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Calling All Catholics
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Hey, just wanting to get catholic's opinions on receiving communion and being gluten free. I just started eliminating wheat from my diet and went to church today and after I went up for communion (oops) :unsure: realized that altho it has been turned into the body of Christ, it still has the physical properties of wheat bread. I want to know how others have handled similar situations and how I should bring this subject up to my priest. Any help you guys could give would be great. Thanks

Christi

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The Communion wafer is definitely not okay for us. It will destroy your intestines. Catholics have...little we can do about it. There is a low-gluten wafer deemed safe, but the prospect of ingesting gluten purposely bothers me. You'll get slightly contaminated anyway, without realizing it (in minute amounts) so that additional gluten might make it too much. The other alternative is to drink the wine, but that can also be problematic since people sometimes drink it after taking communion (crumbs) and the rim is only wiped with a handkerchief--I wouldn't recommend that either. Protestants have the option of providing a gluten-free wafer and taking that instead, but as Catholics all we can do is...hope that the Church will be more accomodating eventually. It is 100% not allowed to take a gluten-free wafer. There's a story about an 8-year-old girl whose First Communion was invalidated because she used a gluten-free wafer. See the Publications section and look for one about the Catholic Church or Communion or something--there are a couple threads on it.

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christicrete -

I suggest you talk to your priest with the following information. Go to www.benedictinesisters.org and consider using the low-gluten host. See if he will use it. A special pyx can be made available to you to contain and pass the host to you. You can also take the wine in a separage chalice, if he has not put any of the host in it. You can also sit up front and go first. There is an opportunity for contamination, but you will have to make your own decicion regarding how much is too much. Personally, I find the amount of gluten consumed from wither species is insignificant. You can actually calculate the amount of gluten you might consume. If you are extremely sensitive you might react. You almost have to give it a try to see what is best for you.

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Although I am not Roman Catholic, my granddaughter is and the priest at her church is making the exception for an older child in their parish already by using a gluten-free wafer and just looking the other way....he is a younger priest. I wonder what Jesus would have done!!!!!!!!! My granddaughter will be 7 in a year and taking her first communion in this, their new church, so it was the first thing my DDIL asked of the new priest before considering enrolling her children in that school/church. I sure hope the Roman Catholic faith will be taking a look at this issue in the near future. I am a Lutheran and because I am the only gluten-free person in our congregation which is a rather small one, I just crack some of my rice crackers up and they use them in place of the wheat wafers/same results.

Barbara

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Personally, I don't take communion anymore. The doctors I consulted said low gluten hosts will damage the intestine overtime. For my daughter's 1st communion last year she (and I) received the low gluten host (from the benadicine sisters, mentioned above). I explained to her that until a completely non-gluten host is acceptable this would be her only time receiving the host. Each time we go to mass we "remember" her first communtion and recieving Christ.

I know this is unorthodox, but it works for us.

The priest also offered the wine instead, but it is a shared chalice and I don't want to risk gluten contamination among other things.

This is an ongoing dillemma for me... I wish there was an easy answer.

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Ruth,

Apparently what you are doing is not unorthodox, it is very orthodox and has the official support of the church, communing with God while sitting out as it were, I mostly do that (I occasionally use a low gluten one but I can't see where I've put them and they might be stale anyway by now, I didn't get them, someone else passed them on).

Best wishes,

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I saw a thing on Dateline or 20/20 - one of those types of shows. Around 1200 celiac disease children go thru communion every year. They use specials rice wafers made from nuns (possibly the link mentioned in an earlier post). Although the local church will agree to it - and nuns make the wafers - the big catholic church will not recognize it as being official. I'm not at all catholic, so my "Wording" might be slightly off. I hope you get the idea anyways.

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:D To avoid (the risk of) going round and round in ever less well informed circles,

For everybody's information and benefit,

1. there is a URL to check out at www.catholicceliac.org

2. in this our own forum are at least two very informative previous threads around these issues, a search will turn them up immediately.

Purely personally I would like to be so bold as to mention how highly regarded it is not only by Jesus but also by discerning and authoritative elements within the church to make a "spiritual communion" while "sitting out" from the "distribution of the elements".

I wonder how many misconceptions about Communion (in more than one denomination) are due to a kind of social pressure disguised in religious terms.

I have arrived at these "insights" through my own experiences.

Evidently some people say that the very low level of gluten will not hurt them when it is transformed into Jesus; some say it will have to not hurt them the first time (like Ruth); some embrace the sitting out from the start.

(I have been wavering between the first and third, but that doesn't mean I don't probably need to go absolutely 100%.)

I wish to emphatically stand up for and defend the consciences of all three groups and though no expert, wish to reassure everybody for whom this is a matter of genuine personal concern, that there is backing for all three routes in theology and church order and you should not succumb to social pressure or any feeling that anyone else is trying to make you feel, that any course of action is inferior.

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Thank you for that last reply. I guess I was struggling with what others would think by my not going up for communion and I think I needed someone to tell me that this is something between me and Jesus and speculation is purely that, speculation. I think I will contact my priest and speak with him about this and what he is willing to do. This is just such a great place when I have topics because I know noone with this and my doctor isn't the greatest believer in being totally gluten free ( I keep testing negative, but have not had a biopsy) but I just know how I feel when I eat wheat wether it is celiacs or not. By the way, where would I find a gluten-free host if we decide on that route? Thanks everyone so much, I am now rambling along so I will go, thanks again, nice to know others have been there and done that.

Christi :P

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Hi Christie,

I also have chosen not go partake in the taking of the host anymore. I am of the belief that "a little bit of gluten" here, and "a little bit of gluten there" add up to an amount that is not acceptable. Also, I don't feel comfortable drinking the wine for fear of cross-contamination (a quick swipe with a hanky doesn't do much in my eyes), but also since the SARS outbreak last year which I was unfortunately and unwittingly VERY closely involved in, I am also now extremely overly cautious when it comes to germs spreading...... :unsure:

My husband is aware of my position and totally understanding of it. He goes up with our oldest Eileen, and I stay in the pew with our other three children.....

You have to do whatever fits within your comfort level..... ;)

Karen

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Celiac is an issue that they are aware of at our church probably due mostly to the fact that one of the directors of religious education at our parish has it. At our church you have to alert the priest before mass that you will be receiving communion and he lets you know where to sit so that you will be receiving communion from him. They put the low gluten wafers into a separate pyx. Of course the majority of the time we end up getting to mass a little to late to do this so there have only been a few occassions that I have received it. I haven't had any problems with tollerating it but I'm probably not as sensitive as many others are. Before my diagnosis I never made a regular practice to taking the wine. I guess I have more of a problem with the thought of catch the latest bug going around town when taking the wine than any fear of crumbs contaminating me.

I have adjusted to not going to communion although it does make me feel a bit self conscious when people around me have to squeeze past me in my seat in order to go up themselves. I do wonder what they must be thinking. I probably feel worse for my teenage daughter who is also gluten intolerant.

I know I was shy about having a conversation with the priest about it. I found out about their protocol in an article that was printed in our bulletin. Talk to your priest sometime after mass and let him know about your diagnosis and see when he'd have sometime to talk to you. You might find that they may already be addressing this issue with others in your parish.

-Peg

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