Gluten-free bread for Holy Communion is toast, says Vatican

Unleavened bread used for communion during Catholic mass can be genetically modified but not entirely gluten-free, church rules

The unleavened bread used to celebrate the holy communion during Catholic mass can be made with genetically modified organisms, the Vatican said Saturday, but they cannot is thoroughly gluten-free.

Low-gluten bread is permitted but there must be enough protein in the wheat to make it without additives.

Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Vaticans Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said the guidance was needed now that Eucharistic bread and wine can be found in supermarkets and even over the internet.

In a letter issued last month, Sarah also reminded bishops that the bread should be made by people distinguished by their integrity and that adding fruit or sugar was a grave abuse.

It is altogether forbidden to use wine of doubtful authenticity or provenance, he added.

But for people who cannot tolerate wine the use of mustum, or must, a thick non-fermented grape juice, is considered valid matter for the sacrament, which Catholics believe turns the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember Christ sacrifice of himself on the cross. There are 1.2 billion Catholic in the world.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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