Low-Gluten Communion Hosts

April 2, 2013

From the Office of Liturgy, Archdiocese of Winnipeg
March 2013

A growing number of individuals have become wheat and/or gluten intolerant. In keeping with the church's tradition, wheat is an essential part of that which makes bread a real and authentic matter for Eucharistic consecration. Therefore, all bread used in the Eucharistic celebration must contain some level of wheat in order to ensure the validity of the sacred action. After much experimentation, carried out by the Sister of St. Benedict in Clyde, Missouri, a low-gluten communion host has been produced  and approved for use by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (July, 24, 2003) The approval states:
"Having reviewed the laboratory reports you sent, which set the amount of gluten in these altar breads at less than 0.01%, I am pleased to state that these special hosts are indeed made according to the requirements of both the Code of Canon Law (c.924) and the special considerations set out by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in his July 24, 2003 letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences (Prot. N. 89/78-17498) and may be validly used at Mass."
The United States Centre for Celiac Research has shown that the less than 0.01% gluten content would be perfectly safe for most celiacs. The research states:
The measurement cited here, 0.01%, represents 100 PPMs (parts per million). But the more important number is 37 micrograms, because it is daily exposure to gluten that counts. The best current information shows that 10 milligrams a day should be safe.
Ten milligrams is the same as 10,000 micrograms. If you divide 37 micrograms into 10,000 micrograms, you will find that you would have to eat 270 wafers every day to reach the danger point. At most, celiacs would consume one wafer per day or about 0.04% (four tenths of one percent) of the amount considered dangerous.
The Low-gluten communion hosts can be easily ordered from the Sister of St. Benedict in Clyde, Missouri by visiting their web site at
www.altarbreadsbspa.com/lowgluten.php. Shipment is very easy and expedient.

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