ASK FATHER: Valid or invalid gluten free hosts?

From a priest…


I was at a church this week and this is the gluten-free stuff they’re passing out.  Look at the ingredients.  How can this be valid matter?

Just so that you can see it more clearly.

NO!  This is invalid.

The pastor should be informed immediately.  If nothing is done, the local bishop and then then the Congregation in Rome.

This is serious.

The hosts “consecrated” are NOT consecrated.  Hence, sacrilege and idolatry are taking place.

Even if the hosts are low gluten, they must have originated from wheat.  Other flours are INVALID.


At the USCCB website there is a page with companies that make approved hosts and the company in question, Cavanaugh, is on the list… for LOW GLUTEN hosts, not Gluten Free, which are in the photo above.

Lest anyone think that that company is not clear about their product, this is from the company website:

They say explicitly: “The gluten free wafers are considered to be invalid material for the Catholic Mass.”




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fr. Charles A. F. says:

    It even says «not for use in the Catholic Church» on the box…

  2. ex seaxe says:

    This firm makes both approved low gluten hosts, and the gluten free seen in that box.
    About the low gluten they say ” The gluten content of our low gluten wafer is below 20 parts per million making it truly gluten free. However, due to FDA regulations, we cannot label these breads gluten free because they are made from wheat. “

  3. AutoLos says:

    Is there a shortage of CATHOLIC producers of altar bread? Even if they hadn’t purchased the gluten free hosts, if I were a priest I wouldn’t feel comfortable spending parish funds at a Protestant church-supply store.

  4. Glennonite says:

    What the…? So these are for whom? Lutherans? Aren’t there any good convents making hosts that could use the business? I agree with AutoLos; why use anything that is Protestant (including songs) within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?

  5. dahveed says:

    There shouldn’t be a need for this, anyway, not among Catholics. In my family, my wife, three of the five kids and I are celiacs. There’s not a one of us that experiences any sort of reaction. Let those who have invalid consecrations have the GF hosts for their invalid communions (definitely lower case “c”). Let’s remember what occurs during the consecration, by either a Catholic priest or an Orthodox one.

  6. Ellen says:

    I’m almost 70. I NEVER heard of gluten-free hosts until a few years ago. Are there that many people with celiac disease, or do they just think they have it? I know a lot of people, but only one who actually has celiac disease.

  7. excalibur says:

    To be kind, perhaps they were shipped the incorrect product and didn’t notice. Hopefully the person who asked Father Z about this has alerted the pastor.

  8. leftycbd says:

    Fr. Z, I think your image showing it is not valid in the Catholic Church is from

    However, the box in question appears to come from, based on the extra sticker on the box. appears to re-sell the products based on my perusal of their site.

    Perhaps an explanation can be found in an order error or lack of information provided at Chiarellis. Whatever the answer, this should be corrected quickly.

  9. majuscule says:

    My parish gets hosts made by a local convent. But I suppose not every parish has a convent local to them.

    I do not know if they also make low gluten ones. I believe we only had one parishioner some years ago who received low gluten hosts and I never asked where they came from.

  10. iamlucky13 says:

    @ Ellen,

    As far as I’ve been able to discern, a likely explanation is that celiac disease appears to be increasing in regularity mainly because of improved diagnosis of what in the past tended to be a poorly understood general tendency to illness.

    It has also been suggested that changes in typical diets over time may have led to an increase in rate of gluten sensitivity.

    At the same time, the diet fad gurus have done medical research and those who are genuinely intolerant of gluten a great disservice by making gluten one of the current whipping boys upon which they found the sales of their books and blog ads. As a rough estimate (noting there is specific room for error as I don’t generally pry into my acquaintances’ reasons for requesting dietary accommodations), I suspect only 1/4 to 1/2 of people I know who state they can not consume gluten have actually been diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity. But I can think of 3 or 4 people offhand who I’m certain have been legitimately diagnosed.

    Estimates seem to be mostly be that around 1% of the population has an actual gluten sensitivity.

    So it is a real concern, but does not necessarily apply to all of those who claim it.

    @ dahveed – also remember that after the Consecration, all of the accidents of bread remain.

