Vatican bans gluten-free bread for Holy Communion

(VATICAN CITY) — While many foods have gluten-free options for the diet trend’s growing followers, gluten will remain in the Eucharist used for Roman Catholic masses, according to the Vatican.

In a letter to bishops at the request of Pope Francis, Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments said the bread used in Holy Communion cannot be gluten-free, but it can be low-gluten or made with genetically modified organisms.

The cardinal said the guidance was needed because the bread used for the celebration of the Eucharist is now sold in supermarkets and over the internet.

Roman Catholics believe the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ once consecrated in the sacrament.

“…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,” the letter says.

The cardinal also reiterated the wine used in Holy Communion “must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances,” adding, “It is altogether forbidden to use wine of doubtful authenticity or provenance, for the Church requires certainty regarding the conditions necessary for the validity of the sacraments.”

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