Why Gluten Free hosts?


#1

I have been wondering why someone might request a Gluten Free Host during communion. I understand that some people are gluten intolerant.

However, it is my understanding that the consecrated host is no longer bread, but the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. Furthermore, the wine ceases to be wine and becomes the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus as well.

Can anyone shed some light on this apparent contradiction?

Thank you,

Rob


#2

Celiac-sprue disease can have pretty devestating effects of its sufferers. For example, I know an elderly lady who suffers from the disease AND she also is a recovering alcololic. Therefore, she cannot receive the “normal” host and prefers not to receive the consecrated wine. If she were to receive the wheaten host she would have diahorrea on the spot.

The vatican has recognized this problem and allows low-gluten hosts (but does not allow gluten-free hosts or other non-wheat grain hosts), and allows the use of must (or mustum).

While the hosts and wine ARE transubstantiated into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ - the “accidents” of the bread and wine remain. That is, the gluten which makes the wheat bread remains and has the same effect of the Celiac-sprue sufferer, and the alcohol which makes the wine wine remains and (if sufficient quantity is taken) can effect the alcoholic.

So, it is true that the consecrated hosts is no longer bread - but, it still possesses the “accidents” which made it bread.

Hope this helps.


#3

Sean,

Thank you for your response. I guess I am just confused because I thought the ‘accidents’ were the properties that our senses detect (smell, color, etc.), but not the substance itself.

In other words, I thought the properties remained, but the substance changed. Meaning if the substance of ‘bread’ were no longer present, then neither would be the Gluten. If the substance of Wine were no longer present, then neither would be the alcohol.

I must be missing something.

Thank you,

Rob


#4

To further explain the term accident…

Substance and Accidents - Thomas Aquinas

Let us examine more attentively any one of the many things which surround us on all sides, – a particular oak tree, for instance. This particular individual thing possesses many characteristics: it has a definite height, a trunk of cylindrical form and of a definite diameter, its bark is rugged, or ‘gnarled’ as the poets say, its foliage is of a somber color, it occupies a certain place in the forest, its leaves exercise a certain action upon the surrounding air, and itself is in turn influenced by things external to itself by means of the sap and the vitalizing elements which it contains. All these are so many attributes or determinations of being, or, to use the scholastic terminology, so many ‘categories,’ – quantity, quality, action, passion, time, space, relation.

But all the above categories or classes of reality presuppose a still more more fundamental one. Can anyone conceive the being ‘courageous’ without someone who is courageous? Can one conceive quantity, thickness, growth, and the rest, without something – our oak tree in the above instance – to which they belong? Neither the action of growing, nor the extension which comes from quantity, can be conceived as independent of a subject. This fundamental subject Aristotle and the Schoolmen after him call the substance. The substance is reality which is able to exist in and by itself (ens per se stans); it is self-sufficient. It has no need of any other subject in which to inhere, but it is also the support of all the rest, which therefore are called accidents, – id quod accidit alicui rei, that which supervenes on something.

In Mass, the substance of the bread and wine is consecrated to Body and Blood. The accidents- or all the other sensory items that tell you that thing is bread/wine remain intact and can affect you accordingly.

radicalacademy.com/philaquinasmdw8.htm


#5

[quote=rmw82]Sean,

Thank you for your response. I guess I am just confused because I thought the ‘accidents’ were the properties that our senses detect (smell, color, etc.), but not the substance itself.
[/quote]

That’s exactly what they are. More specifically, the substance is what can not be seperated from the thing. You can change the color of the bread, over cook it to change the taste, break it into a zillion pieces, and it might not look like bread, but essentially it’s ‘substance’ remains bread.

In other words, I thought the properties remained, but the substance changed.

I believe this is also correct. When Father performs the Mass, the bread undergoes a COMPLETE ‘substance’ change. That is, the substance of bread is no longer ‘x’ but Jesus’ Body. The accidents of bread all remain.

Meaning if the substance of ‘bread’ were no longer present, then neither would be the Gluten. If the substance of Wine were no longer present, then neither would be the alcohol.

