Rice Hosts?!?!

Okay, so I have a problem and I want to make sure I go about this the right way.

I was at our churches lenten soup-supper tonight. I overheard a woman next to me talking to her friend about getting “gluten free hosts” from the church office for those with a wheat allergy. I assumed the best and figured she meant low gluten - that is, hosts made with less wheat or something. So I rudely butted into the conversation with “gluten free? How is that possible?” She said “They are made from rice, not wheat.” And seemed to be agitated that I just butted in…or frustrated with my ignorance… I admit, I shouldn’t have just butted into her conversation. :o

At any rate I waited for a less rude time to follow up with questions. Apparently my parish office makes rice based hosts available for people with gluten allergies so they can still take “communion” but uses regular hosts for the general congregation. Forgive me, but based on what I have read here and in other places, isn’t that an abuse? Doesn’t the host HAVE TO BE wheat flour and water only?

I know that with this knowledge means I really should do something about it. How should I go about this in a delicate way so as not to possibly embarrass someone who may not have known better, and so as not to step on any toes? I also don’t want to be publicly known as “that girl who took communion away from those with allergies.” Is there a way to do this properly? Please advise, wonderful community!

It is possible to get wheat-based hosts that are gluten-free.


Re: your point about being the person who resulted in communion being taken away… They’re not actually receiving communion, because rice wafers aren’t valid matter for the sacrament. So I’d rather risk offending some people’s sensibilities than allow them to receive something that’s not what they think it is…

Talk to your pastor and see what he has to say about it.

And Tim, those hosts are very low gluten, but it’s not possible to have valid matter for the Eucharist that’s gluten free. Wheat flour has gluten, period.

It is true you can get gluten free wheat host i know because my parish gets them for a few of our parishioners with wheat allergies.or at least the gluten is very low in those gluten free wheat host.

They can’t be gluten free if they contain wheat… They can be exceptionally low in gluten content, but not gluten free, because they’d have to be wheat-free for that to happen.

My son was on a gluten-free diet for several years and I did extensive research on this topic. If there’s no gluten, it’s not bread, and therefore, it’s invalid matter.

the percentage of gluten in them is so low that they can be described as gluten free.I think the gluten has to be below a certain percent for them to be able to be called gluten free

Thanks guys - I have heard of very low gluten hosts, and that’s what I assumed the woman was talking about at first. Then I just had to ask for clarification and she did state quite clearly that they are receiving ones made from rice.

I was going back through the conversation she was having with her friend she was saying that while the “gluten free” hosts are fine for her, there is another girl she knows that has a reaction “even to the rice wafers.” Maybe she was just confused? (trying to be optimistic!)

Even these (the ones made by the Benedictine sisters that Tim K referenced in his post) have caused problems for friends of mine who suffer from celiac disease, and they’d disagree quite strongly with that characterization. One lady I know took the term gluten-free at face value and ended up incapacitated for several days. They’re generally well-tolerated by all but the most sensitive individuals.

Yup… Rice wafers are definitely a problem and I recommend asking Father about this matter in a non-confrontational way. It’s hard to imagine that a priest doesn’t know better in 2011, since this issue has received so much publicity in recent years, but I’m willing to cut him some slack until he has the chance to offer his side of the story.

Hey i know what you mean there is this really nice lady I am guessinggto be about my age and she can’t even consume these gluten free hosts so she just receives the preciious blood from the cup but that is okay because she is still receiving the full body soul and divinity of Christ in the Eucharist thank you for clearing that up it does make a difference.

you’re welcome… Anyone with a proper understanding of the Eucharist would be content to only receive the Precious Blood, since He’s fully present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in both forms.

I was defending this practice before I converted to Catholicism :slight_smile:

First, I would check with the parish office to confirm whether this “rice” host is true or not. If it is true, then it cannot be consecrated into our Lord’s Body, as it is of an incorrect substance. It would be like trying to consecrate milk rather than wine.

It is illicit, but nevertheless valid, to consecrate hosts from leavened wheat bread. It is an invalid consecration if a priest attempts to consecrate anything other than wheat bread. Leavened wheat bread, once consecrated, is a valid Eucharist because it contains wheat, but is illicit because it is adulterated with ingredients that were not present in the bread at the Last Supper. A priest who confects leavened wheat bread, or atempts to confect non-wheat bread must confess this abuse.

Now this may be a minor miracle, but my sister, auntie, grandmother and cousin are all coeliac, none of them can eat more than a few crumbs of wheat bread without having a reaction (one time my sister even threw up after taking one bite of 90% wheat free bread), and yet every sunday these relatives are able to take the normal host with no adverse effects!

Semantics aside please realize the Holy See has specifically rejected the use of “gluten free” hosts. The “legal” ultra-low gluten hosts that are approved by the Church are NOT referred to as “gluten free.”

With regard to the rice hosts. I don’t believe they could even be used to confect the Blessed Sacrament.

That’s not the reason why. Eastern Catholic and Orthodox churches us leavened bread. The reason leavened bread is not used in the West is because the Church says so.

to OP first simply ask at the office, the lady may not have been knowledgeable.

No, rice hosts are not valid matter for Eucharist and no consecration would be effected if they were used.

the so-called gluten free hosts are not, they are very low gluten, and patients with those disorders should ask their doctors if they are permitted, inform the pastor so they can be ordered, consecrated and given to them at the Mass they attend.

If your condition precludes ingesting even that small amount, arrange ahead of time to receive only from the chalice, one prepared for you, not the priest’s chalice which will have a tiny piece of the host in it.

There are some logistics involved so you can’t simply ask at the time of communion, it takes some planning, which the parish staff will be happy to do for you.

Perhaps this letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, written by then-Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, might be of some help:


This is what the letter says, in part:

A. The use of gluten-free hosts and mustum

  1. Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.
  1. Low-gluten hosts (partially gluten-free) are valid matter, provided they contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread without the addition of foreign materials and without the use of procedures that would alter the nature of bread.
  1. Mustum, which is grape juice that is either fresh or-preserved by methods that-suspend its fermentation without altering its nature (for example, freezing), is valid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.

I hope this helps resolve the question.

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