Vatican lays down law on gluten-free hosts

Vatican lays down law on gluten-free hosts

The Vatican has reminded bishops that completely gluten-free hosts are invalid.

Low-gluten hosts, on the other hand, are valid for people who, “for varying and grave reasons, cannot consume bread made in the usual manner”, provided the hosts “contain a sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread”, a circular letter said.

The letter, issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, urged bishops to look at ways to safeguard the validity of the bread and wine used for the celebration of the Eucharist.

It explained that because the bread and wine were no longer supplied by religious communities but “are also sold in supermarkets and other stores and even over the internet”, bishops should set up guidelines, an oversight body and/or even a form of certification to help “remove any doubt about the validity of the matter for the Eucharist”.

The circular letter, “On the bread and wine for the Eucharist”, was sent to diocesan bishops “at the request of the Holy Father, Pope Francis”. The letter was dated June 15 – the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.

The letter underlined that every bishop “is bound to remind priests, especially parish priests and rectors of churches, of their responsibility to verify those who provide the bread and wine for the celebration and the worthiness of the material.”

Bishops must also provide information to the producers of the bread and wine for the Eucharist, the letter said.


Bishops say that Venezuela is heading for dictatorship

Venezuela’s bishops have said that the government is aiming to install a “military dictatorship, socialist, Marxist and communist”.

The Church and the Venezuelan authorities have long had a tense relationship, but the comments by Archbishop Diego Padron Sanchez, president of the bishops’ conference, refer to a process unilaterally initiated by Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro to draft a new constitution for the country. To create that document, Venezuelans will elect hundreds of representatives to a constituent assembly on July 30.

Mr Maduro said the initiative aimed to bring peace to the country after 100 days of anti-government protests in which more than 80 people have died.

But the opposition and bishops have denounced the plan. They say the assembly’s structure would over-represent pro-government sectors, guaranteeing a body favourable to a government that polls show has the support of less than a quarter of the population.

“A constituent assembly without consultation from the people first will bring negative consequences… because the government excludes many sectors to impose a communal state,” Archbishop Padron said.


Pope: ‘Europe must be federal’

Pope Francis has reportedly said that Europe “must become a federal community or it will no longer count for anything in the world”.

His comments were apparently made in an interview with Eugenio Scalfari, the 93-year-old La Repubblica journalist who does not record interviews or take notes. Mr Scalfari said he had expressed his belief that Europe had to take on a federal structure and Francis echoed his comments.

The interview came ahead of a G20 summit.