Self communing is forbidden, correct?

At my parish, they offer low-gluten hosts for those with gluten allergies. The priest has instructed those who wish to receive one of these to tell him they want a low-gluten Host and to take the Blessed Sacrament from the paten themselves so that the priest doesn’t touch the Eucharist and spread gluten onto it. This seems borderline sacrilege. This is forbidden, right? Please provide documentation.

I think he may be going to an extreme, or someone is giving him bad advice.
All Gluten free host have a small amount of wheat in them.
On a regular basis I give as gluten free host to one of my parishers, always after distributing wheat host, they have never had an issue or reflection.
At some point those glutten free host have been handle by a sacrastine who prepared for the mass, unless they wear rubber gloves when the do so, there is certanly transferance, but not enough to cause a reaction.

To answer the primary question, yes self communication is not allowed.

Deacon Frank

No documentation. Just an example of how it is done in my parish. Those who cannot receive a wheat host are given the cup. Our priests do not offer communion under both species. The cup is separate from the priest’s chalice. Those who need this let the priest know ahead of Mass, then during communion they go to the side of the altar (where there isn’t a normal communion line) and receive from this special cup.

Some people can handle more gluten than others. I’m a sacristan at my parish and when we need more consecrated we take one baggy of prepackaged low-gluten hosts and empty them on a paten, never even touching them, before I ever touch hosts. Then after the consecration and after the priest or deacon has received they use the Lavabowl to wash their hands again before taking the low-gluten hosts down to low-gluten line.

Don’t you mean a low-gluten Host? If you are using gluten-free wafers, you need to stop because they are invalid matter.

Most manufactures call them Gluten free. For all practical purposes they are containing only 1 or 2% of wheat in them. The amount is very small but makes them valid.
That’s the reason I think the priest or someone is overreacting.

You are correct. Remember, we RECEIVE Communion. We do not take it.

Is anybody able to find anything in Canon Law, GIRM, something from the CDWDS, or anything of that sort? I want to be able to present official documentation when I bring this issue up with the priest. I really feel this is something that is a major abuse that might constitute sacrilege (although probably unintentional).

Manufacturers which label their product in such a way are contributing to some confusion. While it may be legal in most countries to label a product “gluten free” if it contains a small amount of gluten, the understanding of the Church is that gluten-free bread is not valid matter.

There are three vendors recommended by the USCCB for low-gluten wheat altar bread. The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration are well-known and respected. offers bread labeled “Gluten-free for Catholics” when in reality this is “extremely low gluten” content. They also offer invalid matter, intended for non-Catholic use, which is labeled “Zero Gluten”.

So you can see that it is imprecise for us to speak of “gluten-free” hosts. Rice crackers and barley bread is gluten-free and invalid matter. Wheat bread can never be 0% gluten but the FDA permits labeling of these as “Gluten-free” for marketing purposes. So we have to clarify what we mean or we risk confusing everyone.

I found some documentation:

“It is not licit for the faithful “to take . . . by themselves . . . and, still less, to hand . . . from one to another” the sacred host or the sacred chalice.”

  • Redemptoris Sacramentum n. 94

“The priest then takes the paten or ciborium and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession.
The faithful are not permitted to take the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them from one to another.”

  • General Instruction of the Roman Missal n. 160

While I prefer to receive the blessed sacrament at the altar rail I have been to a mass where it was offered to me on a paten.

I suppose the could be some fine hair splitting here and say that if the priest is presenting the eucharist to the person on a patton, that he is giving it to them and the are recieving by picking it up. I have people who take the eaucharist out of my hand instead of first having it places in their palm. It is being given to the person directly from the priest and not through passing the plate, so to say.

It is not permitted for the Communicant to take the Host from the paten or the palm of the EMHC’s hand. In both instances that is not receiving but taking. It is not allowed.
The Host may only be placed on the tongue of the Communicant or in the palm of the Communicant by the priest or EMHC.

So… your priest is trying to provide a means to by which gluten-sensitive Catholics might receive the host, without the danger of cross-contamination. If you go to him, accusing him of sacrilege (albeit unintentional), you might be well-advised to be ready to present him with an alternative that takes care both of the ‘sacrilege’ (as you perceive it) and of the practical way in which he can distribute both to celiac and non-celiac communicants without the danger of cross-contamination.


Is there a Eucharistic Minister giving them the cup to drink from? It sounds as if the Precious Blood is just sitting there and they “help themselves”. If so, this is wrong, very, very wrong IMO.

The Eucharistic Minister is the priest. The lay people are EMHC’s and they are not Eucharistic Ministers.

I know that, but did not want to type “Eucharistic Minister or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion”. In this case, either one being at the side altar to distribute the Precious Blood would seem to make it legitimate, so it seemed fine the way I phrased it.

I’m givining the priest the benefit of the doubt.
At what point does a person recieve. If as clergy, I am in the process of giving the person the host and instead of it going to their palm they take it with thier fingers they have recieved it form me, although not as prefered.
With the precious blood, a person is taking the chalice and drinkig from it, they have recieved it.
The only difference in a person taking the host off a patton or from a cleargy’s fingers in the 3" of metal.
I propose this is what is happening and to leave it in the hands, no pun intended, of the clergy.
Deacon Frank

By this logic, someone is unlawfully “taking” the Eucharist when they have the chalice in their hands, only to tip it into their own mouth, even if they were handed the chalice by an authorized minister. To conform to the principle you cited, the minister with the Precious Blood should “place on the tongue” that also.

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