This is where I believe you veer off course. What makes it bread, to my eyes and ears, digestive system, and any scientific molecular knowledge, stays bread (including the gluten). These are accidents of bread.

The substance- that which is intangible- is what changes. It is what changed from ‘food’ or ‘x’ or whatever term you wish to call the substance of bread- to the SUBSTANCE of the Host, the ‘Body of Christ’.


#6

I see, so if the accidents fool my eyes (my senses) it also fools my digestive system. Thank you for breaking it down for me.

On a side note, I know two people that can’t drink alcohol, yet still receive the consecrated wine during mass. One is allergic in some sort and the other is on medication that makes his face turn red and hot with even the slightest bit of consumed alcohol.

Why do you think this doesn’t affect them?

Thanks.


#7

[quote=rmw82] On a side note, I know two people that can’t drink alcohol, yet still receive the consecrated wine during mass. One is allergic in some sort and the other is on medication that makes his face turn red and hot with even the slightest bit of consumed alcohol.

Why do you think this doesn’t affect them?

Thanks.
[/quote]

The alcohol in the wine, which undiluted is only about 8.5% by volume is diluted with water, reducing the amount of alcohol. The small amount of diluted wine is obviously insufficient to cause the affect. The term “slightest bit” is a little misleading; alcohol (in trace form) is in so many items you’d be amazed.


#8

The guidelines are contained in The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on the Liturgy document:
The Use of Mustum and Low-Gluten Hosts at Mass


#9

[quote=Tom]The alcohol in the wine, which undiluted is only about 8.5% by volume is diluted with water, reducing the amount of alcohol. The small amount of diluted wine is obviously insufficient to cause the affect. The term “slightest bit” is a little misleading; alcohol (in trace form) is in so many items you’d be amazed.
[/quote]

That’s true, Tom. There is more alcohol in a Hershey bar (in the form of sugar alcohols - a by-product of the manufacturing process) than there is in one sip of diluted sacramental wine.
God bless,
Paul


#10

However, a recovering alcoholic might want to avoid it, as it can trigger their addiction.

A friend of mine has this problem. He’s taken the Precious Blood a couple of times, and it made him crave a drink. He had this same problem at a Byzantine rite Mass, where the Body and the Blood are mixed together and served with a spoon.


#11

It could be the smell and taste of Alchohol triggered a memory… I knew an Alchoholic priest that would use Grape Juice for mass.

I have read that a couple times documented transubstantiation has occoured.

The Non Gluton free communion wafers, were developed and made from Rice by some Benedcitine Nuns but the Catholic church and the conference of Bishops has declared that as a history of tradition. It will only condone the consecrecreation of the traditional unleavend bread of Whole wheat and WIne made from Grapes. That is until someone decides there going to try and consecrete GLuton free wafers and they get inocously transubstantiated. I could see it happening.


#12

catholickey.org/index.php3?gif=news.gif&mode=view&issue=20040409&article_id=2858

The Benedictine nuns Low Gluten Wafers are not made from rice and have been deemed to be acceptable by the church and by several celiac sufferers organizations.


#13

Sorry Bill, I cannot understand the sense of what you have written, please help me here:

I have read that a couple times documented transubstantiation has occoured.

What do you mean by that? Transubstantiation takes place every time that a validly ordained priest says Mass - provided that he has the intention of what the Church does, uses valid matter [Gluten or low-gluten wheaten bread and wine or must/mustum), and says the words of consecration, specifically; “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”.

The Non Gluton free communion wafers, were developed and made from Rice

You have employed a double negative here (non and “gluten free” means "hosts which DO contain gluten. Thus you are saying “Normal wheaten hosts were developed and made from Rice” - which is non-sense, and untrue!

[quote]
by some Benedictine Nuns but the Catholic church and the conference of Bishops has declared that as a history of tradition. It will only condone the consecrecreation of the traditional unleavend bread of Whole wheat and WIne made from Grapes.

The bit about the Benedictine Nuns is incorrect - as pointed out by Seatuck.

