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holy bread Gluten-free communion bread not allowed at mass under canon law, says nun

"We don’t do gluten-free”


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Gluten-free communion is not allowed at mass under canon law, a nun who produces and sells Eucharistic bread has said.

Sister Fiachra Nutty, from St Mary’s Abbey, in Waterford, said it’s not permitted as under the church law the bread that’s concentrated at the altar must have a percentage of wheat in it.

Sister Fiachra’s job up until September of last year was baking and selling holy bread, however, due to the pandemic the business has been made almost entirely redundant.

"It’s made some of our work redundant, our primary work here is prayer,” she said on RTÉ Radio 1’s Liveline.

"But the actual manual work that we engage in, we have a three way split in our monastery and up to September of last year I was working on Eucharist bread.

"But, you can imagine what happened during the pandemic, it was like the guillotine dropped and what had been a very successful business just stopped.”

While working in the business, Sister Fiachra said she made five different sizes of bread both in brown and white, but there was no gluten-free option.

"We don’t do gluten-free,” she said. “That is by canon law that the bread that's concentrated at the alter must have a percentage of wheat, so we cant produce gluten-free hosts and be in conformity with canon law.

"Now, there are gluten-free hosts out there and I’m not trying to cause trouble with anybody but under canon law it's not supposed to be concentrated.

"And if you have a problem with gluten you should really be receiving from the chalice. I know we can’t now but pre Covid.”

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