Wine at Communion

I am currious about one point. I agree with the Catholic Church that the bread at the Eucharist should be unleavened. However should the wine contain alcohol or just be juice. The question comes from the fact that the first Lord’s Supper was at the eating of the Passover. The Mosaic law prohibitted consuming anything that had been made with leaven (yeast) during Passover, not just bread. Now I am not an expert on wine making but my understanding is that it is made with yeast. If this is the case, would not the wine at the Last Supper been alcohol free?

I doubt that it could have been alcohol free, because it would have been grape juice - something that someone pointed out wasn’t refined until the 20th Century.


Orthodox Jews use wine for Passover. They would NOT use it if it were prohibited.

Grape juice naturally ferments - indeed before Welch developed his process in the 19th century, there was no way to keep it from fementing. Wine is and was used by Jews. Wine is required by Canon Law.

I would be shocked to learn that Jews (or anyone else for that matter) 2000 years ago had any idea that yeast was involved in fermentation - since fermentation would occur if you just left grape juice alone, adding nothing at all…

  • Unleavened bread is used in the Latin Rite of the Church, but not all Eastern Rites.

  • Wine is most certainly PARVE. Wine is consumed by observant Jews during Passover. Yeast was not overtly added to making wine in those days (yeast came in contact with the juice through other means.)

I once discussed this with a Protestant who used this to argue her group’s man-made position of no-alcohol consumption. Apparently she never took the time to actually research the Judaic use of wine, nor could she provide a biblical proof-text that supported her position.

You have to look at when passover is and check to see that Israel is in the northern hemisphere and then look and see what time of year grapes are harvested. lets see here hmm what happens to grape juice that has been sitting around for several months?

Of course you cannot get fresh grapes in the spring unless you have them shipped in from the southern hemisphere…which I highly doubt happend in the last supper era.

The protestant argument is based temperance era foolishness.


It should also be noted that grape juice can be substituted for wine in special circumstances. Alcoholic Priests can have grape juice in their chalice and wine served to the congragation.

At my last retreat for alcoholics, the Priest had wine in his chalice, and us alcoholics had white grape juice. At another retreat, the alcoholic Priest AND us alcoholics all shared red grape juice.:o

So of course at most masses I skip the wine entirely. I know Jesus understands and approves.:thumbsup:

Be careful. Pasteurized grape juice may NEVER be used in the Mass. Unadulterated grape juice that is frozen just as it begins to ferment (mustum), thus arresting further fermentation is allowed, but only for celebrating clergy – not for the laity. Mustum is not grape juice, but wine with an extremely low level of alcohol.

If a priest tried to confect the Eucharist using Welch’s Grape Juice, the transformation would not take place.

Laypersons who cannot consume the Precious Blood confected from approved wine are to receive Holy Communion under one species. Similarly, clerics with the same issue who might normally concelebrate, do not. They instead receive Holy Communion under one species.

Finally, you don’t “skip the wine entirely” at most Masses. You skip the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ offered via the chalice…

Yeast is added to beers and wines now to control the fermentation process, which would happen naturally in an uncontrolled manner. We now have a better understanding of how and why fermentation occurs. We can, through ingredient, fermentation temperature, and a whole slew of other variables my homebrewing husband could explain, modify the alcholic content of beers and wines.

The ancient Israelites could neither modify, nor stop the fermentation process, as wild yeast (airborne yeasts) are present. The prohibition against leaven refered to the addition of yeast to foods- there was no understanding of airborne yeasts at the time.



grape juice begins fermentign the second it is squeezed (due to airborne yeasts and bacteria). The only way to stop the process is by pasturization.

One can either allow it to go to vinegar from airborn bacteria, or ferment it into wine with yeast.

Since Scripture say it was WINE, not VINEGAR, we know it was yeasted.

NO grape juice is NEVER used.

What IS used in those circumstance is a type of very low alcohol called mustum.

The juice is allowed to begin fermentation, but the fermentation process is halted early on by freezing, and then pasturizing the wine.

It is wine, but very low alcohol wine.

Are you sure? I am on antebuse, and I had no reaction from drinking the “white grape juice”. It doesn’t take much alcohol to set off an alcohol-antebuse reaction.:confused:

If it was actual white grape juice you recieved, and not wine (or mustum), then you did not recieve the Eucharist in that species.

The only valid matter for the Eucharist is wheat bread and wine. Grape juice cannot be consecrated.

More specifically non-fortified wine made from grapes. Examples such as sake (rice wine), Champagne (sugar added) and port (fortified with spirits) are not acceptable…

Also, yeast need not be added by man to make either wine or beer – nature has been doing it for a very long time…


Also, yeast need not be added by man to make either wine or beer – nature has been doing it for a very long time…

And nature has been turing it into vinegar even longer :stuck_out_tongue: :thumbsup:

You have to be VERY careful on what you are exposing the wort to.

Good source for use of Mustum ( and low gluten hosts as well) in Mass.

No. You can stop fermentation by freezing – or boiling for that matter.

Wine was made for THOUSANDS of years before anyone had a clue about the impact of bacteria and other micro organisms on grape juice.

Their wine making process and nature were no doubt introducing micro organisms (both good and bad) into their grape juice, but they had no clue about what was going on, or really how to control things…

Pasteurization is done by a heat or cold method. You guys are talking about the same thing.

Listen the Old Testament specifically talks about not drinking TOO MUHCH wine to avoid drunkeness… Now can a person get drunk from drinking too much grape juice?

If I remember correctly, according to the liturgical direction, it is defined what kind of WINE could be used. I believe the alcohol content has to be a certain percentage and it has to grape wine which then is transformed into the Blood of Christ.


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