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Liturgy: Gluten-free Hosts

9/15/2004 - 6:00 AM PST

(Page 2 of 2)

sufferers should still consult with their doctors before consuming the new hosts. "In rare cases even 0.01% is still too much," Fasano said.

See the Catholic Key story posted on the Web.

Although the sisters' work seems to be the most promising to date, others were also working on the problem and the Church has also recently approved other low-gluten breads in Italy and Australia.

* * *

Follow-up: Homilies While Walking

The column regarding homilies-while-walking-about (see Aug. 31) brought to mind a related question from a South African correspondent.

She wrote: "Instead of a homily, a certain priest played the song 'Imagine' -- by the Beatles or by one of the Beatles -- and then pranced about the altar and up and down the aisle. Is this type of behavior in keeping with the liturgy? I was not present but two independent persons called me to ask whether I knew if this is what we can expect in the future."

After the publication of the recent instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," I certainly hope we can expect no more of this kind of thing in the future.

Of course, if the congregation took John Lennon's imagination seriously, especially the lines about imagining no heaven and no religion, the good father would be prancing down the aisle of an empty church.

"Redemptionis Sacramentum" Nos. 67 and 68 are very clear regarding the qualities of the homily:

"Particular care is to be taken so that the homily is firmly based upon the mysteries of salvation, expounding the mysteries of the Faith and the norms of Christian life from the biblical readings and liturgical texts throughout the course of the liturgical year and providing commentary on the texts of the Ordinary or the Proper of the Mass, or of some other rite of the Church.

"It is clear that all interpretations of Sacred Scripture are to be referred back to Christ himself as the one upon whom the entire economy of salvation hinges, though this should be done in light of the specific context of the liturgical celebration. In the homily to be given, care is to be taken so that the light of Christ may shine upon life's events. Even so, this is to be done so as not to obscure the true and unadulterated word of God: for instance, treating only of politics or profane subjects, or drawing upon notions derived from contemporary pseudo-religious currents as a source.

"The diocesan Bishop must diligently oversee the preaching of the homily, also publishing norms and distributing guidelines and auxiliary tools to the sacred ministers, and promoting meetings and other projects for this purpose so that they may have the opportunity to consider the nature of the homily more precisely and find help in its preparation."

Thus it is evident that the practice you mention in no way corresponds to what a homily should be, and indeed it deprives the faithful of their right to have God's Word and the Church's teaching imparted to them.

The practice described is further weighed down by the superficiality and overall lack of respect shown toward the liturgy by the intromission of elements that are totally alien to the sacred rite.

While the song in question is not without merits, it hardly reflects Christian theology. But the principle that no external element may substitute the homily would hold true even if the priest had played specifically Christian music. Not even Handel's Halleluiah Chorus or Mozart's Requiem, can replace the preaching of God's word.

It is also difficult to excuse as a momentary slip due to the deliberate planning required in carrying out such an operation.

As "Redemptionis Sacramentum," No. 79, says: "Finally, it is strictly to be considered an abuse to introduce into the celebration of Holy Mass elements that are contrary to the prescriptions of the liturgical books and taken from the rites of other religions."

If the priest in question were to continue engaging in similar practices, the diocesan bishop, who, as seen above in RS 68, oversees the preaching of the homily, should be informed in a sober and factual manner so that he may orient the priest to a correct understanding of his mission as preacher of God's word.


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Liturgy, Mass, Host, Homily, Communion

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1 - 10 of 12 Comments

  1. A Lees
    1 year ago

    In our church, there is someone who has a special host, which is on a special paten, which she takes out of the paten herself.
    It was much later that I discovered that our priest is, himself, only able to take gluten free. Therefore, I deduce, that gluten-free hosts are available. He has had some form of gastrointestinal cancer and has to watch what he eats and drinks.
    Secondly, the hosts we use at communion are so unlike bread, that I really think claiming they need to contain gluten in order to be bread is a little bit too much. If you can make bread without gluten that is still bread, then you can make a communion host without gluten that isi still communion host.
    I do not think it at all an appropriate catholic response to say that someone who is allergic cannot receive communion; that would be disobeying Jesus, when he said 'Take and eat.'

