Friday, 29 March 2013

Some Require Jesus To Be Gluten-Free

Awhile back I posted about a grand research project our family was embarking on - gluten free diets.  This was all a result of my son being diagnosed with Autism.

Now before you write to let me know there is no scientific basis for going gluten free to manage Autism, I just want to  agree. We know there is no scientific basis for this but we're giving it a try anyway.

But for some people living without gluten is more than an experiment, it's absolutely essential.  People with celiac disease can get horribly sick if they ingest even a minute about of gluten.

So what do Catholics do about communion?  How do they get to eat Jesus without getting sick? I'm sure you've stayed up at night about this as well.  Actually, based on some of the message boards and blog comment sections out there, Catholics do stay up at night about this.

Then my wife sent me this link.

You know, for centuries European celiacs have likely had a hard enough time living in such a wheat-based society to begin with.  Could you even imagine getting violently ill after the ritual consumption the flesh of your god? Not only heartbreaking but also potentially dangerous if anyone connected the dots - witches were being burnt for less, I'm sure.

It seems like if your an Anglican celiac you're in luck, you can go 100% gluten free.  While if you're Catholic you're stuck with some gluten, so maybe you'll need to get a little sick.  I guess suffering is good anyway if you're Catholic.  You know, Mother Teresa was totally into suffering - well for other people.
Certified by The Bishop's Council in the UK as compliant with the Liturgical Rules of the Roman Catholic Church. 
This altar bread contains Gluten content of 20 part per million or less making it much safer than other Catholic use altar breads typically at upwards of 200 parts per million. Although termed gluten free, this host still has trace amounts of gluten. In the Catholic Church, trace amounts of wheat (which is the source of gluten) are required. Recommended for use by all churches.
I guess a certain amount of wheat is required or the spell will not work?  The amusing thing about this for an ex-Catholic like me is seeing how multitudinous the layers of complete nonsense are.

Apparently, God somehow needs some wheat to be in the bread for him to change the bread into the flesh of his own son so people can eat him.  That's apparently how Jesus communes with people - he changes bits of bread into his body so people can eat it.  The only reason this made any sense to me when I was Catholic is because I never actually thought about it.

I enjoy reading comments by Catholics who begin asking questions.  I realize this is usually a painful spot for them to be in, but I find it fascinating to read.

Like this very insightful comment on Deacons Bench blog:
Alright, this issue is causing me to have a theological query about Christ. So here we have Christ being the Word of God Made Flesh. He purposely makes gluten-containing wheat in the physical form of bread the only “food” substance valid for His consecration for all existence. You’d think that being God made flesh he’d have the foresight and knolwedge to know what Celiac disease is. So how could our Lord do this, knowing Celiac disease would be an issue then and now? You’d think he would have planned this better.
This is a damn good question.  Maybe God just doesn't like people with Celiac disease.  He has some pretty strict rules about who can even approach his altar in Leviticus.  Or maybe he just didn't think about it - he's got everything else on his mind.

What bothers me a lot about this is the theophagic ritual cannibalism people are unable to participate in.  But apparently this is perfectly natural and nothing to worry about.  I guess I must be the crazy one. Of course, some of you may think that Catholics don't actually believe the bread really turns into the flesh of a dead 2,000 year old guy, but I'm afraid it's more complicated than that.

The website Catholic Celiacs explains this.
For the Catholic with celiac disease, the most painful aspect of living on a strict gluten free is the inability to receive the host, or bread, at Communion. Catholics believe that the bread is transformed into the Body of Christ.
You know, I just don't miss eating Jesus.  If you give me the choice of Jesus and a pizza, I'd take the pizza 100% of the time.  I've eaten Jesus and he's just not all that tasty.  I mean, even a salted cracker is better.

But what causes me to facepalm here is how they've captured the supreme illogic of transubstantiation in two simple sentences.  Is it bread or is it the body of Jesus?  Which one? Surely it cannot be both.   But in the religion where 3 equals 1, there is apparently no logical problem at all.  Back to the blog comments from celiac Catholics where Robyn captures the contradiction nicely.
I really don’t understand .. This is where I get confused.. I am wheat intolerant although not as bad as a person with Celiac, having said that, when the “bread and wine” are consecrated by the Priest they BECOME, the Body and Blood of our Living Lord , so if this is true which, I believe with my whole soul that it is, WHY would anyone have trouble receiving ?????? Something is wrong here.
You and me both, sister.  Wouldn't the Jesus-body cancel out the effects of gluten in the bread? Apparently not.  So is it bread or Jesus?  Because it seems like it just stays bread and the Jesus stuff is just make-believe.  Another helpful commenter addresses Karyn's worrying foray into skepticism and logic.
Maybe this will help. In our day, there are many things that aren’t what they would appear. Take, for instance, gummy vitamins for children! They look and taste like candy. Yet, they are indeed vitamins that are sold with a child resistance cap to keep kids from eating them/overdosing on them like candy. Are they candy? No. Are they vitamins? Yes. Do they taste and feel and smell like candy? Yes. They still retain the properties of candy but are not. Likewise, anti-cough strips are sold that don’t look/taste/feel anything like medicine…and yet they are.
So, if human beings/pharmaceutical companies are able to create such things that aren’t what they seem, that “masquerade” as other things but are medicinal in nature, how much more can God, for whom nothing is impossible, do? Thus, the bread and wine, when consecrated, retain their original properties and are yet God…the best medicine in the world!
You know what?  I've got what appears to be a five dollar bill in my pocket.  But it's really a $1,000,000,000 bill that God made for me.  It's true - the Church said so.  I also may physically look like a normal somewhat overweight white guy but in reality I'm Sammy Davis Junior.  It's true.