That is until someone decides there going to try and consecrete GLuton free wafers and they get inocously transubstantiated. I could see it happening.

It is impossible for “gluten free wafers” to be transubstantiated - “inocously” or not! One might see it attempted - but one will NEVER “see” it happen - for it is impossible for invalid matter to be consecrated.


#14

It is impossobile to fly but the saints do it all the time.

Tell me does your Parish use Whole wheat or wheat communion wafers. You sure have alot of fun picking at things.


#15

[quote=Sean O L]What do you mean by that? Transubstantiation takes place every time that a validly ordained priest says Mass - provided that he has the intention of what the Church does, uses valid matter [Gluten or low-gluten wheaten bread and wine or must/mustum), and says the words of consecration, specifically; “This is My Body” and “This is My Blood”.

[/QUOTE]Perhaps he is referring to phenomena such as the consecrated host that started bleeding human blood in Betania, Venezuela. I have seen footage that was taped at the actual occurance…makes you want to fall prostrate in front of the television :gopray:
[/quote]


#16

catholickey.org/index.php3?gif=news.gif&mode=view&issue=20040409&article_id=2858

CLYDE - The small, paper-thin flakes are the texture of potato chips but not nearly as fattening. They aren’t sweet or nutritious and would fail miserably in the snack-food market. Yet thousands of people across the country, and even the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, are singing their praises.
These unexciting wafers are the result of more than a decade of trial and error by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to develop an altar bread that is safe for consumption by sufferers of celiac disease, yet also remain in compliance with the strict guidelines of Canon Law.

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder triggered by gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and other grains. It affects about one in 130 Americans. The Vatican requires that Communion hosts contain some gluten, an essential ingredient in bread, but no one had discovered how to make an edible host with a low-enough gluten level to be considered safe for celiac sufferers. That is, until a little over a year ago, when a pair of Benedictine sisters, all but defeated by years of failure, did something no one had ever done.

“It was definitely the Holy Spirit at work that night,” Sister Jane Heschmeyer recalls.

The sisters at Clyde, who have been making altar bread for nearly a century, began receiving pleas from celiac sufferers 15 years ago. For a brief time the sisters offered altar bread with somewhat lower gluten content, but it was still too much for most people with the disease.

Facing the legal risk of marketing bread with marginal gluten levels to celiacs, an inability to find common ground between church law and celiac sufferers, and the cost of research and production, the sisters discontinued the bread. But Sister Jane couldn’t let it go. For several years she carried on alone, experimenting with recipes and conducting exhaustive research.

“I was studying the canons and gathering information,” she said. “I was in touch with the celiac association, grain specialists, the USDA, doctors, lawyers, everybody I could think of.”

Meanwhile the phone kept ringing. “Please keep trying,” a woman would plead. “My son is having his first Communion. Is there anything you can do?” a father would ask.

Sister Jane’s resolve grew stronger with each call.

The church has long said that celiac sufferers may fully receive the Eucharist in the form of wine, but even the small bit of host a celebrant drops into the wine can be harmful to many. In addition, Dennis McManus, associate director of the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat on Liturgy, noted that some people with celiac disease also suffer from a cross-allergy to wine.

The issue made national headlines in 2001 when the parents of a 5-year-old Boston girl with celiac disease left the Catholic Church after their pastor and subsequently Cardinal Bernard Law would not allow them to substitute the wheat host with a rice wafer for her First Communion.

Furthermore, the church has ruled that a priest who is unable to receive the Eucharist in both species “may not celebrate the Eucharist individually, nor may he preside at a concelebration.” The church further warned that bishops must “proceed with great caution before admitting to Holy Orders those candidates unable to digest gluten or alcohol without serious harm.”

There are no statistics available on how many Catholics are affected by celiac disease. But Dr. Alessio Fasano, the University of Maryland researcher whose ground-breaking study last year revealed that the disease is far more prevalent than previously thought, told The Catholic Review, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, “If there are about 300 people in church for Mass on Sunday, then we now know that two or three of them at least are likely to have celiac.”

