Tuesday, March 10, 2009

If you're a Celiac, I hope you're not Catholic

As made evident by my profile message to the left, my husband has Celiac disease. Simply put, he cannot have wheat (and many other grain) products. We are not sure if Peanut has a gluten intolerance yet or not, so we are holding off introducing gluten into her diet until well after her first birthday. Anyway...

I am part of a discussion board for "gluten-free" families. One mother brought up an issue - her daughter, who is gluten intolerant, wants to take part in communion in their church. However, they are Catholic and they were told that a gluten-free alternative could not be provided...only a "low-gluten" option. End of story.

I found this odd. Why on earth would the church not be accommodating to people with this disease? A gluten-free communion wafer is still a bread product...it's not like she's asking them to bless and administer a Snickers bar. Our church is happy to provide a gluten-free option for our family, but we are Lutheran.

I won't bore you with all the research I did (it certainly fascinated me, though). I will tell you this - apparently, in order for it to be "valid" Eucharist, the bread must be made from wheat. You can read about it here.

You take gluten out of the communion wafer and *poof* it's not suitable to be used as the body of Christ?

Wow. Is there anyone out there that understands this?

I used to be Catholic...and with as much as I know, I still don't get it.

8 comments:

Call Me Cate said...

So many things related to religion that I don't understand. This one is puzzling though. It seems they'd have some option to allow people with these issues to participate rather than excluding them. My latest church is Episcopal and I think our communion wafers are made out of styrofoam.

C. Beth said...

I definitely don't get this. :(

Isabella said...

@ Call Me Cate - There's a lot I don't understand either. Yes, they do have a "low gluten" option - which they say is less than 0.01% gluten, but I'd really like to know how a very sensitive Celiac reacts to this. Just this weekend, my mother-in-law had a bad reaction to a piece of bacon at a restaurant (it must have been fried in the same pan as pancakes or something).
Styrofoam - HAHAHA! I think we have the same wafers at our church. :)

@ C. Beth - I'm glad I'm not the only one. Maybe there is something we don't know that would make this clearer...but I doubt it.

Otter Thomas said...

Hey I am Lutheran too. I never knew anything about that. It seems so often in trying to strictly adhere to rules religion violates the spirit of the rule. I don't get it.

Isabella said...

@ Otter Thomas - Thanks for commenting. It's good to see other people out there are scratching their heads about this, too.

This isn't a "rule" of the bible, though, it's a "rule" of Catholic doctrine.

And I don't feel that:
doctrine > the bible

Daddy Files said...

Gluten-free communion wafers are bad, yet pedophile priests have been condoned for years.

Go figure...

Sam said...

Hey Isabella, as a pastor, I have deep respect for what I understand to be Catholic doctrine about this. I have equally deep disagreement. Way back in the Old Testament, God told the prophet Samuel, "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart." To me it's tragic when the church has developed a law for what is essentially a heart issue.

Isabella said...

Sam - thank you for your insight. I was hoping you'd look at this post and offer your comments. :)