No wait, I was being silly there.  Things really are what they are.  I can call myself Sammy Davis Junior,  but I'm not, I'm me.  Those children's gummy vitamins are ... children's gummy vitamins.  The host is... a piece of bread.  What a lame argument that was and Karyn didn't respond to it.

Some of the folks on the blog were downright upset with anyone trying to make the body of their god more digestible to celiacs.  Any change to the official bit of bread was considered sacrilege.  Jesus would be insulted by the very thought of being consumed within a potato-based morsel.  But I cannot help but think this could be a joke.  How could they be serious about any of this stuff?
“And, I pray for the priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who raise these potato/rice wafers and declare “The Body of Christ.”
It sounds like they are simulating a Sacrament if non-gluten hosts are invalid matter and they knowingly distribute them as Communion. Serious issue indeed.
 Totally incomprehensible.  Okay, this post has gotten too silly.

Here in Quebec you can pick up the
left over bits (cuttings) from 
Catholic communion wafers at your
local grocery store for a modest price.
They probably go well in salads.
In conclusion, here in post-Catholic secular Quebec many people only attend church if there's a wedding or someone died.

So what if they're having a hankering for communion wafers?  I mean, back in the day they only got one a week.  What if they want more?  What if they want to pig out?

Well you can buy communion wafers in any grocery store here in Quebec!  Got a priest handy?  If so, then you could conceivably have him transubstantiate the whole bag and you and all your friends could have a theophagic feast at your next party.  Don't forget the dip.

And don't forget that centuries of being under the heel of the Catholic church has generated a rich array of profanities based on every single aspect of the church and the mass.  This includes the French word for communion wafer: hostie.
The sacres originated in the early 19th century in a time when the social control exerted by the Catholic clergy was increasingly a source of frustration.
These sacres are commonly given in a phonetic spelling to indicate the differences in pronunciation from the original word, several of which, notably the deletion of final consonants and change of [ɛ] to [a] before /r/ are typical of highly informal Quebec French. 
baptême - "baptism"
câlice (calice) - "chalice"
calvaire - "Calvary"
ciarge (cierge) - "votive or Paschal candle"
ciboire - "ciborium" or "pyx", receptacles in which the host is stored
crisse (Christ) - "Christ"
maudit - "damn"
ostie (hostie) - "host"
sacrament (sacrement) - "Sacrament"
simonaque (simonaque) - from the sin of simony
tabarnak (tabernacle) - "tabernacle"
viarge (vierge) - "the Virgin Mary"
So I would like to end this post with a sampling of Quebecois profanity.

"Criss de calice de tabarnac d'osti de sacrament du st-siboire"
A sentence most likely used when the person is really pissed off as fuck!"


  1. SkepticismandSprinkles30 March 2013 at 13:15

    Hm, looks like I'll have to order some hosts. I'm sure there are a thousand things you can cook with them, I mean ramen noodles do and they're just as bland.

    The issues that arise from the consumption and people's ability to just brush it off never cease to amaze me. I'll never forget being in the hospital and not being allowed to eat anything. The priest comes in and offers me communion. I hadn't eaten in 3 days and I would have just taken the whole bowl from him. But alas, I could not have any. Magic Jesus cracker is apparently food just like any other.

  2. GodlessPoutine6 April 2013 at 00:36

    Thanks for your comment and story. I was Catholic and then sort of drifted to Paganism, Pantheism and Atheism. But I don't recall ever letting my brain do summersaults like that. It would just break my faith and I would end up moving over to another philosophy. I guess other people don't do that - they just house contradiction after contradiction in their heads. Oh well. I don't understand at all.

  3. The most simple and therefore common method of diagnosing coeliac's disease is with a blood test. The test looks for a certain level of antigliadin, which, long story short, causes the symptoms of coeliac's disease.

    However, just because one does not have enough antigliadin to positively test for coeliac's does not mean that antigliadin is not in the blood - it may exist in trace amounts, which would be nearly undetectable. Some studies have shown that antigliadin can harm the brain's Purkinje neurons. This paper summarizes some of this

    Since antigliadin can exist in any of us, and can severely harm certain neurons, it seems like a reasonable assumption that antigliadin, and therefore gluten, could cause some remarkle neurological damage.

    This is the argument that I use about scientific evidence for gluten causing autism. I, personally, forgot virtually everything I learned in school before I cut gluten out of my diet. I was not even a functional human being, and if I had been younger, I would have been diagnosed with autism and forgotten, I am sure. At this point I have relearned most things, and I'm about to finish my degree at Duke.

    However, I took on a full primal diet, kind of like what is described at I also took a lot of naturally derived vitamins - FocusFactor from Sams Club allowed me to think more clearly than Adderall; I could tell my brain would move slower if I did not take at least 6 tablets a day. (The vitamins that are linked with cancer are often artificially derived.) All I ate every day was about 2 lbs of salad and 2 lbs of meat which I cooked myself and put NO seasonings on. Once FocusFactor was no longer necessary for my daily life, choline tablets became the most important pill for my daily functions. I found that too much peanut butter and peanut oil was very, very bad for my recovery - I have theories about why, but instead of explaining them, just be aware of every food until you test it on yourself/your son in a 100% controlled environment.

  4. GodlessPoutine31 May 2013 at 00:04

    Thanks for your feedback. So would you consider yourself autistic? The more I read about autism the more I believe I could have been autistic the whole time. I'm happy to see you found a diet that works for you.


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