.

  69. I think we are missing the point. What Jesus wanted in the last supper [Here we go…] was to remind us that man does not live on bread and wine (food and drink) alone but that we need god as an essential element of life. So he gave us himself in the eucharist which isn’t about wheat or a certain kind of wine. God is present in the bread and wine consecrated during mass [A view of what happens that would be acceptable to any Lutheran, but would be heretical for a Catholic. The Lord is not present in the bread and wine. The bread and wine are no longer there. The accidents of the bread and wine have remained but the substance of the bread and wine has been entirely changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord. What happens at Mass is transubstantiation not consubstantiation.] and I can’t believe he cares whether it is wheat or rice bread. [Is that so? Then have you set yourself against the infallible teaching of Holy Catholic Church?] As a celiac myself I was very dissapointed to find out that this is a sticking point for the church. [The Church didn’t just make this up, you know. The Church is doing what Jesus did. What would/did Jesus do? He used wheaten bread.] It seems so trivial [The validity of sacraments is not “trivial”.] compared to real problems in the world [! What does this topic have to do with the problems of the world? “There’s a horrible drought in Africa, the global economy is collapsing, and there is still human trafficking in the world. Therefore, it’s okay to use invalid matter of Mass!” ?!?] and it makes it hard for Catholics with celiac disease to recieve communion, which should be more important than whether there is a speck of wheat in the host or not. [Here’s the problem with that. No wheat… NO COMMUNION. Yes, it is harder for people with this condition. But there must be a reason for their plight and there can be positive fruits. One of them could be a deeper appreciation for and understanding of what the Eucharist is and what Holy Church teaches about the Eucharist. Perhaps, friend, a review of the basics is in order.]

  70. Of course I believe the eucharist is God and the sacrament is special. What I think is silly is the effort of men to put God in a wheat box. Could God not be whatever he chooses? What would we do if some disease wiped out the wheat plant. No more Eucharist? I think Jesus is disappointed that we are argueing about wheat. [Holy Church and I think you are wrong.] And as for the infallility of the church, well, you and I are the church and I bet you agree that I am not infallible. [For real?]

  71. I am also curious as to why the fact that the alter wine may be invalid is being totally ignored here. [Easy: The wine used is not the subject of this conversation.] Not that I think it should be a problem, but you can’t choose to ignore one thing and be so concerned about the other.

  72. This conversation bothered me all night. I kept arguing and counter arguing in my head until my brain was spinning. Then, today I caught about 10 minutes of an old movie and someone quoted the bible. This was the verse; “looking through a glass darkly”. I didn’t recognise it so I looked it up and it was from the chapter in 1 Corinthians about love. The first thing I read, “…if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.” Well that seemed like a direct message from upstairs. I didn’t write the above posts with much love. So I have to stand by my content but I appologise for my tone.

    [Apology accepted. Now please go back and review your basic catechism about matter and form of the Eucharist and about infallibility and then pray that God will help you with graces to accept it. As a Catholic, you are not in fact free to reject these doctrines.]

  73. I’ll pray for wisdom for both of us and that God’s will be done. Always a win for everybody.

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