(AP) A recent letter from the Vatican reminded the world’s Catholic bishops of a rule mandating the use of wheat gluten for the celebration of the Eucharist, a Christian liturgical service called the Mass by Catholics.
Reactions were immediate. Catholics with celiac disease recounted their experiences in trying to find low-gluten options and even approaching priests before Communion to receive consecrated wine from a separate chalice so there was no chance of cross-contamination. Some narrated how they had even refrained from receiving Communion and decided instead on a “spiritual Communion.”
As a specialist in liturgical studies, I was not really surprised. Today in North America there is an intense concern about the nature of bread used for Communion by Catholics – celiac disease, caused by gluten intolerance, affects at least 1 percent of the global population. [More]