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Church fine-tuning response to Vatican gluten insistence

Melbourne's Archbishop Denis Hart has insisted that the Church is most concerned to meet the needs of those with gluten allergies wishing to received the Eucharist, and has proposed at least one workaround.

For a decade Australians were able to use gluten-free wafers, but last week -

After a Vatican ruling that the communion host must contain at least some wheat to be valid, Church authorities in Australia have instructed host makers to withdraw gluten-free wafers in favour of a low-gluten variety.

Archbishop Hart told The Age that bishops are bound by what the church disposed, but are concerned to meet people's pastoral needs.

He proposed that gluten-intolerant Catholics could take the wine instead, and if are still concerned, it might be contaminated the priest could consecrate a second chalice with just a little wine for those with the allergy.

National Liturgy Commission director Peter Williams said that many sufferers and priests had contacted him. "I'm responding case by case," he said.

The Age today reports advice from Anaphylaxis Australia, which represents wheat-allergic people whom it claims could die in minutes even from a low-gluten wafer. The body says a trial of the new wafers is not an option, nor is taking the chalice instead because communion wine is highly likely to contain traces of wheat.

It is in response to this challenge that Archbishop Hart proposes the consecration of a second, non-contaminated, chalice of wine.

Vatican a poor host for some (The Age 26/8/04)

Coeliacs won't miss out on the Eucharist (Catholic Weekly 29/8/04)
Official's resolve to reach out to Coeliac Disease sufferers (CathNews 24/8/04)
Catholics split over George Pell (ABC Radio The World Today 23/8/04)
National Liturgical Commission
Cardinal Pell's leadership 'exclusive and inflexible' (ABC Radio PM 23/8/04)
Exclusive and alienating, in the name of religion (Sydney Morning Herald 24/8/04)
Priest speaks out on rights and needs of faithful Catholics (CathNews 23/8/04)
Fr John Crothers: It's time to take a stand (Online Catholics)
Wheatless wafer, no communion (Courier-Mail 20/8/04)
The Forum: Invalid Communion in New Jersey: Analysis (Catholic World News 20/8/04)
Trenton diocese invalidates girl's first Communion because of use of substitute wafer (Catholic News Agency 20/8/04)
Girl's First Communion Nixed Over Wheat-Free Wafer (Associated Press/ 12/8/04)
Assurance on communion wafers from Liturgical Commission head (CathNews 20/8/04)
Health alert over new formula communion hosts (CathNews 18/8/04)

26 Aug 2004