Requirements for Communion Wafers


#1

This is a silly question, but what are the requirements for a parish when it comes to unconsecrated communion wafers that are to consecrated and distributed as the body of Christ?. As I understand it, it’s to be unleavened bread. But are they restricted to using only unleavened bread made by certain organizations?

As I understand it, certain monasteries and convents make communion wafers. But, could a parish make their own bread if they wanted to as long as it was unleavened?


#2

Some parishes make their own bread. It has to be made from wheat and water with no additional ingredients. I used to belong to a small parish where parishioners made the bread to be used at Mass. It added meaning that this was made by our hands and not from some outside source, but probably isn’t practical in a larger parish.


#3

PLEASE, if at all possible, support the sisters (most in cloistered orders) who make communion breads. Sometimes this is their sole support outside of donations. If you’re looking for “meaning” in the unleavened bread your parish uses, think of the holy women who are spending their lives in prayer for all of us who make these breads.:nun2:

Yes, I admit I’m biased.:blush: My sister-in-law is a discalced Carmelite whose community makes communion bread.


#4

Yup, the recipe is flour and water only. No honey, salt, baking soda etc.

I would say its better to buy the wafers, as ‘home made’ bread tends to be WAY more flakey and there is a definite risk of ‘dropping some Jesus.’

I have helped make communion bread before and yes, it is meaningful when done as a part of a retreat or a small group, I do believe it would be impractical for a large parish to make the bread weekly, because the risk of crums, the labor involved, etc.

As was mentioned above, it is a good idea to support our holy women religious and men religious in monasteries. This is a good and holy ministry they offer us. Let’s continue to help them!


#5

I do agree with BlueRose about purchasing from the Convents and Monasteries where the communion hosts are made.

My mom remembers spending time at the local convent when she was a child (some 65 years ago) and getting to help make the wafers and getting to eat the ones that didn’t turn out! The Sisters in the convent loved her, this would be when she was 3 or 4 until she started school at 6.

At a museum in Albuquerque there are Communion Wafer irons - it’s like a stove top waffle iron or pizzelle or krumkake iron only there are multiple small round spots and one large spot for the hosts for a Mass.

Brenda V.


#6

Anyone could make Communion bread. However I understand that it takes skill to make communion bread from only water and wheat flour and not have it crumble everywhere.


#7

This is true for the Latin Church. Some, perhaps all of the Eastern Churches use a leavened bread.


#8

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

Is there a document which establishes this restriction? I agree that honey and baking soda are not appropriate. However, the notion that salt is not allowed seems an overstatement of both the General Instruction for the Roman Missal No. 320 and of the Canon 924 of the Code of Canon Law of 1983.* Is there some authoritative interpretation of this requirement that excludes salt?

This is of interest because of two passages in scripture:

“You shall season all your cereal offerings with salt; you shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be lacking from your cereal offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.” (Leviticus (RSV) 2:13.)

“You are the salt of the earth.” (Matthew (RSV) 5:13.)

Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.

John Hiner


*The English translations of these sections give a different impression of the requirements than the Latin edition. In the Latin, “wheat” is an adjective, “wheaten,” while in English the use of the noun gives a slightly different impression. However, the fact that water is not mentioned makes it clear that neither the instruction nor the canon intend to give a full recipe.


#9

I’m not advocating taking the nuns jobs away. It was just a question I thought of.


#10

of course! I never thought that you were thinking of taking their jobs away! I think making bread is an option, but due to the ‘crumbility’ of the bread, it might not be worth it to make the bread weekly.


#11

****Canon 924 §2. **
[INDENT]The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling.

The instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum further specifies:

[48.] The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. 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. **It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. **Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools.

jimmyakin.typepad.com/defensor_fidei/2005/09/eucharistic_bre.html
**[/INDENT]


#12

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

Thank you for the reference.

The quotation from “Redemptionis Sacramentum” seems to confirm that salt would not invalidate the matter. Bread made with wheaten flour, water, and a touch of salt would undoubtedly “commonly be considered wheat bread.” The addition of the other substances named, “fruit, sugar, or honey,” would change the bread from “wheaten bread” to “sweet bread” or even “cake.”

