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Celiac And Religion
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G'day everyone.

I'm having a bit of a dilemma at the moment, well not me, my girlfriend. a few months ago she was diagnosed with celiac and sinse she started a gluten free diet her health and mood has improved dramatically. I want to do and do do all I can to help her, always cook gluten free meals, we even bought a new toaster so she wouldn't get any cross-contamination. The only real problem is that her faith is really important to her. Not that that is a bad thing but she is Catholic and is used to taking communion every week at mass.

The problem is that the wafers (that symbolise the body of Christ) are made from wheat and contain gluten. Unfortunately there aren't really any gluten free options as the bread the Jesus and the disciples ate on the last supper was made with wheat and the wafer is supposed to be the same as that so my girlfriend can't take it. We have been at university the last couple of months so it is only the last few weeks, when we moved back home, that this has become a problem.

She knows that God will forgive her for only taking a blessing and not taking the bread but she sees the wafer as 'food for her soul' and feels horrible that she can't compoets mass the way she is used to. She even tried once just taking the wafer and had such cramps for therest of the day I have never seen her so depressed. And this Sunday gone was the first time she had not taken the communion and she cried for the rest of the mass and the car trip home.

I know there is a company that does gluten free wafers (I found their website already) but we live in rural Australia and it is not really feasible, on top of that she herself feels it won't be the same and did not take kindy to it when I offered it as an alternative.

So after that sob story (I'm sorry) my question is this. Someone else surely must have gone through something similar to this, either yourself or someone close to you and I could really use some help or ideas or something I can tell her apart from that it's going to be okay.

Any help would be amazing.

Thank you.

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have her talk to the priest. Taking the wine is considered the same as the host. If her church doesn't have wine every week for everyone, maybe she can arrange something with the priest ( a little paper cup of wine).

This makes me mad, too. Jesus was poor and probably ate bread made of other grains most of the time. But the Pope doesn't take my calls so I just take the wine.

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You could always try these. It might be too much gluten for her, or perhaps you could break them smaller to lessen your exposure.

Here's an interesting article on communion and wheat.

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have her talk to the priest. Taking the wine is considered the same as the host. If her church doesn't have wine every week for everyone, maybe she can arrange something with the priest ( a little paper cup of wine).

This makes me mad, too. Jesus was poor and probably ate bread made of other grains most of the time. But the Pope doesn't take my calls so I just take the wine.

Yes, this. I'm very blessed in that my home parish offers wine to everyone, so it's not been a big issue. But if her parish doesn't normally offer wine, she needs to talk to her priest. I've found that in most cases, they are helpful because their job is to ensure that the faithful receive the sacraments. I'm a music minister so I explained to my pastor why I would only receive the wine at Masses (in case some nosy-body made a big deal about it) and he even offered to look into the low-gluten hosts on my behalf. I've been receiving just the wine for the past year now and it hasn't been a big deal at all.

Now that I think about it, my celiac friend belongs to a small parish where there are a couple of other celiac and wheat-allergic parishoners. Their pastor arranged for them to have their own special small chalice of wine at one Mass each Sunday. Another poster here bought a pyx (small metal box in which to carry consecrated hosts) in which she places a low-gluten host and then gives it to the priest, who consecrates it with the other bread and then gives her the entire pyx at communion.

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I just talked this over with my coworker, who's taught Sunday school for years. Her take on this is that it's a symbolic ritual, and you can receive the spirit without actually taking the wafer (or the wine, but if that's available to you then why not).

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fair enough. She's also Catholic, but I realize there's not really any unity in the Catholic church.

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Transubstantiation isn't something that any RC church should not be unified on. It is one of the cornerstones of the church's teachings and one of the key differences between the RC church and protestant churches.

As an ex-Catholic, I was thinking about this just other day and wondered how communion was handled. It is an interesting discussion.

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fair enough. She's also Catholic, but I realize there's not really any unity in the Catholic church.

There is unity of teaching, and transubstantiation is a non-negotiable. Unfortunately, there is often bad catechesis and it sounds as if your friend is the result. Catholics should not believe that the Eucharist is symbolic.

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She is Vietnamese, and her information is from a priest who's congregation consists of people who spent years in hiding without access to any structured religion. Should I suggest she tell these people that no, in fact none of them communed with God while they were hiding? That baptizing your stillborn infants by yourself has condemned them to hell? That believing is nothing, only the physical is true?

When the structure of something becomes more important than the substance, I think something is wrong.

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Should I suggest she tell these people that no, in fact none of them communed with God while they were hiding? That baptizing your stillborn infants by yourself has condemned them to hell? That believing is nothing, only the physical is true?

The Catholic church is pretty black and white on many issues, these included. Last I recall, anyway, when I was still a practicing Catholic church. I've always understood it to be one of the reasons why so many broke from the Catholic church, when protestantism got its start.

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She is Vietnamese, and her information is from a priest who's congregation consists of people who spent years in hiding without access to any structured religion. Should I suggest she tell these people that no, in fact none of them communed with God while they were hiding? That baptizing your stillborn infants by yourself has condemned them to hell? That believing is nothing, only the physical is true?

When the structure of something becomes more important than the substance, I think something is wrong.

When I was in Catholic school, we learned that you can baptize dying babies or others if there is no priest there to do it. I think that in times of war and repression, you do the best you can.

