Why can't celiacs and receive the Eucharist under the form of bread?

I have recently developed Celiac’s disease and I am Catholic. I have been doing a lot of reading on taking the Eucharist. One thread in particular had a lot of answers: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=366388&highlight=Celiac

However, if all of that is true, which I have always believed it to be true- that it really is THE body and blood of Christ, so why would it matter if I have Celiac’s disease. The gluten in the host should not matter because it is transformed. Is it that the bread still retains the physical properties? Then how is it the body of Christ? I am having a crisis of faith at this time, because I absolutely cannot have gluten, my body attacks itself. But I have been a firm and deep believer and practicing Catholic. So yes, I understand you can get a low gluten host (which I still would not be able to tolerate) and yes I could just take the wine.

But that’s not my question- taking the host should not matter if I am celiac’s because it shouldn’t affect me, correct? Because it is THE body of Christ, it is no longer this wheat, water and gluten mix. So why would it bother me? Why would I still have to only take the wine. And if it does affect me and I do get so sick from it, then how is it changed into the body of Christ? Please, can someone explain this to me?


The answer is very simple. Only the substance (the essence, i.e., that which makes it what it is) changes; the accidents (the non-essentials) remain the same. There is NO way that we can prove that the bread and wine actually change into the Lord’s body and blood. It is just as much a matter of faith for us as it was for the disciples. When we say that we receive the body and blood of the Lord UNDER THE APPEARANCE of bread and wine, ‘appearance’ means not only the looks, but all the physical properties that are available to our senses—including the effects of glutton and also alcohol. So alcoholics must refrain from receiving the Eucharist under the form of wine just as you must refrain from receiving the Eucharist under the form of bread. Of course, by receiving the Eucharist under only one form, one still receives the fullness of the sacrament.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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