    From past discussions on this site, I recall a range of experiences, ranging from moderate sensitivities that don’t affect the recipient with a little total gluten as is in a normal host, to being so sensitive that even receiving only the Sacred Blood can cause a serious reaction if others have received from that chalice first. A couple cases sound like they may be actual miracles whereby extremely sensitive persons can safely consume the host, but they are clearly not universal.

  11. Huber says:

    Read to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “My eyes are fully open” (

    My eyes are fully open to this awful situation –
    I shall go at once to the bishop and make him an oration.
    I shall tell him I’ve found out about gluten free consecrations,
    And how they are invalid due to garbanzo machinations.
    I do not want to perish by hellfire or demons really sour,
    But the pastor ordered all these hosts with tapioca flour,
    And I don’t want to start a fuss about potato starch and sorghum batter,
    But I’ve got Mass to say tomorrow, and its all invalid matter!
    And it’s all invalid matter –
    And it’s all invalid matter –
    And it’s all invalid matter –
    And it’s all invalid matter –
    And it’s all invalid matter –
    Its all invalid matter, matter, matter, matter, matter!

  12. Kathleen10 says:

    I am astounded by this.
    The USCCB was good for something.

  13. Charles E Flynn says:

    The Cavanagh company has an interesting origin. From

    “The Cavanagh Company of Greenville, R.I. grew out of plea for assistance made by local priests in 1943. John F. Cavanagh Sr. and his son John went to meet with the retreat master, the Reverend Peter Dolan, to discuss the plight of parish nuns. Father Dolan pointed out that the equipment used by the nuns for the baking of altar breads, the communion wafers distributed during Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, was antiquated and sadly in need of repair. John Cavanagh Sr., then in his sixties and an inventor of some merit, took up the challenge. He readily converted waffle irons, humidifiers, mixers and cutters into tools for the baking and cutting of the unleavened Communion offering. Cavanagh’s kindness, skill and ingenuity would lead to the creation of a company that now spans four generations, and represents the largest supplier of altar bread and communion wafers in the world.

    John Sr.’s sons, John F. Jr. and Paul, eventually became part of the new operation. Both were fine artists and portrait painters who would apply their considerable talents to the growing company. In 1946, the brothers formed a partnership to produce the machines which their father had designed, keeping John Cavanagh Sr. on to advise them.

    The Second Vatican Council 1962 “really changed everything,” said Brian Cavanagh, Paul’s son and CEO of the company. The Catholic Church, like so much of society during that decade, re-evaluated its symbols. The Church’s Council of Trent, which convened during the mid-sixteenth century to codify Catholic dogma, reaffirmed the significance of the seven celebrated sacraments. Communion wafers at that time became ethereal both in symbol and in substance: the wafers were one thirty-thousandth of an inch thick, notes Cavanagh, shiny and “white like milk glass,” and were baked to dissolve on the tongue. These rarefied wafers fell out of favor during Vatican II, with an impetus toward celebrating the sacrament of the Eucharist with wafers that more closely resembled bread.”

    I do not see how a communion wafer could be “one thirty-thousandth of an inch thick”. If that were true, a stack of thirty thousand hosts would be one inch tall. I suspect the author intended “one-thirtieth” of an inch. On the other hand, Brian Cavanagh’s observation about the Second Vatican Council is something readers of this blog will see as having wider implications than altar bread.

  14. APX says:

    Let’s remember what occurs during the consecration, by either a Catholic priest or an Orthodox one

    The accidents still remain when transubstantiation occurs. If you consume the Precious Blood and blow into a roadside screening device at a check stop on the drive home from Saturday evening Mass, the alcohol still reads on the device. Not good if you’re a probationary driver under a zero tolerance for alcohol.

  15. JeffC64 says:

    I’ll plug for the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, MO. When I was a Benedictine Novice, and brother in simple vows, I helped in the sacristy and we got all of our hosts from them. I remember when they first started making hosts for celiac patients…they were very careful to make sure that they hosts they produced were valid matter.

  16. ChesterFrank says:

    The box is clearly marked “not for use in the Catholic Church” but I suppose someone could have made a mistake in placing the order. I wonder who places these orders in a parish, is it the priest or a member of the parish council, or some other employee? Of course, once they are out of the box no one would know the difference. Did the priest see the box, or just the hosts? Was it a mistake, or a “mistake.”

