Weigh policies' effect on gluten-intolerant - Catholic Courier

Weigh policies’ effect on gluten-intolerant

To the editor:

I was pleased to see the article of September 4/5 about celiac disease issues, referring to the mother who has appealed to the Vatican to let her daughter receive a rice wafer in place of a wheat host for her first Communion, because she has gluten intolerance.

There are many thousands of persons affected by this condition which can bring on severe reactions to even the tiniest crumbs of any gluten product. I am acquainted with a woman with celiac disease; she happens also to be a recovering alcoholic, sober for years, and the consequence is that she cannot receive the Eucharist under either form. She is a faith-filled, dedicated person whose main goal is to help others. It is painful for her and so many others to be deprived of the nourishment that is so central to our Christian life.

Of course Jesus left us the Eucharist under the form of wheaten bread and grape wine. That was and still is the common food of the people in that part of the world. Perhaps it is useless to speculate what might have been the tradition if he had taken on our humanity in a rice-based culture, but it is far from useless to raise the pastoral implications of having to deny Communion to so many people who are struggling to be faithful disciples of Jesus, and who carry a very heavy cross on their way.

Gratia L’Esperance, RSM

Sisters of Mercy

Parsells Avenue

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