I have been reading much about the low-gluten host issue for people suffering from celiac disease. Much is being said about the effects gluten has on these peoples’ health and how important it is for them to avoid all gluten and stick to gluten-free diets. And it makes sense in regards to an everyday diet, i.e. food we consume during regular meals.
In context with the Catholic Faith I found many references to Holy Communion stating that celiac disease prevents people from receiving the Blessed Sacrament. I even found a website where altar breads with an extremely low gluten level can be ordered. According to the website where they can be ordered they have been approved by the Office of the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops for “use in the diocese of the United States with appropriate permission”.
What is a puzzlement to is that nowhere have I found reference to ‘Faith in the Real Presence‘.
What do we Catholics believe?
We believe that the bread and wine at the words of Consecration change into the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ and only the appearance of bread and wine remains while the substance has changed entirely into the Body and Blood of Christ.
To cite The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism:
“The appearances of anything are the things we can see, touch, and taste. The substance of anything is what it is. The appearances in the Holy Eucharist are what looks like bread and wine. The substance is Our Lord Himself under these appearances.”
Now, can someone please explain to me why people with celiac disease cannot receive Holy Communion?
What they receive may look and taste and feel like wheat bread, but it IS NOT! It is the Body and Blood of Christ.
And does the ‘Amen’ we respond with to the words ’The Body of Christ’ when receiving Holy Communion not indicate our total belief that it is the Body of Christ we are receiving?
The following sentence is copied directly from the order website:
“Celiacs have to maintain strict gluten free diets to protect their health. Hence, the concern among Catholic celiac sufferers was how could they continue to receive the Body of Christ at Eucharist when it is made with wheat.”
Since when is the Body of Christ made of wheat? And has anyone ever heard of Christ harming someone? He loves us. That is the reason why He is with us in the Blessed Sacrament. He comes to us when we receive Holy Communion to help us and to heal us.
He will NOT cause allergic reactions.
He will NOT make anyone sick.
He will NOT harm anyone.
It is TRULY Jesus Christ we receive, Body and Soul!
Whether regular wheat hosts or low-gluten hosts are used for Consecration, what is the difference? After the Consecration they are all the same - the True Body and Blood of Christ.
I believe that we do NOT need low-gluten altar breads but rather solid catechism. I think I heard somewhere that a survey revealed that 70% of US Catholics do not really believe in the Real Presence. That’s where the problem is.
By the way, if you want to see what the low-gluten altar breads look like go to this website:
They are the most horrible looking hosts I have ever seen and I cannot imagine these ugly and sloppy looking things to be consecrated into the Body of Christ.
I actually ordered a free sample and they really look like this if not worse…
To me it’s a disgrace and an insult to Our Lord.
What I do know is that the devil is working really hard to destroy the Faith in the Real Presence. And I know that this is one of the ways he is trying to undermine our Faith. We must not let this happen.
Why not receive receive Our Eucharistic Lord and ask for healing? He has come to heal the sick in body, mind, and soul.
Is anyone out there who does suffer from celiac disease but has a strong enough Faith to still receive Holy Communion without relying on low-gluten hosts?