  17. NBW says:

    I worry for the people who are horribly allergic to fava beans.

  18. Charles E Flynn says:


    G6PD deficiency—Fava Bean Intolerance
    Compiled by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, FADA

    Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is an inherited condition in which people don’t produce enough of the G6PD enzyme which is involved in preventing red blood cells from bursting (aka hemolysis) when exposed to certain substances in the blood. This hemolysis leads to anemia, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), rapid heart rate, and shortness of breath.

    As many as 400 million people worldwide have G6PD deficiency. It’s more common in males and people of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Mediterranean descent. One in ten African American males has G6PD deficiency (1).

    The symptoms of G6PD deficiency commonly appear in infancy or childhood (2) and can be triggered by aspirin, NSAIDs, as well as some malaria medications, antibiotics, and infections. Fava beans are also known to trigger symptoms (1).

    Usually, the symptoms go away once the cause is identified and the person stops taking the medicine, eating the food, or recovers from the infection. Rarely, kidney failure and even death can be caused by G6PD deficiency. There’s no treatment for G6PD deficiency other than avoiding the substances that trigger hemolysis.

    People with G6PD deficiency are told not to eat fava beans which are thought to be a problem due to a high concentration of two compounds, vicine and covicine (3). Other beans don’t contain vicine and covicine.

    A recent study from Egypt that examined the medical records of 1,000 people with G6PD deficiency looked at which foods were identified as precipitating a hemolytic crisis. It wasn’t clear how the triggering foods were identified, but the researchers considered the majority of cases involving food as being due to eating fava beans or falafel—which is sometimes made with fava beans.

    In the minority of cases, other legumes—including, chickpeas, broad beans, green peas, black-eyed peas, and lentils—were associated with a hemolytic crisis (2). However, these results for other legumes directly contradict a recent review article on G6PD deficiency which said:

    Another myth is that other beans [besides fava beans] can cause an attack…Persons with G6PD deficiency should be told not to eat fava beans. This is the correct advice, and it is more likely to encourage compliance than a recommendation to avoid all legumes. (3)
    Further study is needed to determine whether any legumes other than fava beans can lead to a hemolytic crisis in people with G6PD deficiency. Infants and children with a family history of G6PD deficiency can have a blood test to see if they have this condition. If parents or guardians notice that their infant or child is displaying symptoms of G6PD deficiency, they should contact the child’s health care provider.

  19. MB says:

    Wow, that’s heart-breaking. I wonder how long these people went without receiving Jesus at all. Everyone else – but not them. Sad.

    iamlucky13 – I respectfully disagree. Diagnosing Celiacs or wheat gluten sensitivity is not an exact science. You can test negative for it, and still have it. (See the Mayo Clinic site if you don’t believe me – Also, the impact can be cumulative. Therefore you can eat it for years before the damage becomes apparent. Also, the symptoms can very from gastrointestinal, neurological, rashes etc. Many medical professionals will tell you to simply eliminate wheat from your diet and see if that helps. I suspect that many people with problems like Crohn’s Disease, IBS, even Eczema, may actually have a gluten sensitivity. I knew a man (a priest) who had severe neurological symptoms – it got so bad that he was almost completely paralyzed, bed-ridden and near death. Finally, a doctor suggested that he try a gluten-free diet, and he recovered almost immediately.

    That being the case I get a little annoyed at people who gripe that someone has not been “legitimately” diagnosed, but they still demand special treatment. Everyone is just doing the best they can. Going gluten free is a pain. I doubt people would do it just for fun. If you don’t have any problems with wheat gluten – just be grateful.

  20. DavidJ says:

    @dahveed remember that some Celiacs are actually more sensitive than others. My daughter being one of them.

  21. robtbrown says:

    JeffC64 says:

    I’ll plug for the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, MO. 

    . . . Who have a beautiful chapel.

  22. Bellarmino Vianney says:

    It is known that there is an increase in Satanic practices/activities in the world. Satanists despise the Most Holy Eucharist.

    While the use of invalid matter could possibly be an error in the above case, one must be alert (“wise as serpents”) to the possibility that such use of invalid matter could be intentional. [It is tempting to rush to the worst possible explanation. However, the more likely explanation is incompetence rather than malice.]

