Bishops reminded that ‘magic crackers’ can’t be gluten-free

Bishops reminded that ‘magic crackers’ can’t be gluten-free

Back in 2012 the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement that ‘it is impossible to consecrate a host made of something other than wheat and water.’

They were reacting to a trend which saw certain manufacturers producing communion wafters that were gluten-free.

However, according to this report, low-gluten wafers were OK. Mark Merdian, the vicar of health care for the Diocese of Peoria in Illinois, pointed out that low-gluten wafers, made by the Benedictine sisters in Clyde, Missouri, had been approved by the Vatican.

They contain trace amounts of wheat, about .01 percent, which is enough to satisfy the sacrament but should be safe for those who have celiac.

He added that anyone who thought the wafers might cause a health problem should check with their doctor.

It’s now being reported that the Pope has  asked the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to “remind” bishops that gluten-free hosts are strictly verboten.

This from the letter being circulated by the Congregation:

The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition.  It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament.  

It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools.

I find it impossible to mention communion wafers without reference to a piece written back in 2008 by P Z Myers. In “It’s a fracking cracker” he said:

There are days when it is agony to read the news, because people are so goddamned stupid. Petty and stupid. Hateful and stupid. Just plain stupid. And nothing makes them stupider than religion.

Hat tip: John Gresham and BarrieJohn

20 responses to “Bishops reminded that ‘magic crackers’ can’t be gluten-free”

  1. Stuart H. says:

    Just a shame they can’t produce bigotry-free clergy.

  2. Stephen Mynett says:

    I suppose it is easier to argue about a recipe for bread than to do something about child abuse and all the other Vatican crimes. Another normal day at the Vatican.

  3. barriejohn says:

    Barry: It’s P Z Myers. You may be confusing him with P J Proby of the Exploding Trousers*. And what punishment could be sufficiently severe for one who kidnapped the Lord Jesus Christ!

    (*James Marcus Smith)

  4. barriejohn says:

    There are plenty of Christians who worry that their gluten-free diet is “unbiblical”, believe it or not. This poor girl doesn’t seem too worried from that point of view, but what nonsense she writes – yet I came across plenty of this sort of delusional reasoning when I was a Christian:

  5. Barry Duke says:

    Of course it is, BarrieJohn. Corrected.

  6. Angela_K says:

    Call me picky but according to the god squad, aren’t these “I can’t believe they are not Jesus crackers” the flesh of said mythical character?

  7. StephenJP says:

    How do they know what the Passover bread in 1st-century Judaea was made of? Have they got The Upper Room’s original recipe? How do they know it was even made of wheat? Barley, or emmer, or spelt would seem more likely. Just gotta be unleavened as well, hasn’t it?

    Come to that, how do they know how that their wine recipe (which I believe is equally closely defined) matches the biblical ideal? Are they allowed to use sulphites? What about filtration? I think we should be told.

  8. andym says:

    It’s not a metaphor withing the RCC. The bread and wine are believed to turn literally into the body and blood of Christ during Mass. So, if you’re a true believer, should you see yourself as actually consuming gluten,or just committing your regular bit of cannibalism?

  9. barriejohn says:

    StephenJP: You’re so right. I didn’t link to the following earlier as it seemed a bit much, but here goes anyway:

    He deals with “Biblical wine” as well. They take it all so terribly seriously, but it’s quite an interesting article, and at least he’s not claiming that eating “Bible foods” will lead to miraculous good health, as many do!

  10. Har Davids says:

    The crackers only become magic after some mumbo-jumbo, they become the flesh of Jesus, which should be more important than the crackers themselves.

  11. StephenJP says:

    barriejohn: thanks for the link. They do take it all so literally and seriously, don’t they? OT, I am a governor of a CofE school in a prosperous, educated part of the UK. I have heard from some parents (who joined the church to get their kids into the school) that when the absurd film Noah came out, the church arranged a special meeting to help the faithful reconcile what they saw on the screen with what their Big Book of Magic Stuff was telling them. Unbelievable!

    Mind you, I think “The Upper Room” would be quite a cool name for a hipster restaurant…

  12. Trevor Blake says:

    (1) you have to eat the mystic biscuit (2) we decide which biscuits are mystic (3) profit.


  13. gedediah says:

    Why can’t they just amend the magical mumbo-jumbo they say when consecrating the crackers so it’s safe for any dietary needs?

  14. Cali Ron says:

    The religious insanity of this has been well covered by commenters, however, nobody has addressed the gluten issue. I was diagnosed last year with Celiac Disease, 50 years after my first symptoms (there’s another rant that I will spare you) and I have, by necessity become quite knowledgeable about Celiac Disease and gluten.

    “They contain trace amounts of wheat, about .01 percent, which is enough to satisfy the sacrament but should be safe for those who have celiac.” WRONG! Any wheat at all is too much. For a product to be certified Gluten Free by the USDA it has to have tested at less than 20 ppm of gluten, have a rigorous testing program and regular inspections. A bread crumb will make me sick for 2-4 weeks (I used a cast iron skillet and the pores contained enough gluten to make me sick for 2 weeks), causing intense small intestine pain, bloating, diarrhea, migraines, muscle cramping, anxiety, depression and “foggy brain” (memory impairment). Those are some of my symptoms, but the symptoms vary and the potential list is over 40 items long. The disease attacks the lining of the small intestines causing malabsorption which leads to a host of problems and left untreated can cause death.So he’s not only full of shit about god he’s full of shit about Celiac disease and gluten.

    So I guess if you have CD and are catholic it’s either you’re going to hell for not eating your god or you’re going to be sick a lot, maybe die. Just more stupid, insane stuff from the RCC.

  15. Cali Ron says:

    BTW, which part of his body are they eating? HMMMM?

  16. andym says:

    I suspect the priests keep the bit you’re thinking of back for themselves. As well as celiacs, how do alcoholic catholics manage?

  17. Craig says:

    “When a wise man points at the moon the imbecile examines the finger.”? Confucius

  18. Vanity Unfair says:

    Variations in the RC liturgy were foreseen over fifty years ago by the respected student of religion, Tom Lehrer.

    Get in line in that processional,
    Step into that small confessional,
    There, the guy who’s got religion’ll
    Tell you if your sin’s original.
    If it is, try playing it safer,
    Drink the wine and chew the wafer,
    Two, four, six, eight,
    Time to transubstantiate!

    Vatican Rag: