(Celiac.com 05/14/2000) Some bishops conferences
(e.g.: Chile) have allowed communicants to take communion in
the form of consacrated wine alone. Nowadays, in some countries
(the U.K. for instance), wafers made of wheat which contains
only traces of gluten - and hence probably not deletereous for
the celiac patient - are being made. The Vatican has allowed
the use of such wafers through a statement of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of Faith of June 19th, 1995.
Bishops Conference of England and Wales, for instance, has
stated recently that they follow the 1995 norms on low-gluten
altar breads from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In implementing these norms, the Conference established a certificate
for those affected by the coeliac condition. This is then administered
in the local diocese.
following comes from the report of the English and Welsh bishops
meeting of November 1997. Certificate for coeliac sufferers:
its Low Week 1996 meeting, the Bishops Conference asked that
its advisory panel on the coeliac condition draw up a suitable
certificate for use by those with the coeliac condition to show
that they have received permission for the use of low-gluten
altar breads as valid matter for the celebration of Mass. Such
a certificate was approved by the Bishops Conference. Britain
has one of the highest rates of the coeliac condition in the
world. This certificate enables sufferers to present a low-gluten
host for consecration, particularly when traveling and in regions
where they are not known by the priest. Those with the condition
may obtain the certificate by applying to their parish priest.
- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, norms concerning
the use of low-gluten altar breads and mustum [non-alcoholic
wine] as matter for the celebration of the Eucharist, 22 June
Concerning permission to use low-gluten altar breads:
A. This may be granted by Ordinaries to priests and laypersons
affected by celiac disease, after presentation of a medical
Conditions 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 presentation of a medical certificate.
By mustum is understood fresh juice from grapes, or juice
preserved by suspending its fermentation (by means of
freezing or other methods which do not alter its nature).
In general, those who have received permission to use
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 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 laypersons 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 or suffer from alcoholism
or 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.
are given to Tom Horwood, Esq., Catholic Media Office, The Bishops
Conference of England and Wales, and to Ernesto Guifaldes, M.D.
of the Pontificia Unicersidad Catolica de Chile.
to the UK Coeliac Society you can now obtain gluten-free Communion Wafers
from the following: