Guifaldes, M.D. of the Pontificia Unicersidad Catolica de Chile
has sent me much information, is particularly knowledgeable
in this area. If you have any questions about this subject,
please contact Ernesto at: firstname.lastname@example.org
following is a letter dated March 10, 1996, and was sent to
the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences from the Vatican.
It represents the official position of the Catholic Church with
regard to gluten and the Eucharist.
recent years, this Dicastery has followed closely the development
of the question of the use of low-gluten altar breads and mustum
as matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.
careful study, conducted in collaboration with a number of concerned
Episcopal Conferences, this Congregation in its ordinary session
of June 22, 1994 has approved the following norms, which I am
pleased to communicate:
Concerning permission to use low-gluten altar breads:
This may be granted by Ordinaries to priests and lay persons
affected by celiac disease, after presentation of a medical
for the validity of the matter:
Special hosts quibus glutinum ablatum est are invalid
matter for the celebration of the Eucharist;
Low-gluten hosts are valid matter, provided that they
contain the amount of gluten sufficient to obtain
the confection of bread, that there is no addition
of foreign materials, and that the procedure for making
such hosts is not such as to alter the nature of the
substance of the bread.
Concerning permission to use mustum:
The preferred solution continues to be Communion per intinctionem,
or in concelebration under the species of bread alone.
Nevertheless, the permission to use mustum can be granted
by Ordinaries to priests affected by alcoholism or other
conditions which prevent the ingestion of even the smallest
quantity of alcohol, after the presentation of a medical
By mustum is understood fresh juice from grapes, or juice
preserved by suspending its fermentation (by means of
freezing of other methods which do not alter its nature).
In general, those who have received permission to use
the mustum are prohibited from presiding at concelebrated
Masses. There may be some exceptions however: in the case
of a Bishop or Superior General; or, with prior approval
of the Ordinary, at the celebration of the anniversary
of priestly ordination or other similar occasions. In
these cases, the one who presides is to communicate under
both the species of bread and that of the mustum, while
for the other concelebrants a chalice shall be provided
in which normal wine is to be consecrated.
In the very rare instances of lay persons requesting this
permission, recourse must be made to the Holy See.
The Ordinary must ascertain that the matter used conforms
to the above requirements.
Permissions are to be given only for as long as the situation
continues which motivated the request.
Scandal is to be avoided.
Given the centrality of the celebration of the Eucharist
in the life of the priest, candidates for the priesthood
who are affected by celiac disease of suffer from alcoholism
of similar conditions may not be admitted to Holy Orders.
Since the doctrinal questions in this area have now been
decided, disciplinary competence is entrusted to the Congregation
for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Concerned Episcopal Conferences shall report to the Congregation
for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
every two years regarding the application of these norms.
With warm regards and best wishes, I am Sincerely yours in Christ.
The leader of the fight for Celiacs
in the Catholic Church has recently died. Archbishop Derek
Worlock of Liverpool was diagnosed in the 1980s with celiac
disease and presented a strong case in Rome for celiac sufferers
to be allowed to receive special hosts at Communion, which
was reluctantly granted. He died of lung cancer on February