Celiac Catholics and transubstantiation?


#1

I am a non-Catholic who has been coming to Mass and have given serious consideration to becoming a member of the Catholic church.
I also have a fairly severe gluten intolerance, such that my health would not permit me to partake of the bread of the Eucharist.
I understand that there are accommodations made available for those who out of medical necessity must refrain from that Sacrament (this is not my main concern). I have done some fairly extensive reading on the topic and recently read this:
How can a transubstantiated host, which is no longer bread, still act like wheat in the human body?
While the entire substance of bread has indeed been transubstantiated into the entire substance of Christ (Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity) such that the bread and wine cease to exist, their appearances remain, and those appearances act upon the senses just as the substance that they properly belong to naturally would. We sometimes say that Body and Blood of Christ are veiled by the appearances of bread and wine but ‘appearances’ means more than just what we see… ‘Appearances’…means those nonessential properties that exist in another thing. So those remaining (or attached) appearances…belonging to wheat and wine do act upon the senses, are measurable, and do bring about the effects natural to the substance to which they belong. So the Eucharist looks like bread and wine, tastes like bread and wine, and acts like bread and wine, but in substance it is fully Christ and Christ only.
(catholicbookwriter.com/goldenarrow/catholic/catholic-celiac-conundrum/#identifier_9_736)
As I was thinking about this point, I had a thought occur to me which I thought I would share so that I can put it out of my mind if it is blatantly false:
Would it be doctrinally incorrect to say that the host is fully bread and fully Christ in the same way that Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God?
Thank you!


#2

[quote="kaybelle, post:1, topic:321266"]
Would it be doctrinally incorrect to say that the host is fully bread and fully Christ in the same way that Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God?

[/quote]

That would not, from a Catholic perspective, be an apt analogy.

Jesus Christ has two complete natures, divine and human. We do not believe, for example, "He is divine but appears human."

The Eucharist, though it retains the appearances of bread and wine, is Jesus Christ and nothing else.

Hope that helps. :)


#3

It seems kinda hard to explain, but in reality the answer is quite simple.

When the bread and wine undergo transubstantiation, though they appear to still be bread and wine, they are the Body and Blood of Jesus. Weird, right?

Well, to use Aristotle's terms (which the Church uses too) the "accidents" remain while the "substance" changes. The "accidents" are the physical qualities of an object, while the "substance" is what makes it what it is. To translate what Aristotle said in Greek to English, he was literally talking about the this-ness of an object. Yeah, it's a bit funny, but that's what we gotta work with.

So, accidents don't define what something is. The couch I'm sitting on isn't a couch because it's green, or soft, or has four legs. It is, by its "substance" a couch.

Likewise, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. They may not look or smell or taste like flesh and blood, but they do in fact become it.

Sorry for how complicated that is.


#4

That made perfect sense. So much clearer than any other explanation I have heard. You’re the best!


#5

[quote="kaybelle, post:4, topic:321266"]
That made perfect sense. So much clearer than any other explanation I have heard. You're the best!

[/quote]

Well, thank you!

Also, even if you have gluten intolerance, that totally should not inhibit you from being Catholic. Both the "bread" and the "wine" contain the whole Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus.

You won't be getting anything less from the chalice! :)


#6

Just another thing to consider: some parishes offer what they might call "gluten-free" hosts, but there really is no such thing. (Well, in order for it to be the Eucharist, it can't be totally gluten-free.)

If they offer anything at all, it would be low-gluten hosts. Depending on your sensitivity, you might be able to handle that. Or of course -- if you become a Catholic -- you can also receive the body and blood via the chalice only, if available.

Since your question was mainly about the theology of transubstantiation, it sounds like you are already up to speed on this, but I thought I'd throw it in there.


#7

I asked my priest about the gluten-free hosts, and he said some people still react, so he felt better giving me the chalice. He told me that whenever I come to mass, to get there early enough to let him know if I need the chalice so he knows to have one put out for me. I go and tell him about 10 minutes before mass starts that I am here and I need a chalice. He has me go up with the eucharistic ministers during the Lamb of God prayer. I am given the wine before the rest of the congregation goes up for their communion as he gives the host to the eucharistic ministers.


#8

That’s called consubstantiation and it’s what the Lutherans believe though the heresy is much older than Martin Luther. Catholics reject the idea that God has a pastry nature.


#9

I'm celiac, kaybelle.
Even if you did choose not to receive the sacred host, kaybelle, you can receive from the chalice alone. Some celiacs choose to do so yet fully receive Christ.