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I'm Reformed Baptist, so we don't believe in transubstantiation (it's more real spiritual presence and memorial view). We take Communion once a month. Last month was my first Communion since going gluten-free, and it caught me off guard! I help lead the music, and they brought the elements to me. I took the wine (okay, so it was juice...we're Baptists, ya know :lol: ), but passed on the wafer. This Sunday will be the second time, and I am not sure what to do. I guess I should ask my husband, since he's one of the church elders. ;)

I didn't know the gluten-free wafers existed, though. Since our church is not under the Pope's authority, and I don't know of any Biblical evidence that lists the ingredients used at the Last Supper (although I am aware that there is some tradition with Passover), I may have to look into getting some of those.

I bet if Peter was a Celiac, Jesus would have gotten him some rice wafers! :)

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That's hysterical!!!

I actually DO drink...and play bass...and I'm even going dancing tonight. :o

Back to the subject. I asked my pastor what he thought. Here is his (again, Protestant) answer:

1. Pray that God would restrain the effects for the sake of holy communion.

1a. Refrain from taking the bread and pray God restrain the effects of not taking.

2. Do #1 for this week and we'll get some gluten-free wafers from here on out that everyone would eat. I doubt anyone would know the difference since we expect communion wafers to be tastelessly weird anyway.

3. Do #1 for this week and then you could procure your own box of gluten-free wafers to use at future communions. Instead of taking one from the common tray, you'd just get one from your stash and eat it when the congregation eats theirs. To me, this would lessen the "one loaf" (common tray) sense of the meal, but that's just me.

4. Do #1 for this week and then we get some gluten-free wafers from here on out. Assuming they have a different appearance/texture/etc. we could include one in the common tray and instruct folks to leave it for you.

Who knew it was gluten, not leaven, that caused all the fuss?

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I think the Bible originally might have read

Man cannot live by bread at all.

Accidentally translated to read

Man cannot live by bread alone.

Just food for thought.

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Does anyone worry about CC when taking the wine?

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Does anyone worry about CC when taking the wine?

Yes. I watch which cup the priest put the piece of host on so I don't take that one. I then only take the wine if I can be close to the front of the line. Then I only get the smallest drop possible. I have heard that some Celiacs have their own cups that are handed directly to them but I'm not sure of the logistics.

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I started off taking the wafer and the juice(baptist ya'll ! ;) ) ..Because i wasnt really sure how i felt not being able to take the bread of the body.. But after I prayed about i realized, God allowed me to be a Celiac, right? Then do u honestly think he cares if I dont take the bread, that will make me sick for the rest of the day and the NEXT ! Think of all the people in nursing homes with feeding tubes etc, that cannot partake, God loves us all no matter what.. Its not like we are refusing to take part of communion , we are just taking care of the body HE GAVE US !!!

I usually take the bread, and pass it off to my husband to eat :) then pray over the wine ;) Religion is much more than worrying about being able to eat the bread, it is about realizing how much God loves us, enough to sacrifice His Son, in order that WE may live, And to try and live the life He would want us to.. ...PLUS one day we will be able to take communion with HIM, and eat alllll the wheat with out worry :lol:

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Sharpy,

I am catholic and I have chosen to not take communion. I came to that decision after taking communion after 2 weeks of being gluten free and was surprised to have a reaction. I never liked the idea of doing the shared wine cup and didn't like the idea of approaching the priest about low gluten hosts. That was two and a half years ago. I am comfortable with that decision but if I were a better catholic I probably wouldn't be. But what I also noticed is that I have felt a loss in the sense of community through the shared experience of taking communion. That may be what your girlfriend is going through. The suggestion of talking to the priest is a good one. As others have mentioned, taking the wine or a low gluten (but not a no gluten) host is equivalent to the regular host. And maybe there are other ministries within the church which she could participate in so as not to feel separated. If the church has it, maybe as a eucharistic minister which handles the wine. Good luck.

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I don't know if your denomination has any particular rules about this, but my church was very accepting of me when I became gluten-free. They allowed me to bring rice cakes the first couple of times, and then afterwards, the church has always had rice cakes for me and the other celiacs. So I would ask the pastor/priest and find out if they can help.

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I'm so glad I read this. I am a member of the LDS church, or if you don't know that that means, I'm Mormon. I was still pretty doped up last week from my surgery so I didn't go to church. (I don't think God minds if I don't show up high.) Anyway, this will be my first Sunday back and it had never occurred to me that with sacrament every week this will be a concern for me. I'll probably make an appointment to talk with my bishop and see if I can be accommodated. (Which in our churches will almost certainly mean everyone goes gluten-free since the bread is passed on a tray.)

I have no fear that God prefers me happy and healthy and knows my heart even if I can't eat bread. I understand how important and meaningful it is to take part, I simply can not believe that a loving God would hold a piece of bread against anyone.

Oh, and thanks so much for bringing this up! Reading this now and having time to ponder and pray before Sunday will save me from spending an hour crying and being looked at sideways.

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I am Roman Catholic and all I, and other coeliac members,have to do is go to the priest before mass starts and let him know that we are there and wish to receive communion. He then consecrates that number of gluten free hosts and we go up first. I don't take wine as a piece of the 'regular' host is placed in it and people go for wine immediately after receiving the host and it's still in their mouths.

It's not peculiar to my local church. I have been at other churches in Scotland and I just go and introduce myself to the priest and explain that I have coeliac disease. It has never been an issue. The only difference I've found is that some priests ask me to go first and some ask me to go at the end.

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