The Pope has just reiterated a rule about the Eucharist.
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.
The newest rule:
Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist. Low-gluten hosts (partially gluten-free) are valid matter, provided they contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread without the addition of foreign materials and without the use of procedures that would alter the nature of bread.
I remember being inundated with mail from outraged Catholics explaining the nature of the communion wafer: it specifically transformed into the flesh of Jesus when served, although it wasn’t a change of substance but of spirit. And now I learn that Jesus can only be made from wheat, and specifically must include some quantity of gluten, or the magic doesn’t work.
I’m pretty sure that if there were an actual Jesus, son of a god, living in Palestine 2000 years ago, he would not have been made of wheat, and he would have been gluten-free. I’m also pretty sure that the menu from the last supper was not preserved — there are more than enough silly arguments about whether the bread was leavened or unleavened — that for all we know they might have been nibbling on nice slices of pumpernickel, and no Catholic has ever shared the right kind of bread at communion, so they’re all going to hell.
Marcus Ranum says
“If it doesn’t taste like shit, it ain’t real Jesus Meat(tm)”
I suspect they just want to make sure it doesn’t go
chigau (違う) says
Well that spoils my plan for soylentgreen eucharist hosts.
So, effectively, people with gluten sensitivity are excommunicated?
It’s hard to believe that the communion wafers I remember from my childhood were made from pure wheat, or indeed contained any wheat at all. They more resembled styrofoam.
And yet still we shake our heads in disbelief that someone like Trump could be elected President.
Roughly 25% of the human population is certifiably insane. And they’re running the world.
slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says
I always thought the ORIGINAL, at the Last Supper, was basic Matzo Bread that he blessed before passing around to his apostles, which the RCC tries to emulate with their weekly ritual. Orthodox Judaism requires the Matzo to be unlevened.
The Pope is just stating that the tradition of the legend must be literally followed, precisely, verbatim.
Like passing around wine, calling it his “blood”, metaphorically, to then insist that it actually transubstantiated into actual blood is too gross to contemplate. gluten-free hosts is pffft.
“Oh, we use only the finest baby frogs, dew-picked and flown in from Iraq, cleansed in the finest quality spring water, lightly killed, and sealed in a succulent, Swiss, quintuple-smooth, treble-milk chocolate envelope, and lovingly frosted with glucose.” Monty Python, the ‘Crunchy Frog’ sketch
This issue is a very old one indeed. Early medieval Christian missionaries encountered much the same thing when trying to christianise the peoples of Northern Europe.
Bread generally wasn’t an issue, as it was consumed pretty much everywhere in Europe, but It was sometimes asked of prominent theologians whether cider or beer might be substituted for the wine in regions where grapes were not grown. The answer was almost always no. Burchard of Worms’ decretum (a major collection of canon law texts from the turn of the first millennium) specifies that it must be a mixture of water and wine in the chalice, and no side-dishes like fruit, honey or meat are to be offered either. Apparently the disciples were a bunch of cheapskates at the Last Supper and just filled up on the free bread. Most amusingly, if the priest should spill some of the blessed wine through carelessness he was expected to lick it up as quickly as possible, whether it had gone on the altar or all over the floor. One suspects the choirboys were frequently doused by “accident”.
It has not gone unnoticed that the church owned large numbers of vineyards throughout the Middle Ages, and made good profits on shipping communion wine to staunchly beer-drinking regions. One wonders how many shares the modern Catholic church owns in bakeries.
Our Lord’s extremely specific transsubstiantiation powers seem to work along similar lines to this: https://youtu.be/r2NP4WZJ-mI
This post made me briefly upset on behalf of Catholics with Celiac disease. Briefly.
Though I would suggest that the Catholics are missing out on a huge opportunity by sticking as closely as possible to strict and humourless medieval notions of the Eucharist. What they should be doing is loosening the rules completely.