Does anyone know of any authoritative document that specifically disapproves of including salt with the wheat and water used to make the hosts for the Mass?

Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.

John Hiner


#13

John I would say that since salt is not listed it is not allowed. Jimmy Akin also agrees.At least he did in 2005.

jimmyakin.typepad.com/defensor_fidei/2005/09/eucharistic_bre.html


#14

Redemptionis Sacramentum states that the addition of other substances would be an abuse. This is different from saying that it would invalidate the matter.

But either way, RS is also clear that it would be an abuse, so we should not do it, period.


#15

A crucial consideration that is so often overlooked by parishes who make their own bread!

Exactly.


#16

Laudetur Iesus Christus,

I think the reading of Redemptionis Sacramentum needs to be re-examined.

From the above quote, Redemptionis Sacramentum reads:

“The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat”

Now “purely of wheat” is say in reference to “unleavened”, therefore it is not that we have "bread’ which is simply wheat (which would be taking “purely of wheat” in an absolute sense) but the bread is “purely of wheat” insofar as it is not leavened.

Reading “purely of wheat” as absolute is further contradicted by the rest of the sentence:

“if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat…”

Thus it is permissible to mix it with other substances.

The second point from the quote was:

“It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist.”

I think this sentence must be taken as a whole to be understood. The first clause says that you should not introduce other substances into the bread, but the second clause qualifies what kind of other substances: fruit, sugar or honey. The sentence, at least, definitely implies that there are substances besides wheat that may or should be introduced, otherwise there would be no purpose in saying ‘substances such as…’

In addition, salt seems like such an obvious substance to include in the Eucharistic sacrifice it seems nearly a full endorsement of salt for it not to be included in the kinds of substances not to introduce to the bread.

Pax Christi Nobiscum


#17

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

Thanks to everyone who has commented. I am not directly involved in making bread for the Mass. However, I am generally interested in the issue, because of its bearing on the ritual meaning of our offering of bread.

A fair reading of the documents quoted so far does not support the argument that salt would invalidate the matter or constitute an abuse. Is there some other part of “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” on which people rely when making this assertion?

If there is nothing more, it seems that the cited passages are being “over-read.” They require “only wheat bread” but not “bread made only of wheat.” The Latin typical text will admit the first, but not the second, reading: “Panis debet esse mere triticeus et recenter confectus, ita ut nullum sit periculum corruptionis.” (1983 Codex Iuris Canonici 924) This language is used in all three Latin texts cited.

It is also clear that the sentence does not mean “made solely of wheat” in a logically strict sense (a possible reading of the English translation), because water, at least, must be added to the wheat flour to make bread at all. This indicates that one ought use the other possible reading of the English translation, namely, that “of wheat” is intended as a substitute for the adjective “wheaten” rather than as a substitution of an English noun for the Latin adjective.

This understanding is further strengthened by the standard set by “Redemptionis Sacramentum,” namely that the bread be “commonly considered wheat bread.” The addition of salt does not violate this standard. In contrast, the addition of any of the listed substances, “fruit or sugar or honey,” would change the “kind of bread” in the “common consideration” of bread.

I suggest that Mr. Akin and others who mention salt as prohibited were not responding to questions about salt specifically and so somewhat misspoke when including it as an illicit or abusive substance. Salt is not a substance “such as fruit or sugar or honey.”

To conclude that salt is not required is one thing; however, in view of the language in Leviticus, it is quite another to conclude that the addition of a little salt has been made illicit or declared abusive. “You shall season all your cereal offerings with salt; you shall not let the salt of the covenant with your God be lacking from your cereal offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.” (Leviticus (RSV) 2:13.)

Of course, this is all an issue of emphasis in the use of symbolic materials as a means of communicating with God. Leviticus teaches that no offering is acceptable without salt. This offers us two possibilities:

First: by including salt in our Eucharistic bread, we can express our intension that our offering be acceptable to the Lord.

Second: by offering bread without physical salt used in its making, we recall the words of the Savior: "You are the salt of the earth; (Matthew (RSV) 5:13; see also, Luke 14:34-35; Mark 9:50.) Combining this with the Levitical requirement, offering bread without physical salt implies our desire to offer ourselves with the sacrificial bread, also to make the sacrifice acceptable to the Lord.

