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A Grave Abuse: Invalid Matter for the Most Holy Eucharist

A local Church Goods store here in Tulsa, Oklahoma is supplying Catholic parishes with gluten free "Communion Wafers" made by Ener-G Foods Inc. Here are the ingredients:

Filtered Water, Sweet Rice Flour, Potato Flour, Organic Palm Fruit Oil, Potato Starch, Methylcellulose, Sunflower Lecithin.

One can no more confect the Body of Christ using such "wafers" than one can use cider or orange juice for the confection of the Precious Blood. It is appalling that this product has found its way into the sacristies of Catholic churches across the country. Who is responsible? Or, as my Dad would say, "Who is minding the store?"

Canon Law is explicit:

Can. 924 §1. The most holy Eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed. §2. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling. §3. The wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and not spoiled.

Catholics with celiac disease, receiving such "wafers" are not receiving the Body of Christ. The consecration of such wafers is invalid, and the use of them is a grave abuse, given that it concerns the matter of the Sacrament.

Hosts Made by the Benedictines of Clyde Missouri

There is another solution. Sister Jane Heschmeyer and Sister Lynn Marie D'Souza, Benedictine nuns of Clyde, Missouri have developed a Communion host that has been approved as valid material for the Most Holy Eucharist by the Holy See.

With a level of gluten content of 0.01% it is safe enough for consumption by almost all celiac suffers, according to Dr. Alessio Fasano of the University of Maryland and other medical experts.

The U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy judges the Benedictine Sisters' bread "the only true, low-gluten altar bread approved for use at Mass in the United States."

For further information see this article by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University.


Your post is truly timely, Father, since there are several similar abuses regarding the celebration of the Liturgy and Sacraments currently taking place in the Church. Some of them, which have become widespread in my country, are pointed out by Mons. Athanasius Schneider in his excellent book, "Dominus Est."

However, it is sad to realize that when the time comes for the Church's authority to shed light on, and correct these abuses, it is perceived by some as an act of authoritarianism.

Regina pacis, ora pro nobis.


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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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