    There are millions of people that despise the Catholic Church. In times past, those people often attacked God’s Church from the outside.

    At the present time, it seems that most of the attackers have decided to disguise themselves as authentic Catholics and/or Christians, and they are attacking God’s Church from within. They intentionally become “Eucharist ministers”, servors/servorettes, ushers, lectors,parish secretaries, DREs, and even likely deacons, priests, bishops, etc., with the intent to “get their foot in the door” and get close to the Most Holy Eucharist/the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, etc., and harm God’s Church from within. They are especially in the so-called “conservative”/”traditional” “wing” of the Catholic Church. (Not all servers, lectors, etc., are bad people. But there seem to be a fair share of them that are duplicitous/two-faced, eh em, in the least.)

    Satanists know that the Most Holy Eucharist is God. That is why they attack the Most Holy Eucharist. Of course, they are also cowards, so they attack it in a hidden/veiled/duplicitous manner.

    Oh, and don’t forget, political and government entities that want to harm and/or change God’s Church also attack from within and under a disguise. Priests should be aware of the likelihood that government entities have infiltrated their parish (in both lay groups probably like KofC and non-lay groups as well). It is possible that the push for more lay “deacons” in certain areas may be in part supported by government entities with an agenda. One of their main tactics appears to be the “set-up” and/or the intent to produce false pretenses that can be used against you (research “false pretenses” on your own). So, you priests would be wise to avoid certain situations where these set-ups and false pretenses/false “evidence” can be caused/provoked. “Desperate housewives” and other clingy persons may very well be a set-up in the making.

    They may even be honest at first and tell you that they are law enforcement or some type of civil entity – with the aim to make you think they are protecting you. But they may be doing this only to get their foot in the door and get you to trust them. Then they may very well turn on you.

    But overall, in today’s gravely evil times, one must be wise as serpents – particularly regarding the form and the matter of the Most Holy Eucharist.

  23. As far as I can tell, people who have difficulties with gluten vary widely in their tolerance. Some experience reactions from very small amounts, others seem able to handle more. While this is most frequently associated with Celiac disease, there are other disorders of the stomach and intestine that doctors understand far from perfectly, and I bet they will tell their patients, try to avoid gluten. And it makes sense that there will be some element of “suggestion” involved: if I fear I’ve eaten something that will upset my stomach, the anxiety itself can contribute to the upset.

    Indeed, sometimes people will say that even a small fraction of a low-gluten host causes them distress, and they will only receive the Precious Blood. I am in no position to evaluate these matters. If they ask for a consideration I am able to give — either a low gluten host or a sip from the chalice — I will grant it. There are ways to make this work, and in my experience, it is few who ask, and they are always extremely grateful.

  24. Semper Gumby says:

    Bellarmino Vianney: This post from 2016 might be of interest.

    Note the difference between abstract “government entities” and the actual politicians and “progressives” with an agenda who are an element burrowed inside “government entities.”

  25. Matthew says:

    Perhaps the religious goods store was out of Necco wafers. I think that the candy manufacturer is on a hiatus.

  26. iamlucky13 says:

    @ MB – I don’t think we actually disagree, but are talking about different people. My suspicion related to some individuals unnecessarily avoiding gluten is not in reference to those who have not sought diagnosis but do have symptoms.

    I’m thinking instead of people who request to avoid bread products due to gluten, yet who regularly eat other gluten-containing foods, or those who discuss gluten as problematic for everyone, rather than only people who experience adverse reactions to it. I don’t think they do it for fun, but because of bad information spread by people like Mercola. The fact that some people I know cite him specifically as their reason for avoiding gluten is one of my reasons to question their actual need.

    At the same time, however, if a guest requests a gluten free meal, that’s what I serve them, regardless of why.

  27. maternalView says:

    I don’t question someone’s request to avoid gluten or wheat. I’m in fact quite proficient in gluten free cooking and baking.

    But in my own family I’ve noticed those who suffer the most from anxiety also tend to attribute their physical symptoms to celiac or wheat allergy (before that was a popular diagnosis in pop culture it was something else). Because their doctors haven’t been able to diagnose it and avoiding wheat and gluten has not shown to help I’m waiting for them or their doctors to recognize the anxiety and probably depression.

    All I can do is pray for them. They are suffering but not from wheat.

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