Coeliacs and the Priesthood


#1

I suppose there has already been a thread on this, but I can't find one.

Can men with coeliacs disease/celiacs, become Priests? I know they must consume the Host, our Lord, but what if he uses low-gluten Hosts? Not gluten-free, but low-gluten, as some Priests use mustum for the Precious Blood?


#2

I would think that this is an issue that the person who was discerning would have to ask their vocational director because most people who have celiac disease can’t even consume the low gluten hosts because many are so sensitive that having a few grains of wheat could make them seriously ill. The church’s teachings are very clear: the host must contain some wheat. This is a shame because we have a growing population who cannot tolerate wheat at all. The low gluten hosts are pointless in this case. It would be a shame to lose a potential priest because of his allergy. I think if it is meant to be, a way would be found for this person to fullfil his vocation.


#3

Yea pretty much low gluten hosts are the only option. However I think there are some orders where their priests only do certain sacraments. Maybe I didn’t hear that, or maybe I did. Also maybe a non ordained religious would work for a person with that problem.

I know that I was almost in the same position. But thanks be to God, I didn’t have it.


#4

[quote="SecretGarden, post:2, topic:279136"]
I would think that this is an issue that the person who was discerning would have to ask their vocational director because most people who have celiac disease can't even consume the low gluten hosts because many are so sensitive that having a few grains of wheat could make them seriously ill. The church's teachings are very clear: the host must contain some wheat. This is a shame because we have a growing population who cannot tolerate wheat at all. The low gluten hosts are pointless in this case. It would be a shame to lose a potential priest because of his allergy. I think if it is meant to be, a way would be found for this person to fullfil his vocation.

[/quote]

Actually if a man can not fulfill the duties of a priest then there is no vocation present.

God does not call anyone to a place where they can not serve.


#5

Our priest talks about 2 people with Celiac Disease that were in the seminary with him. This was just a few years ago. So yes, men with Celiac Disease can become priests. :thumbsup:

And yes, they use a low gluten host.


#6

Source?


#7

If a priest cannot consume a valid host then I don’t believe he can licitly be ordained to priesthood.
I’ve only met priests who consume the low gluten hosts at Mass so I don’t know what would happen if a validly ordained priest “developed” celiac disease later on in priesthood.


#8

[quote="NewEnglandPriest, post:7, topic:279136"]
If a priest cannot consume a valid host then I don't believe he can licitly be ordained to priesthood.
I've only met priests who consume the low gluten hosts at Mass so I don't know what would happen if a validly ordained priest "developed" celiac disease later on in priesthood.

[/quote]

A low gluten host is a valid host. :( So I am not sure why you would think a priest with Celiac disease wouldn't be able to consume a valid host.

So if a validly ordained priest was later diagnosed with Celiac, he would order low gluten hosts for himself.


#9

[quote="maryjk, post:8, topic:279136"]
A low gluten host is a valid host. :( So I am not sure why you would think a priest with Celiac disease wouldn't be able to consume a valid host.

So if a validly ordained priest was later diagnosed with Celiac, he would order low gluten hosts for himself.

[/quote]

I understand that, I even explicitly stated as much. Its the second part that was poorly worded. What I should have said was, "I don't know what would happen if an ordained priest developed such a severe case of Celiac disease that he couldn't consume even the low gluten host."


#10

Hello,

I think you can find answers to these questions in the following document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030724_pane-senza-glutine_en.html

Dan


#11

I have spoken, in person, to many experts in the field. And I have read tons of literature. The reason that SecretGarden hasn’t come back with a source is because what he posted was false. Most people with Celiac disease CAN consume the low gluten host. (Most can also drink milk, something I bet SecretGarden would contest.)

I have an incredibly severe reaction to gluten. (The is no such thing as a severe case of Celiac, it is like being pregnant, you either are or you aren’t) The smallest amount will cause a reaction. BUT each week I receive one low gluten host. At 100ppm, very few people would have a reaction. And those that do, can receive 1/2 of the host or even a smaller piece.

Keep in mind Celiac Disease is just that, a disease. An auto-immune disease.


#12

maryjk is correct. The Benedictine Sisters who make the VLG (very low-gluten) host have tested it and it is below the threshold that will cause a reaction in people with celiac disease.

I know of at least 2 celiacs who have been receiving this host for several years now, and they have experienced NO physical reaction to it, and even more important, their antibody tests are negative upon testing. I am sure there are more Catholic celiacs who receive, it's just that I don't have access to all of their numbers.

This host is not only safe for celiacs to receive, it is VALID MATTER for consecration. This has been cleared with the Church and there is no question as to its validity.

I would assume that any man with diagnosed celiac disease could also have a vocation to the priesthood and yes, it can be fulfilled. Since the OP spelled "celiac" with the European spelling, I don't know what the source for the very low-gluten host would be, but perhaps the Sisters can ship it or someone could bring them over. They keep quite well in a freezer.


#13

Well, thankfully, men who have celiac disease can now heed the call, since they can receive a low-gluten host that will not activate their disease.

He will need to be especially careful when he handles the glutenous hosts, but I am pretty sure this can be dealt with.


