Is organic wheat and wine required for the host and wine and other questions

Hey everyone. I have a few questions about the Eucharistic hosts and the wine that one gets from various suppliers. First, must the wheat and grapes that are used to make them be organic? Second, what should one do if wheat or grapes are not grown in your nation and they are far too expensive to be imported? Also, what if wheat or grapes were to go extinct somehow? What would happen then? Could a similar species to wheat or grapes be used? :shrug::confused:

no they do not have to be organic, or even from locally grown produce. in today’s global market proper matter for celebrating Eucharist are available for purchase and delivery everywhere in the world. Only bread made from wheat and water with no other additives of any kind, and wine fermented from grapes, with no additives of any kind, are valid matter for Eucharist. Why? because that is what Jesus used when he instituted this sacrament and what he says goes.

Since there is no requirement that the wheat or grapes be a particular species or variety, the likelihood that the environment of a country would not permit the growth of these is low, especially with regard to wheat. I think it’s pretty clear that bread from non-wheat grains such as maize are not permitted. I’m not aware of any examples of “species similar to grapes” - I think muscadine grapes slightly different from your usual, run of the mill grapes, but they are still grapes, and thus can make valid wine. On the other hand, kiwifruit, which is clearly “fruit of the vine” in the strict sense, is definitely not grapes, and would thus be invalid.

I’ll also point out that puzzleannie is a bit overstrict in her description of what is valid, but I won’t dwell on that since I don’t recall the precise rules on what additions make bread invalid rather than just illicit.

Puzzleannie was spot-on.

Can. 924 §1. The most holy eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed.

§2. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling.

§3. The wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and not spoiled.

puzzleannie’s statement denied the validity of bread made with yeast.

Right. The canon FrDavid quoted is the requirement for liceity, not validity. So as the old De Defectibus made clear:
5. If the bread has begun to mold, but it is not corrupt, or if it is not unleavened according to the custom of the Latin Church, the Sacrament is valid but the celebrant is guilty of grave sin.
And as Redemptionis Sacramentum explains:
[48.] . . . It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament.

No. In fact, it’s permissible by the Church to add nitrates to the wine to keep it from spoiling it need be…

Nitrates?? The stuff they put in hot dogs? Do you mean sulfites? Those occur naturally on the grape but cannot be added to the wine.

My apologies. You are correct – SULFATES.

Sulfates MAY licitly be added to wine for preservation:

From Mont La Salle’s (formerly Christian Brothers) website FAQ at

Is our current Altar Wine approved for Sacramental use?

We at Mont La Salle like to state that we cannot determine how other suppliers make their wine or if it is made according to the requirements of Canon Law. We know with absolute certainty that Mont La Salle altar wine is made according to Canon Law and, in addition, our label states “approved for sacramental use”. As far as we know, there is no other wine offered for commercial sale that makes this statement.

Then Mont La Salle has this to say about sulfates:

Sulfites in Wine - (Why does the wine label state ‘contains sulfites’? And, what are sulfites?) Sulfites in wine are nothing new since the yeast cells during fermentation produce a small amount of sulfites and the better winemakers have made tiny additions of sulfites for many centuries. This miniscule amount of added sulfites acts as an anti-oxidant and as a yeast inhibitor which preserves the natural good condition of the wine and retards spoilage. For the information and protection of those few people who are extremely sensitive or allergic to sulfites, U.S. Federal Law, for some time now, requires that wine containing (10) or more parts per million of sulfites be labeled “contains sulfites”. This labeling requirement is mandatory for all wines produced in the U.S. The wines are the same as they were before such labeling was required. Substances that assist in making sound wine and that remain in the wine in minute traces, such as sulfites, have been and are considered by canonists and theologians to be acceptable for the Eucharist. ****One such approval, as reported in the Sacramentary, was the Holy Office Decree of 2nd August, 1922."

In reality Mont La Salle relies on the following (and not Canon Law) to add nitrates to their sacramental wines:

Mass Wine: Treated with Sulphurous Anhydride, Etc. (Holy Office) Private.

The Holy Office was asked by the Archbishop of Tarracona: Whether in the Sacrifice of the Mass, wine may be used which is made from the juice of the grape, treated with sulphurous anhydride or with potassium bisulphite.

Reply. In the affirmative.

(Private) ; Holy Office, 2 Aug., 1922.

Not published in the AAS; cf. Il Monitore, Oct., 1923, p. 289.

Hey everyone! Thanks for the answers to the questions! What should be done for countries like say, Saudi Arabia, where wine is not sold or possibly even allowed? How then would Mass be celebrated?

You make arrangements to get the required wine. It doesn’t take much. No wine, no Mass. Even in prisons they have wine for Mass – although the inmates receive under one species! During prohibition in the USA, the Church was allowed to easily obtain wine.

I suspect that’s why sulfates are allowed to be added to wine that’s used in the Mass. It’s easy to get wine anywhere in the USA or Europe but it could be considerable more difficult to get wine in say the African Continent or the Middle East.

They get wine. One way or another.

Can there ever be an exception to the consecration of wine that is not “from the fruit of the vine”? I was watching this video of the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen speaking about the Mass. Toward the end of his talk he tell the story of a bishop imprisoned in china. He was the only one of the prisoners given wine (rice wine) not by any act of charity on the part of the prison guards but by Divine Providence making it possible for him to say Mass. It comes about 6:45 into this Part II of his talk on the Mass

Here’s an interesting thing though. While organic wheat is not required for Communion bread, I once looked at different flour at the grocery store. Most everything that is wheat flour has many additives, only the organic wheat flour says that it contains nothing but wheat. I’m sure bakeries or convents which make Communion bread would have better access to licit ingredients, its just interesting that in the gorcery store only the organic ones are licit.


If the bishop was given saki and used the saki to celebrate the Mass, the transformation of the wine to His Precious Blood would never have taken place and the Mass would have been invalid.

Even in Nazi concentration camps, tiny amounts of bread and wine were acquired by hook or by crook in order to celebrate the Mass.

Except for sulfates to retard spoilage.

Sulfates are not the same as sulfites. (Spelling these with a ‘ph’ does not change what they are.) Sulfates are poisonous. Wine contains sulfites, which are preservatives, and can occur naturally during fermentation, or be added later in the process.

So it seems that Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, was incorrect.

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