The bread used in Catholic communion rites must contain a trace amount of gluten, according to a Vatican directive.
The circular letter (or one that is circulated to a group of people such as the clergy), released June 15, is not new policy: It reaffirms previous church guidelines regarding the host, which also reject additives like fruit or honey. According to the letter, congregants who cannot consume the wheat protein gluten because of celiac disease, an allergy or another serious reason may use bread that is low-gluten — which, confusingly, is often marketed as gluten-free in the United States and Europe. But bread made out of rice, tapioca or non-wheat grains is not acceptable.
So why is the church concerned about the presence of a particular wheat protein in bread?