This just in from the one-more-way-religions-look-stupid department, a Catholic Cardinal has forbidden the use of gluten free Jesus crackers during Holy Communion:
Vatican 0outlaws use of gluten free bread for Holy Communion. — The Telegraph
The ruling was announced in a letter to bishops by Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
He has said the bread can be low-gluten, but the wheat must contain enough protein for it to be made without additives.
For those of you who aren’t Catholics, one of the core beliefs is that the wafers and wine they consume during mass literally turn into the flesh and blood of Christ once they’ve been consecrated. This belief was obligatory in 1215 with the Fourth Council of the Lateran.
The Vatican appears to be declaring that, despite being an all-powerful entity responsible for the existence of all creation who can literally do anything he can imagine, God is incapable or unwilling to perform transubstantiation on gluten free bread.
He added: “The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition.
“It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament.”
And don’t you even begin to think any old wine will do as Jesus blood:
“The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances.”
Leaving aside the cannibalistic aspects of this ritual for a moment, you would think God would have had the foresight of the sort of problems that a Jesus cracker with gluten in it would cause Catholics with Celiac disease, what with being all-knowing and all. Which calls into question that whole transubstantiation thing to begin with. I mean, if the cracker literally becomes the flesh of Christ then wouldn’t that remove any gluten in it? Or did Jesus have naturally occurring gluten in his flesh?
Lutherans, who also practice this odd ritual, don’t seem to be as hung up on what the cracker is made out of and generally leave it up to the local churches to decide if they’re willing to substitute gluten free bread. Methodists can also use gluten free bread or rice cakes. I’ve not checked into the other denominations that engage in a similar ritual, but I’d bet they are also more accommodating.
One can only assume that the Catholic church doesn’t think God is capable of turning anything other than unleavened wheat bread into Jesus flesh. Or he’s just that much of a petty bread snob that he refuses to do so.