  2. Kinga Barry
    1 year ago

    The wheat in the days of Jesus was categorically not the same as the hybridized modern wheat which is capable of producing at least 23,788 different protein varieties which are able to induce a miriad of autoimmume illnesses.
    The Church would be serving Christ and humanity by investing in producing Communion Hosts only from ancient wheat varieties,

  3. barbara dunn
    2 years ago

    I too have Celiac Disease. Yesterday I was treated very insensitively and bruskly by a priest in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in regard to the gluten free issue. One of his many insulting comments was,"OH, You want to be special!" Didn't Christ say, "suffer the little children(which we all are in God's eyes) and forbid them not" and did He not associate with prostitutes, tax collectorsand the like. It would seem that God wants more than anything for all of us, Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist etc.;believers in the one true Christ and God, to come unto HIM. Is it any wonder that many of our young people today are leaving the church in record numbers when the leaders of some of our churches are so exclusive of anyone out of the norm? That would include even those with a health issue such as Celiac Disease or diabetes; as though we were somehow self indulgent and wishing to be Special. I was very hurt and angered by this priests attitude. The usual priest, Father Pete, is just the opposite; compassionate, kind, inclusive and wonderful in welcoming everyone; passing on a Christ like
    love and inclusion in all of his actions. Missing communion in PV, missing Father Pete

  4. Greg Kreczko
    2 years ago

    During distribution of communion, my priest insists on removing the consecrated gluten free host from the pyx. I'd rather he hand me the pyx and let me remove the consecrated host. When I talk to him he says this isn't proper. I'm afraid of cross contamination because of all the traditional hosts he has been handling. Is there guidance published by the church that I can show him? His response is "try it my way and see how you feel". I don't want an autoimmune reaction to happen before he is convinced he's doing damage to my body.

  5. Wayne Lancour
    3 years ago

    recently our pastor has been using safe communion host made by theBenedictine Nuns, I have been taking about 3 months and the last 2 weeks I have been losing weight (10 lbs), this plus pains in stomach, tireness is some of the symhtons of celia.
    eVEN AT .01 % this is dangerous as the gluten stores up and hits you all at once.

    so by making people think these hosts are safe is doing them harm.

    what happens

  6. Frances Duffy
    3 years ago

    Where can the "gluten-free" communion wafers be purchased. I would gladly purchase them for not only out present parish, but to be able to take them with us when we travel so that when we attend church I can present it to the priest and be able to receive communion. A far better solution than putting some priests on the spot for an answer when we are out of town or attending a different church for what ever reason.
    Thank you so very much!

  7. Luzmarina B. Alonso
    3 years ago

    My daughter and one her children suffer from celliac, and the boy is very sick after he receives the host, our priest suggested that he only takes de wine, but he is very young and we do not want him to continuing drinking the wine; my question, how can I buy the wafers from the sisters?. Thank you for your cooperation. Luzmarina Alonso,

  8. John McLellan
    4 years ago

    An interesting and informative article, but where can I purchase these gluten free hosts from?

  9. Dan O'Brien
    5 years ago

    Ms. Goodman is clearly wrong in her claim that wheat did not exist at the time of Jesus Christ. In fact, wheat grains have been cultivated for at least 9000 years, apparently beginning in Southeast Asia. Wheat grain cultivated specifically for wheat bread dates back to approximately 5000 BC in several areas, including the Jordan River area. Stick with the Church, Ms. Goodman, no matter what you read in the National "Catholic" Reporter or Dan Brown's books, and you'll never go wrong.

  10. Yvonne Goodman
    5 years ago

    Regarding Gluten Free Hosts. How can it be that the Church would say wheat represents bread---when in Jesus day wheat did NOT exist??? Additionally,I have been told many Dioceses have changed to Gluten Free because wheat intolerance is so prevalent. I am one who is recently diagnosed and cannot take communion.

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