Must the Eucharist contain wheat?


#1

I have been diagnosed with celiac disease, which is the inability to process wheat gluten. Gluten damages the small intestine. I must not ingest any wheat, rye, barley etc. In order to be healthy, I must refrain from all types of gluten. Therefore the Eucharist will no longer be available to me unless I can receive in another form. Are there Church rules about the Communion wafer having to contain wheat? Can a rice wafer be substituted? This is extremely important for me to find the answer. I can’t imagine not receiving Communion the rest of my life. Thank you for taking the time to respond to this.


#2

[quote=stellahenry]Are there Church rules about the Communion wafer having to contain wheat?
[/quote]

Yes.

The [eucharistic] bread must be wheaten only, and recently made, so that there is no danger of corruption (canon 924 §2, Code of Canon Law [1983]).

[quote=stellahenry]Can a rice wafer be substituted?
[/quote]

No.

[quote=stellahenry]This is extremely important for me to find the answer. I can’t imagine not receiving Communion the rest of my life. Thank you for taking the time to respond to this.
[/quote]

You need not worry about being denied Communion. If your body can tolerate a very small amount of gluten (ask your doctor about this), you can ask your pastor to arrange to make low-gluten Communion hosts available for you. (Click here for more details.) If your body cannot tolerate any gluten at all, your pastor can consecrate a portion of the precious blood for you in a separate chalice. Consult with your pastor about arranging this.

The Church teaches that the whole Christ – body, blood, soul, and divinity – is present under the appearances of the bread or the wine. This means that even if you can receive Communion only from the chalice, you have still made a complete Communion.

**Recommended reading:

Forfeiting Their Birthright** by Rosalind Moss
I Would Feed You with the Finest of Wheat by David P. Lang
The Long Way Home by Karl Keating


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