Right straight out of the gate we’ve got some grade A crapitalism brewing in… where else… the Catholic Church.
The Canadian Celiac Association has expressed concern to the diocese of P.E.I. over the fact that communion wafers contain wheat gluten. This was, I gather, in between sessions of having real issues to spend their time on. People with celiac disease cannot process wheat gluten, so they have requested that the diocese replace their normal wafers with gluten-free ones.
Rev. Eric Dunn, chancellor of the diocese, said that under canon law, the host has to have some gluten in it.
It’s been a while since I was in church, but I still remember the fateful passage from Matthew 18:20;
Jesus said unto his disciples “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. But verily I say unto you: if y’all aren’t packing the gluten, y’all can go fuck yourselves!”
And in a moment that shows the sensitive, forward-thinking and inclusive spirit we’ve come to expect from the Church, the bishop made it clear that anyone with celiac disease can feel free to forego the communion wafers and drink from the chalice instead. As if having a cracker make you shit yourself isn’t bad enough, you can now out yourself as diseased in front of the whole community! “Mommy, why don’t you take communion?” “Because Jesus hates my small intestine, honey.”
Maybe the church is an easy target and picking on them for making stupid mistakes is like beating a dead horse until it rises again on the third day, but I found this story particularly interesting. According to the same canon law, the host (the communion wafer), once consecrated, undergoes a process called transubstantiation wherein it becomes the living body of Jesus. This is a sacred miracle that is one of the cornerstones of Catholic mass. Far from being merely a symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice, the host is the body of Christ.
If this is true, then there should be no gluten present at all in a consecrated host, so people with celiac disease shouldn’t have anything to worry about. By admitting that people with celiac disease might need to avoid it, the church is saying either:
- Their priests are incompetent and incapable of calling down the bread-transformin’ powers of Almighty God,
- God refuses to perform the miracle because the followers of the Church (and by extension, the leaders) are lacking in some important way,
- God hates people with celiac disease, or
- It’s just a cracker, transubstantiation is a crock, and canon law is just a bunch of hokey superstition dressed up in funny clothes.
Unsurprisingly, the issue lit up the comments section (I can’t dive into those anymore, I get addicted) and the religious and anti-religious came out of the woodwork to pump their respective positions. If you want to explore just how deep the lack of critical thinking can go, just check out the flame war on any religious posting comments board.
Expect more brilliant insight from the Church, incidentally. Nobody’s told them it’s not the 1500s anymore, but when they find out, there’s gonna be a shiiiiit storm!
For argument’s sake, exactly how much gluten are these hypochondriacs worried will exist in a one-inch diameter wafer? Is that worth the cost to anyone?