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Catholic Church Votes to Address Gluten-free Communion Issues

Celiac.com 11/26/2014 - Catholics with celiac disease received some hopeful news recently, when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted overwhelmingly in favor of drafting of a revision to the Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities. The vote was 207 bishops in favor and one against, with one abstention.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons--G. SfasieThe bishops voted to change the guideline to accommodate people with celiac disease and others who cannot consume wheat, and have been unable to take full communion.

Because churches are required to serve communion wafers that contain wheat, numerous people have been unable to consume the wafers, and have thereby been missing out on what many deem to be a crucial part of communion.

Some Catholic churches have tried to accommodate people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities by offering low-gluten communion wafers. However, even the low-gluten versions approved by the church generally did not meet the FDA standards requiring less than 20 parts per million of gluten, and were thus unacceptable to many with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity. For these people, even small amounts of the wheat gluten can cause health problems.

Exactly what changes the bishops will make regarding the Eucharistic wafer remain to be seen. Ideally, the new guidelines will permit wafers that are safe for people with celiac disease, and which will permit them to enjoy full communion.

How do you feel about this? Is it welcome news? Do you know any catholics who’ve been missing out on communion? Stay tuned for more news on the new guidelines.

Here, you’ll find a copy of the November 2014 USCCB General Assembly Agenda Item Vote Results.

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14 Responses:

 
MichaelBoland
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
27 Nov 2014 12:35:27 PM PST
Good news.

 
J. Hergott
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said this on
01 Dec 2014 10:15:25 AM PST
Hope Canadian church's do that too.

 
Cheryl Ruffing
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said this on
01 Dec 2014 1:05:50 PM PST
I'm a bit skeptical of how substantial the changes will be, and would still be concerned about mix-ups among the hosts, unless ALL wafers became rice-based, or some such.

 
Donna
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said this on
01 Dec 2014 3:11:06 PM PST
I have been waiting for this news for ten years. I can no feel I am participating at Mass, and not an outsider.

 
michelle
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said this on
17 Aug 2015 5:11:54 PM PST
Does anyone know if there has been an official vote, as of August 2015, on allowing a gluten free communion wafer? My 11 year old daughter reacts to all 3 of the US Bishops approved "low-Gluten" communion wafers. Her school Mass does not provide the precious blood.

 
Linda

said this on
01 Dec 2014 3:43:38 PM PST
Excellent news and progress. I for one, cannot tolerate the low gluten host.

 
Kathy
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said this on
01 Dec 2014 5:48:44 PM PST
If you are knowledgeable on Catholic doctrine, you would know that Communion under EITHER species is FULL Communion. I venerate the host and then go to the chalice to receive Communion. I have never felt deprived.

 
Paul
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said this on
02 Dec 2014 9:36:25 PM PST
Amen

 
Kristi
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said this on
01 Dec 2014 6:04:28 PM PST
My Catholic church provides a gluten free host - no wheat at all - for my son. It is kept in its own container at the altar, the priest does not touch the host but instead tips over the container into my son's hands to ensure there is no cross contamination. When I had to originally approach the church about it their response was that it was their duty to make sure my son could take communion safely, the priest had no issue with the wafer having no wheat. I'm pretty sure the brand is EnerG, made with sweet rice and potato flour.

 
Susan
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said this on
01 Dec 2014 6:45:46 PM PST
Great news!

 
Joyce
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said this on
01 Dec 2014 8:51:51 PM PST
Good news, but I wonder if they will go far enough. I am one who does not have a severe gastric reaction but 24-36 hours after receiving my low-gluten host (handed to me in a separate pyx, I have an outbreak of dermatitis herpetiformis rash, usually on my neck. I can only guess at the damage receiving communion does to my small intestine. Anyhow, I live in hope.

 
Sheila
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said this on
03 Dec 2014 7:48:40 AM PST
Glad to see article. I receive the Precious Blood. Both the Host and the wine are fully the body blood soul and divinity of Jesus. Not every. Catholic understands this, unfortunately. You are not "missing out" if you can only receive the wine. No one has the authority to use a non-wheat host. I have wondered if a gliadin-free wafer could be produced.

 
Mary
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said this on
05 Jan 2015 7:57:02 AM PST
Since the Body and Blood are joined during consecration, I take only the wine. It did feel odd at first but it's the safest way to receive Communion.

 
Lucille Cholerton
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said this on
24 Apr 2015 2:22:36 PM PST
I hope other churches will follow this lead. I am a Methodist. I cannot eat the wafer or bread host.




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