(Natural News) As more people adopt a gluten-free diet for health reasons, the Vatican revealed their stance on the gluten-free and GMO movements earlier this month.
At the request of Pope Francis, the unleavened bread used to celebrate the Eucharist during Roman Catholic masses can be made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), however, the Vatican added that they will not allow entirely gluten-free hosts or wafers for the practice of the Holy Communion.
There are an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics in the world. Through the Sacrament of Holy Communion Catholics remember Jesus' Last Supper and Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross. Catholics receive the holy bread and wine, believing that they are receiving the body and blood of Christ.
Since the Communion bread is now sold at some supermarkets and on the internet, Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said that they needed to clarify this matter and come up with a set of rules to address the latest gluten-free trend. The Vatican has ruled the bread can be low-gluten, but there must be enough of the gluten protein in the wheat to make it without additives.
"Hosts [wafers] 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," said Cardinal Robert Sarah in a letter to the bishops.
In the letter, Cardinal Sarah also reminded bishops that the bread should be made by people "distinguished by their integrity" and that adding fruit, honey, or sugar is a "grave abuse."
According to the Roman Catholics beliefs, the bread and wine served at the Eucharist are converted into the body and blood of Christ. Therefore, Cardinal Robert Sarah noted that next to gluten-free bread, the wine used for this ritual must also be from a natural, pure, and incorrupt source, not mixed with other substances.
"Until recently it was certain religious communities who took care of baking the bread and making the wine for the celebration of the Eucharist. Today, however, these materials are also sold in supermarkets and other stores and even over the internet," the letter said.
GMOs are natural, pure, and incorrupt?
Despite the concern about gluten-free bread being altered, the Church makes an exception for GMO foods, noting "Eucharistic matter made with genetically modified organisms can be considered valid matter."