Low Gluten Bread for Catholic Communions - Celiac Disease
Oct 13 2008

Low Gluten Bread for Catholic Communions

There has long been a problem for Celiacs who attend a Catholic church, as in keeping with the belief that Jesus used a wheaten bread at the Last Supper, the Catholic Church has required that breads used for communion be made with wheat and contain gluten.

So, what is the solution?   Apparently, it is a low gluten altar bread that has 0.01% gluten in it.

According to the Catholic church:

Having reviewed the laboratory reports you sent, which set the amount of gluten in these altar breads at 0.01%, I am pleased to state that these special hosts are indeed made according to the requirements of both the Code of Canon Law (c.924) and the special considerations set out by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in his July 24, 2003 letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences (Prot. N. 89/78-17498) and may be validly used at Mass in the diocese of the United States with appropriate permission.

This way it meets the Catholic churches requirement of containing wheat, but according to a huge number of testimonials, it doesn’t seem to cause problems for people with Celiac Disease.

Here is the official response from the Celiac community:

The measurement cited here, 0.01%, represents 10 PPMs (parts per million).  But the more important number is 37 micrograms, because it is daily exposure to gluten that counts.  The best current information shows that 10 milligrams a day should be safe.

Ten milligrams is the same as 10,000 micrograms.  If you divide 37 micrograms into 10,000 micrograms, you will find that you would have to eat 270 wafers every day to reach the danger point.  At most, celiacs would consume one wafer per day or about 0.04% (four tenths of one percent) of the amount considered dangerous.

If you are interested in purchasing this bread, you can order it here.

Have any of our Catholic readers tried this bread?   Let us know your experiences in the comments below!

Article Written by:

Kyle Eslick is the founder of Gluten Free Media, as well as the creator of the popular Celiac Support Groups page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+!


  1. Mike Kernan says:

    I have been using the gluten free alter breads made by the Benedictine Sisters in Clyde, MO for better than a year and have had no adverse effects. I, also, have been fortunate to be able to introduce these alter breads to two other Catholic parishes where they are in daily use. What a blessing it is to have this resource available to the church going community.

  2. Siobhán says:

    I wasnt aware there was gluten still in the communion!! I was told it was gluten free… due to having to have this ordered a few days before I attend church and the fact that I wouldnt be going every sunday I tend to avoid taking communion at all. Churches in Ireland generally supply this communion though so Im surpirsed to see people having to order it.

  3. Erin says:

    The Church also cannot refuse Communion to any Catholic in good standing. Therefore, if your church doesn’t offer it – speak up! They have to! Our church places the GF hosts in a Pyx box to prevent cross contamination, and so far two VERY sensitive individuals with CD took Communion without any problems.

  4. Carolee says:

    Protestants use wheat bread, too. I bring my own gluten-free crackers or bread & keep it in the church freezer so it’s available when we have communion.

  5. Heather says:

    I didn’t realize there was a requirement for it to contain wheat in Catholic churches. My (Protestant) church actually offers a little cup of Glutino crackers for the gluten free people since we have 7 celiacs in our congregation. I think churches are usually willing to accommodate if you say something.

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