The Vatican has announced that the bread which is eaten during Holy Communion must not be made from gluten-free bread. The letter, sent to Bishops from Cardinal Robert Sarah at the request of Pope Francis, made it clear that "bread made from another substance…does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament." Stinks to be gluten free right now.
Is the Catholic Church being too harsh in outlawing gluten-free bread? Those suffering from celiac disease, a condition where the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten, can experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating when they eat bread. If you suffer from a gluten allergy or intolerance, the church’s ruling actively excludes you from taking part in a major ritual in the Christian faith — the Eucharist.
But despite the fact that an estimated 1.2 billion people in the world are Catholics, the Pope’s law will actually affect fewer people than you might think. Perhaps you know someone who says they have to have a gluten-free diet for health reasons despite not having had that diagnosis confirmed by a doctor. There are also a portion of people who claim they must live a gluten-free life because they think it will make them lose weight, or even in some instances to hide an eating disorder. That said, there are plenty of people who have actually have been diagnosed with celiac disease or a gluten allergy, so don't dismiss someone's claim the minute you hear the words "gluten free."
In the Vatican’s defense, Christians believe the bread and wine you receive at Holy Communion undergoes something called "Transubstantiation". This is the process where the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine actually becomes his blood. Because Holy Communion is for Christians an act of remembrance of Jesus’ self-sacrifice, offering a gluten-free option of Jesus’ body could seem disrespectful.
Before the Pope’s ban on gluten-free communion bread, one Twitter user commented: "My Church started offering gluten-free bread for communion and it's the most 2017 thing I've ever been a part of."
What do you think?
This post was written by Georgina Roberts For more, check out our sister site The Debrief.