God bless you.
And warm welcome,
Trishie


#10

[quote="Domnall, post:3, topic:321266"]
It seems kinda hard to explain, but in reality the answer is quite simple.

When the bread and wine undergo transubstantiation, though they appear to still be bread and wine, they are the Body and Blood of Jesus. Weird, right?

Well, to use Aristotle's terms (which the Church uses too) the "accidents" remain while the "substance" changes. The "accidents" are the physical qualities of an object, while the "substance" is what makes it what it is. To translate what Aristotle said in Greek to English, he was literally talking about the this-ness of an object. Yeah, it's a bit funny, but that's what we gotta work with.

So, accidents don't define what something is. The couch I'm sitting on isn't a couch because it's green, or soft, or has four legs. It is, by its "substance" a couch.

Likewise, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. They may not look or smell or taste like flesh and blood, but they do in fact become it.

Sorry for how complicated that is.

[/quote]

Thank you for the explanation. I'm Coeliac and had often wondered about this.


#11

Is this all doctrinally correct? Is this the Catholic Church teaching on this issue, or just this persons? I have recently found out I am a coeliac and need answers on this issue! :slight_smile: This does make sense to me though. I felt like I would be saying “I don’t really believe this is the body and blood” if I was to take a low-gluten host.


#12

Looks like it.

It is certainly correct when it suggests that transubstantiation will not change whether you can get drunk if you consume too much from the chalice, for example.


#13

There is a coeliac in my parish who is, of course, known to the priests. She goes up as if to receive the host, but has her arms crossed over her chest. Father - as far as I can see - holds the host up in front of her, she bows in reverence, then steps aside to receive the Precious Blood.
That way, she is not just walking straight off to whoever is administering the chalice - which might look odd to some who don’t know she is coeliac.


#14

Someone should gently suggest to the woman and priest that this is an inappropriate gesture for what they are doing because this is how Byzantine Catholics traditionally approach when they will be receiving. When Latin Catholics use this gesture with the opposite meaning, confusion ensues.


#15

It would be doctrinally incorrect. What your are proposing is called consubstantiation. Transubstantiation is when what appears and acts like bread is in fact no longer bread.

There were some Gnostics who heretically denied the Incarnation, claiming that Christ only appeared to be a man, but that his humanity was an illusion. What happens when wine and bread made from wheat become the Body and Blood of Christ is more like what those Gnostics were proposing had happened when Christ was on earth: that is, that the appearance or accidents (including the appearance and physical behavior) is that of bread and wine, but the actual nature and identity of the Blessed Sacrament is Christ and Christ alone.

BTW, if bread could be made from wheat that had had the gluten removed, that wouldn’t be any more problematic than using flour from which the germ had been removed–that is, white flour. The hosts must be made entirely from wheat and water and only those, but not every part of the wheat berry has to be used to make the bread. I hope that helps, too.


#16

Interesting – did you know that most dioceses in the US advocate crossing the arms if one is not receiving at that station?
I didn’t know that this is the Byzantine posture for receiving, so I guess it is a fair point you make.


#17

I have a fun illustration about how transubstantiation works:

Imagine that I steal the Mona Lisa. Imagine further that I have a magic replicating device that can make perfect copies right down to the molecular level and use it on the stolen painting.

Are there now TWO Mona Lisa? Of course not. One is a fake and one IS the Mona Lisa, even if nobody can tell the difference. One can duplicate the “accidents,” but not the “substance.” Substance is what something IS.

Now let’s say I pull out a Sharpie marker and put a mustache and goatee on the original Mona Lisa. Since the fake now corresponds to every description of the Mona Lisa, but the original no longer does, does the duplicate NOW achieve the status of the REAL Mona Lisa? Nope. The original is still IT, even if defaced.

At the consecration, the SUBSTANCE of the host is changed into the body and blood of Christ. The accidents don’t change, and the accidents are what you can measure with the senses and with scientific tools. Substance is a reality deeper than the senses can detect. The substance is no longer bread, only Christ.


#18

Yes, I’ve seen this in many Latin churches, and I’m of the mind that if western Christians are going to have a gesture for people not receiving, it should be something different than the traditional Byzantine gesture for receiving. :slight_smile:


#19

I have celiac disease and receive the low-gluten host. The amount of gluten in the host is far below what is recommended for those with celiac disease in the U.S. One would have to consume hundreds to receive enough gluten to become ill. I have never gotten sick from the host, and I am very sensitive to gluten. I put a pix containing the host on the altar before mass. Father hands me the pix when I go up to receive communion.


#20

Does he give you the host and pyx separately, or does he hand you the pyx with the host still in it?


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