An 8 year old girl who is unable to eat wheat has had her first Communion invalidated by the diocese of Trenton because she received a wafer that didn’t contain any unleavened wheat.
The Church holds that Communion wafers must contain some unleavened wheat, like the bread served at the Last Supper.
But the Elizabeth Pelly-Waldman, the girl’s mother, has written to the Holy Father and to Cardinal Ratzinger asking that an exception be made for her daughter who has been diagnosed with celiac sprue disease, a disorder which occurs in people with a genetic intolerance for gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains.
If she was to consume wheat the gluten it contains could damage the lining of the small intestine, blocking nutrient absorption and leading to vitamin deficiencies, bone-thinning and sometimes gastrointestinal cancer.
"This is not an issue to be determined at the diocesan or parish level, but has already been decided for the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world by Vatican authority," Trenton Bishop John Smith said in a statement last week.