Alessio, a Roman Catholic, found that more than 2 million Americans suffer from the disease, which he contends is often misdiagnosed. What was once considered a rare condition is twice as common as Crohn’s ulcerative colitis and cystic fibrosis.

Celiac disease can be life threatening. Left untreated by a gluten-free diet, it can lead to osteoporosis, malnutrition, central and peripheral nervous system disease, pancreatic disease, internal bleeding, damage to internal organs, gynecological and fertility problems, and even some forms of cancer. It may impact mental functions, and can aggravate autism (including a common autism spectrum disorder called Asperger’s syndrome), attention deficit disorder, and even schizophrenia.


#17

Sister Jane’s resolve grew stronger with each call.

The church has long said that celiac sufferers may fully receive the Eucharist in the form of wine, but even the small bit of host a celebrant drops into the wine can be harmful to many. In addition, Dennis McManus, associate director of the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat on Liturgy, noted that some people with celiac disease also suffer from a cross-allergy to wine.

The issue made national headlines in 2001 when the parents of a 5-year-old Boston girl with celiac disease left the Catholic Church after their pastor and subsequently Cardinal Bernard Law would not allow them to substitute the wheat host with a rice wafer for her First Communion.

Furthermore, the church has ruled that a priest who is unable to receive the Eucharist in both species “may not celebrate the Eucharist individually, nor may he preside at a concelebration.” The church further warned that bishops must “proceed with great caution before admitting to Holy Orders those candidates unable to digest gluten or alcohol without serious harm.”

There are no statistics available on how many Catholics are affected by celiac disease. But Dr. Alessio Fasano, the University of Maryland researcher whose ground-breaking study last year revealed that the disease is far more prevalent than previously thought, told The Catholic Review, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, “If there are about 300 people in church for Mass on Sunday, then we now know that two or three of them at least are likely to have celiac.”

Alessio, a Roman Catholic, found that more than 2 million Americans suffer from the disease, which he contends is often misdiagnosed. What was once considered a rare condition is twice as common as Crohn’s ulcerative colitis and cystic fibrosis.

Celiac disease can be life threatening. Left untreated by a gluten-free diet, it can lead to osteoporosis, malnutrition, central and peripheral nervous system disease, pancreatic disease, internal bleeding, damage to internal organs, gynecological and fertility problems, and even some forms of cancer. It may impact mental functions, and can aggravate autism (including a common autism spectrum disorder called Asperger’s syndrome), attention deficit disorder, and even schizophrenia.

Sister Jane gained a study partner in 1999. Not long after joining the postulancy, Sister Lynn Marie D’Souza happened upon Sister Jane experimenting in the kitchen and offered to help.

“She didn’t have a scientific background,” Sister Lynn said with as much mock hauteur as the friendly and engaging nun can muster. The young postulant, who came to Clyde with a degree in biomedical science, left the kitchen that night enthralled. She was soon assigned to the altar bread department where she fielded phone calls from celiac suffers.

There were people calling who, against doctors’ orders, were taking Communion at a risk to their health.

“One woman who was 40 years old had been diagnosed and had to give up Communion,” Sister Lynn said. “She asked me, ‘How can I give that up?’”

Another mother called about her 18-year-old daughter who had recently received the bad news.

“My daughter is on a gluten-free diet and that’s not easy,” the woman told Sister Lynn. “She can’t eat the same things as her friends. But she never complains about that. The only thing she complains about is that she can’t receive the Eucharist.”

“Imagine,” Sister Lynn said. “An 18-year-old girl who is so in love with her faith and wants to practice it, and she can’t.” Wheat starch and water. That’s what the sisters had to work with. Flour was out of the question.

But Sister Jane says experiment after experiment was a lesson in frustration: “Either the batter couldn’t be stirred or it would come out like plastic.”

The two nuns cooked and consumed hundreds of batches. Every one tasted terrible.

“It was like eating .” Sister Lynn said, grasping for the right words, “it was like eating starch!”


#18

With permission from their superiors, last year the pair, who had since been joined by a novice, Kathy Becker, delved more deeply into their work, which included making a call to McManus at the USCCB liturgy office.