Just think, they could say that any food or drink could be turned into Jesus! Imagine how much attendance at Mass would pick up if they served big, juicy Jesus Burgers and ice-cold Holy Coke. Or a low-fat Holy Yoghurt for the health-conscious. You could have blessed cereal bars for busy Catholics on the go, Jesus Sushi for the Japanese market, even Halal Jesus and Kosher Jesus to draw in Muslims and Jews!
Perhaps they could even modify the spells to produce chunks of other beloved deities and religious leaders? You could have a slice of Buddha with your Jesus if you so fancied, or a selection of deep-fried Kali bits. Mosques could run Allah-you-can-eat buffets. It would be the perfect ecumenical outreach programme.
Jesus is about two thousand years past his sell by date.
Not that this nonsense even merits engagement, but poor people in Palestine at that time would have been likely to eat bread made of rye, barley or millet. Wheat flour was more prized and more expensive.
Maybe Judas was gluten sensitive. I can sell this idea to the History Channel. Does anyone know their number?
I think we need to have Guy Fieri visit one of these cracker factories to see for himself what goes into their most popular item and make sure that the biscuits aren’t anywhere near flavortown.
People have been eating this guy for 2000 years and there’s still of him left?
(Bah!) …still some of him left?
I posted about this too. I was rather taken by the grave sin of making Jesus sweet in any way. That just amused me no end.
cartomancer@10, some of the megachurches in the US have restaurants in them. Not quite what you’re talking about, and not Catholics, but in the same ballpark.
Rich Woods says
I’ll take an armful.
Catholics must think that Jesus is the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Snarki, child of Loki says
“I’m also pretty sure that the menu from the last supper was not preserved”
I have it on good authority that they ordered chinese take-out.
I don’t see much difference between the Pope’s strictures and the health department or Ministry of Consumer affairs enforcing standards.
It is a bit tough on Celiac Catholics, though.
@cervantes, rye and barley have gluten in ’em.
@cartomancer – don’t forget fruity oaty bars. River will hang a licking on you …
But seriously, shouldn’t these things be made of soylent green?
And Jesus saith ,,,
WhiteHat — Yes rye and barley have some gluten but read the statement: “The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat . . . “
Pierce R. Butler says
They’ve got it all wrong: the proper communion is gluteal!
Somebody erased the part where Jesus got ticked off and told everybody to kiss his ass.
Boy, the Catholics give us more detail on how sciencey transubstantiation is, and all atheists do is complain…Jeez….
Maxwell D'Mon says
It’s funny how memory works, but I remember very well a nun’s rhapsody more than 50 years ago (fifth grade) on the purity of host manufacturing. The seed blessed before being sown, the careful milling to make perfectly pure flour, the use of the purest spring water, baking within 15 minutes of mixing, the culling of any wafers showing the slightest hit of browning…
You wouldn’t think supernatural miracles would be so picky about initial conditions.
General Jack D Ripper (on phone): “Indeed, I did send out the order for Plan R, R for Robert…yes…yes, I take full responsibility…eh? Oh, no…don’t you see, General? The commies…don’t you–don’t you use Clemenceau on me. The planes…no, it can’t be done, Ripper. They are on their way in and no one can bring them back. For the sake of our country and our way of life, I suggest you get the rest of SAC in after them. Otherwise, we will be totally destroyed by Red retaliation. My boys will give you the best kind of start, 1400 megatons worth, and you sure as hell won’t stop them now. So let’s get going. There’s no other choice. God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.”
Also about 50 years ago (Dr Strangelove…).
The Cathedral in Cusco, Peru has a large picture of the last supper on the wall. Jesus and his mates are eating guinea pig. I’m pretty sure that guinea pigs are gluten-free, but I might be mistaken…
As I recently noted in the Open Thread (forgetting all about this recent thread), the “motherfucking power-hungry, self-aggrandised bigot in the stupid fucking hat”† has just invented another reason to create new objects (saints) to shame people into tithing more.
† Tim Minchin, The Pope Song.
Was that before or after he rode it into Jerusalem? And had the ass given enthusiastic consent?