These two possibilities do not represent different intentions, but different ways of expressing the same desire to offer ourselves in the Sacrifice of the Mass. In the first form, our intention to make an acceptable offering can only be realized by our self-donation. In the second form, this same desire is expressed more obscurely, but once noticed somewhat more directly. Both forms of expression of our intention by means of the constituents of the offered bread should be appreciated; the contrast and inter-play between them should be allowed to spark the faithful to appreciate and cherish this subtle expression of a central meaning within the prayer of the Most Holy Mass.

Pax Christi nobiscum.

John Hiner


#18

Please show me exactly where RS is unclear on the subject

It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools.125

Do you claim that the term “Such as” means to denote a comprehensive list?

Or that salt is somehow not an “other substance” to water and wheat?


#19

Simply ask a canonist. It may not be as explicit in the law as some would like, but the standard answer to “what ingredients can be put in the bread?” is “flour and water.” No, we can’t make a canonical argument with logical necessity on this point, but I’m telling you it falls into the category of “everyone agrees.” Perhaps there is an authentic interpretation floating around in Notitiae or the AAS just waiting for a dedicated soul to find it and put the question to rest.


#20

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

Dear Brendan:

I am sorry for my difficulty in making my point clear. (I am also sorry for the length of this reply.) Let me try to put the matter again, from a different angle.

I am not saying that Redemptionis Sacramentum is unclear. I am saying that it is clear and that it does not exclude salt. Let me quote the relevant section, and try to make this point more explicitly.

[48.] The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition.[123] 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.[124] It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools.[125]

[123] Cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 924 §2; Missale Romanum, Institutio Generalis, n. 320.

[124] Cf. S. Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction, Dominus Salvator noster, 26 March 1929, n. 1: AAS 21 (1929) pp. 631-642, here p. 632.

[125] Cf. ibidem, n. II: AAS 21 (1929) p. 635.
When reading this paragraph, I notice the phrase “purely of wheat,” and note that the footnote for this sentence points to both Canon 924 and the General Instruction for the Roman Missal. These two authorities read as follows:

§2. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling. (1983 Codex Iuris Canonici 924) (Translation from the Vatican website.)

  1. The bread for celebrating the Eucharist must be made only from wheat, must be recently baked, and, according to the ancient tradition of the Latin Church, must be unleavened. GIRM (2000) 320. (Translation from the USCCB website.)

These two translations have a curious discrepancy. The first says “the bread must be only wheat.” The second says “the bread . . . must be made only from wheat.” This causes some confusion. The first might mean “only wheat bread” while the second seems to say “bread made from wheat with nothing else added.” This second meaning is impossible, because it is clear that at least water must be added to make wheat into bread of any kind. Because of this difference in translations, I look to the Latin text, which is the official text on which the translations are based and by which ambiguities should be judged. Surprisingly, the Latin in both cases is the same, “Panis . . . debet esse mere triticeus . . .” Hence, the difference between the translations is a matter of the translators and not of the text. A check confirms that the Latin text of Redemptionis Sacramentum uses the same phrasing.

I then look at the Latin and note that the crucial word “triticeus” is an adjective and not a noun. That is, the Latin says “the bread must only be wheat [bread]” rather than “the bread must be [made] of wheat only.” Further, it is my understanding that in Latin the adverb “mere” modifies the verb and does not modify the adjective as it might in English.

The second sentence in the quotation above seems to bear out this reading, when it sets a standard that the bread must “commonly be considered wheat bread.” The footnote to this sentence is to a document, which I have not found, but the section cited seems to be quoted online as saying:

It follows that bread made of any substance, or to which has been added so great a quantity of any other substance than wheat that according to common estimation it cannot be said to be wheat bread, cannot be valid matter for the performance of the Sacrifice and the Consecration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. (Congregation for the Sacraments, instruction (Dominus Salvator Noster), March 26, 1929; English translation in Canon Law Digest, vol. 1, 355; from Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS), 21 (1929), 631-639. The AAS is the Vatican periodical in which official Church documents are published, quoted at cuf.org/faithfacts/details_view.asp?ffID=45

Continued . . .


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