It seems like having a gluten intolerance is something that we’re barely hearing about, but now even the Catholic church is talking about it. Pope Francis issued a letter in mid-June saying that all bread used during communion must have at least some gluten, which is a naturally occurring protein in wheat, that is commonly used in products such as bread, pasta, and cereal. About 2.7 million Americans avoid gluten, and about half of those have celiac disease, which is why some Catholics have requested a gluten-free wafer during communion.
“Hosts that are completely gluten-free are an invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist,” wrote Cardinal Robert Sarah on behalf of the pope. Low-gluten hosts, he added, can be used, “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.”