AUSTRALIA’S National Liturgical Commission (NLC) has assured Catholics with coeliac disease they will not be excluded from the Eucharist under a Vatican ruling that altar breads must be made from wheat flour.
NLC executive officer Fr Peter Williams issued a statement on August 23 as controversy arose over a ruling from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the effect the ruling could have on people with coeliac disease who have an intolerance to wheat gluten.
Fr Williams said the CDF made the ruling in response to the question of what constitutes valid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist.
Fr John Crothers, who is parish priest of Penshurst in Sydney, spoke out against the decision in a commentary about the institution in his archdiocese in an article published by Online Catholics.
Fr Crothers has a parishioner with chronic coeliac disease, who is unable to tolerate any amount of gluten. This parishioner was apparently devastated by the ruling.
Fr Williams said that following the CDF ruling the Church in Australia had acted quickly to ensure low wheaten altar breads were available.
He said Catholics were also able to take Holy Communion by arranging with the priest to receive Communion from the chalice.
Elizabeth Harrington, in her Liturgy Lines column in The Catholic Leader on August 29, says most coeliac sufferers are able to consume low gluten hosts.
‘The only option for those people who are highly gluten intolerant and cannot consume even this very small amount is to receive Communion under the form of wine alone,’ Ms Harrington says.
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