“They were thrilled to hear we were working on this,” Sister Lynn said. “They’d been working on it too, and they sent us what they had.”

But there was a catch. The bishops’ eager support came with a July deadline.

With only a couple of months to go, Sister Lynn’s experimenting took on more urgency, while her hope faded.

“I’d been working with two different starches,” she said, holding back an inevitable smile. “One of them was a mess. It ran all over the cooking plate, and it came out like lace. With the other starch I could get something that looked like a host, but it tasted terrible and it was rubbery. I was about ready to give up.”

Sister Jane joined her later that night and with utter disregard for scientific methodology, said, “Why don’t we just mix the two together?”

The result was even more horrifying.

Sister Lynn declared the batter a failure. “It was sticky and horrible. We couldn’t get it off the spoon or our fingers.”

In frustration she globbed the epoxy-like mess onto the waffle iron, and the two began cleaning up. Before turning out the lights, Sister Lynn realized she’d forgotten to clean the gunk off the waffle iron.

“When I opened it, there was this perfect bread - well, perfect in our world,” she said with a laugh. “We had tasted a lot of horrible breads.”

But what they gazed upon in disbelief was a round wafer, baked evenly, with a nice texture and crispness.

“We were speechless,” Sister Lynn recalled.

Like a pair of monastic mad scientists, they immediately gobbled down their creation.

“It was delicious,” Sister Jane said, reliving the excitement a year later. “It was crisp, light and it tasted good. Personally, we think it tastes better than our regular altar bread.”

Gluten content: .01 percent.

Safe enough, according to Fasano and other medical experts, for consumption by almost all celiac suffers. But would it pass the scrutiny of the church’s hierarchy?

The answer came last July. The recipe had been approved by the Vatican, and subsequently by the U.S. bishops, as part of a new set of norms for celebrating the Eucharist. The U.S. Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy deemed the sisters’ bread “the only true, low-gluten altar bread . approved for use at Mass in the United States,” with a lower gluten level than a host developed recently in Italy and approved by the Vatican and the scientific committee of the Italian Celiac Association. The sisters also have applied to the U.S. government for a patent on their recipe.

Fasano called the sisters’ accomplishment “very wonderful news,” but added that celiac sufferers should still consult with their doctors before consuming the new hosts. In rare cases even .01 percent is still too much.

There probably won’t be a financial windfall from the sales of low-gluten bread. Novice Kathy is baking about 1,600 hosts a week, although as word gets out sales are expected to increase.

But both Sister Jane and Sister Lynn said profits were never the point. What motivated them through the long nights of research, what enabled them to force down awful-tasting failure after awful-tasting failure, were the phone calls, letters and e-mails from people of faith longing for the Body of Christ in both species.

“It is such a joy,” Sister Jane says of the response from celiac sufferers.

“We hear over and over again how much people appreciate what we have done, but I want to thank them,” Sister Lynn said. “This has been such an inspiration. To witness their desire has increased my own desire for the Eucharist.”

Recently the mother of a 12-year-old boy with celiac disease called the sisters.

Her son, she said, talked all the time about being a priest some day, but she never had the heart to tell him that door was probably closed because of something beyond his control.

“When I learned of your bread,” she said, “I knew the door was open again.”

END


#19

It is impossobile to fly but the saints do it all the time.

Tell me does your Parish use Whole wheat or wheat communion wafers. You sure have alot of fun picking at things.

Sorry, Bill, but your statements are illogical.

Could you please tell me who was the last saint YOU saw flying around? It should be able to be easily proven if “saints do it ALL the time.”

What my parish does is irrelevant. What ALL parishes are required to do is to comply with Canon and Liturgical Law. The actual composition of the Host is required to have a sufficient quantity of Wheat gluten to satisfy the requirements of Canon and Liturgical law.


#20

Bill_A, you wrote:

The Non Gluton free communion wafers, were developed and made from Rice by some Benedcitine Nuns

per message #11.

Which is disproved by the contents of Message #16 which says nothing about the sisters making rice hosts.


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