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Celiac On Contdown With Keith Olbermann.

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Posted 17 August 2004 - 05:14 PM

*Countdown* Argh.. can't edit title, lol.

It was just on, but I'm on the Eastcoast.. so maybe someone else will have a chance to catch it on the westcoast? Though it is repeated here, at 12 ET time too.

They had on the girl and mother mentioned in this thread. Thought I'd start a new thread, since it was on a TV show others might get a chance to see. Sorry if that was bad.

At the MSNBC website, don't see a link for the story, but maybe they'll have something tomorrow. I thought it was fairly good (for it's length). And the host mentioned he has it too.

So, should be at least a few more people thinking, ohh.. that disease doesn't sound good, hopefully. =)
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Posted 18 August 2004 - 12:55 PM

No links to any video, but here's the transcript of the interview if anyone was interested.

OLBERMANN:  You don‘t have to be religious to be startled by this.  The Vatican will apparently have the final say on whether or not an eight-year old girl from New Jersey actually received her first holy communion three months ago.

The local diocese has ruled the communion invalid because the wafers used were gluten free.  They were not made of wheat, because the girl is severely allergic to wheat.  The spirit of Christ is supposed to enter the wafer just before its consumption.  And nobody‘s explained why it couldn‘t enter a rice wafer as easily as a wheat wafer, but that doesn‘t seem to bother anybody.

Our number two story in the COUNTDOWN, should a church put a parent in a position to have to deliberately sicken a child as part of a religious ritual.

I‘m joined now by Haley Waldman and by her mother, Elizabeth Pelly-Waldman.  We thank you both for coming in.


OLBERMANN:  Elizabeth, you and your daughter have Celiac Disease.  I know that all too well.  That‘s—I have that, too.  My executive producer‘s daughter has it probably as bad as you can have it.  But can you explain to our viewer just how serious the problem is?

PELLY-WALDMAN:  Sure, Celiac is very serious and has to be taken seriously.  Because the body‘s immune system attacks the lining of the small intestines.  In response to the gluten, a person with Celiac becomes malnourished.

Haley, for example, suffers from osteopeni, a bone loss, because her damaged intestines do not absorb calcium properly. 

If a person with Celiac does not adhere to the diet, they increase the risk of developing cancer.

OLBERMANN:  So this worked out that a sympathetic priest gave Haley her first communion.  And instead of a wheat wafer, it was a rice wafer.  And this is big enough of a controversy that somebody at the Vatican has to OK this?  How did it get to this point?

PELLY-WALDMAN:  Yes, it is.  Church doctrine states that in  keeping with the traditions of  the last supper, the host must contain some wheat, some gluten to be the valid body of Christ.  So the question I pose to Cardinal Ratsing (ph) or to the Vatican is how does the consumption of a rice-based host versus a wheat-based toast corrupt those traditions?  Does the divinity of the Eucharist lay in wheat?

OLBERMANN:  And did you get an answer?  Or are you anticipating one?

PELLY-WALDMAN:  Not yet.  I am anticipating one.  I was told that the Vatican will be responding to my plight. 

OLBERMANN:  Haley, tell me if you can, how careful do you have to be when you‘re eating?

HALEY WALDMAN, CHURCH SAYS HER COMMUNION DOESN‘T COUNT:  I have to be very careful when I‘m eating.

OLBERMANN:  You have to look at the labels on everything.  You have to check everything before you read it, to make sure—even if it‘s like chewing gum or something like that?


OLBERMANN:  Goodness.  Haley, what do you hope happens about the communion wafer?

WALDMAN:  I hope that they change their mind and say I can have the communion again. 

OLBERMANN:  It‘s very important to you, isn‘t it?


OLBERMANN:  Well, Elizabeth, I guess it‘s very important to you, too. 

The bottom line here, for somebody with Celiac, even the slightest amount of wheat can be like poison as you mentioned, all the things that can go wrong, internal bleeding, bone density loss, organ disorders, malnutrition, digestive problems of every kind.

And maybe the most—the one that we would just sort of dismiss, but maybe it‘s the most important on a regular basis.  It can make your stomach feel like it‘s exploding.  Does somebody do you think in the church somehow think that God wants anybody to suffer that way if they don‘t have to?  Or to you, is this a question of somebody being underinformed?

PELLY-WALDMAN:  Absolutely not.  In no way shape or form do I think the church understands the capacity of Celiac to harm someone.  I do not suggest that they would offer her this host as a viable option that they knew what it could do to her. 

OLBERMANN:  So where is it right now?  What do you expect to have  happen?  And what kind of support have you gotten?

PELLY-WALDMAN:  Well, I believe that this a cannonball, a man made ball.  And I do not  believe Christ would want my child to obey a canon law that could be potentially harmful to her.

I believe the church can grow and change to meet the needs of the people.  And as I‘ve increased awareness of our plight, I‘ve really  shown the Catholic church is an overwhelming response of support and an outpouring of compassion for Haley and for all Celiacs. 

OLBERMANN:  Where are we in terms of numbers?  In terms of Celiac?  It‘s probably something nobody in the audience has ever heard of before, isn‘t it?

PELLY-WALDMAN:  Right.  But the most recent study out of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Celiac Research is suggesting now that 1 in 133 people actually have Celiac. 

OLBERMANN:  What sort of percentage of that?  Nationwide, is it two or three percent?

PELLY-WALDMAN:  Yes, yes. 

OLBERMANN:  Goodness.

Elizabeth Pelly-Waldman, and her daughter Haley, some of the stories that we do have gray areas in them but as someone who knows a little bit about Celiac disease, you guys are right.  They‘re wrong.  And I hope they figure it out fast.  All the best.  Thanks for coming on the show. 

PELLY-WALDMAN:  Thank you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Thanks. 


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Posted 18 August 2004 - 01:45 PM

that's interesting, I wish I had seen it
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Posted 19 August 2004 - 02:58 AM

Surely, others have had this issue - any Catholic Celiacs out there?

I hope it doesn't seem the stats are exaggerated since anyone who knows basic math knows that 1 in 133 would be less than 1%, not the 2-3 % as Oberman said.
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Posted 19 August 2004 - 05:42 AM

I actually saw this the other night as well. Flipping channels at the gym (both the Cubs game and Olympics were on commercial break!) and actually passed the channel, but the line at the bottom caught my eye. Said something about the little girl couldn't have communion. Turned back and found the whole interview to be very accurate and compelling. Unfortunately, as I looked around the gym, not one other tv was turned to this station, but oh well. If even one more person was educated...

Happy Thursday everyone!

Michelle in IL
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