#14

[quote="dans0622, post:10, topic:279136"]
Hello,

I think you can find answers to these questions in the following document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030724_pane-senza-glutine_en.html

Dan

[/quote]

That was written 9 years ago. The very low gluten hosts have been in production for quite some time and celiacs have been receiving them safely, so I would assume priests can, as well.


#15

Despite the availibility and toleration of low-gluten hosts, we need to remember that no man has the ‘right’ to be ordained. If his bishop/superior decides that he does not have a vocation to the priesthood because of celiac disease or any other reason, than he does not have a vocation.

He may have a vocation to religious life, but not necessarily to the priesthood.

Priests do more than just consume one small host a week. They may celebrate 2 or 3 Sunday Masses and regular daily Masses. They may be called to celebrate at several different parishes and in many difficult situations. It is perfectly within a bishop/superior’s perogitive to determine that celiac disease or any other health condition is not compatible with ordination.

The fact that there may indeed be priests with celiac disease, or some other illness or handicap again does not mean that any man with that same condition can or should be ordained.

Pray for our priests and for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life!


#16

Understood perfectly.

Thanks for this. You know what you’re talking about don’t you! :slight_smile:


#17

Hello,

Yes, it is from 2003. What part of the document, exactly, do you think is outdated?

Thanks for your time.
Dan


#18

One of my sons was diagnosed with celiac disease and has been on a gluten-free diet for 11 years now. The other had one antibody test out of range but didn’t meet the other diagnosis points so we call him gluten intolerant. He’s been on the gluten free diet for about 7 years. They both receive only the Precious Blood, by their own choice. We have kept a gluten-free home so they can have a haven where they can eat anything and not worry about getting sick.

I had heard about the Benedictine Sisters attempting to make a low-gluten host quite soon after my younger son was diagnosed. Since he was 7 at the time, he would have been preparing for his First Eucharist that year. But when we went to talk to our parish priest, we were told in no uncertain terms that a GF host was not valid to be consecrated, not even once. I was so angry about that…it seemed there was no way for him to safely go through the classes, because one of the exercises was to MAKE BREAD…It ended up being 2 years before we figured out how to keep him safe and let him receive.

But during that time, I was calling the Sisters in Missouri to see if they had been successful. At one point, they told me they had all but given up, and my heart sank, not only for my own son, but for all of those other celiacs too. I gave up calling and became my son’s Extraordinary Minister, brought a small chalice to Mass with us each week, and he was served only from that.

I can’t even remember how I heard that the Sisters had actually succeeded…Maybe a forum for celiacs that I belong to…The key was whether it would be declared valid matter for consecration - the problem was always how to include enough wheat to qualify as confection of bread, but not enough to activate a person’s celiac antibodies. Well, they did it! Here is their website that describes the process.

Low Gluten Altar Bread

By that time, our other son was also gluten-free, but neither of them wanted to go through the hassle of trying to receive the low-gluten host. (Basically, you bring the host with you in a pyx which is then placed up on the altar or the paten as the other hosts are consecrated. Then someone has to bring the pyx down and hand it to you, you open it yourself, take out the Body, and consume it.) I still have some in my freezer.

Are you discerning the priesthood? If so, I will add you to my prayers for vocations.


#19

I’m gluten intolerant and I know many people who can’t have a drop of gluten otherwise they will get sick. If I eat too much gluten, I get sick. If one looks at celiac disease most aren’t allowed to have any gluten, a few will cheat here and there but doctors recommend those with celiac and gluten allergies to avoid gluten because it can really cause alot of internal damage.


#20

[quote="maryjk, post:11, topic:279136"]
I have spoken, in person, to many experts in the field. And I have read tons of literature. The reason that SecretGarden hasn't come back with a source is because what he posted was false. Most people with Celiac disease CAN consume the low gluten host. (Most can also drink milk, something I bet SecretGarden would contest.)

I have an incredibly severe reaction to gluten. (The is no such thing as a severe case of Celiac, it is like being pregnant, you either are or you aren't) The smallest amount will cause a reaction. BUT each week I receive one low gluten host. At 100ppm, very few people would have a reaction. And those that do, can receive 1/2 of the host or even a smaller piece.

Keep in mind Celiac Disease is just that, a disease. An auto-immune disease.

[/quote]

In response to the fact I haven't provided a source, first of all I'm busy so I'm not going to be checking this forum every hour. To verify, I'm gluten intolerant and I know many people who can't have a drop of gluten otherwise they will get sick. If I eat too much gluten, I get sick. If one looks at celiac disease most aren't allowed to have any gluten, a few will cheat here and there but doctors recommend those with celiac and gluten allergies to avoid gluten because it can really cause alot of internal damage. The low gluten are options for some people, but the reality is: the amount of gluten a person's body can tolerate can vary person to person. For example I can eat a bit without getting sick but I have a friend if she consumes a tiny amount of gluten will become quite sick. The low gluten hosts are good options for some people but not everyone. You can be celiac and yet the amount of gluten a person's body can handle will vary. Depending on how it affects the person, cross containmination is a factor that must also be mentioned. Some gluten allergies are so sever that the low gluten hosts cannot touch the regular hosts otherwise the person could get sick. The criteria is very specific ex
www.catholicceliacs.org/TrifoldBrochureV71.pdf

You might want to check out this link as well.
celiac.com/gluten-free/topic/62236-low-gluten-host/


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