Eucharistic Bread Recipe

by Jimmy Akin

in Sacraments

demptionA reader writes:

Attached is a "bread recipe" a local parish uses to bake its own Eucharistic bread.  They’ve established a group of people within their Worship commission to bake this weekly and have it ready for weekend Masses.  I’ve attached the recipe for you to look at.  Is it legitimate?  Hopefully you can shed some light on the issue.  Thank you very much.

Bread Baking Recipe

Since the recipe calls for the use of salt, baking powder, honey, and oil, it is clearly illicit (not in conformity with the law). The Code of Canon Law provides:

Canon 924 §2.

The bread must be only wheat and recently made
so that there is no danger of spoiling.

The instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum further specifies:

[48.] The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition. It follows therefore that bread made from another substance, even if it is grain, or if it is mixed with another substance different from wheat to such an extent that it would not commonly be considered wheat bread, does not constitute valid matter for confecting the Sacrifice and the Eucharistic Sacrament. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools.

I would talk to the bishop about the problem if you can’t get it rectified on the parish level.

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{ 36 comments }

DJ September 22, 2005 at 9:43 am

With the only-wheat thing. What if people are allergic to wheat?

pha September 22, 2005 at 9:46 am

Catholics United for the Faith offers an “Effective Lay Witness Protocol” guide for dealing with problems according to Church procedure.
“To assist the faithful when controversies arise, the Church has given certain procedures that should be used. These procedures respect the ‘institutions established by the Church,’ and are provided for in the Code of Canon Law. There are three types of procedures that can be used: judicial, administrative, and pastoral. In all circumstances, the Church favors pastoral means as a way of resolving disputes (canons 1446, 1676, 1713-1716, 1733). Judicial and administrative recourse should only take place when pastoral means have been exhausted, or the nature of the matter requires immediate and formal action.” Etc.

pha September 22, 2005 at 10:07 am

What if people are allergic to wheat?
Refer to “A Short Introduction to Holy Communion and Celiac Sprue Disease” by the USCCB’s Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy.

whimsy September 22, 2005 at 10:07 am

People with wheat allergies drink the Blood of Christ in the cup and still receive the full, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
whimsy

Tony Miller September 22, 2005 at 10:43 am

Many times, a priest will prepare a special chalice in which no crumbs of the host have fallen.

Mick September 22, 2005 at 10:51 am

This is an interesting topic, as I have wondered about this since 1972 back in parochial school, when a classmate told me he had gone to Sunday Mass while visiting his brother at Notre Dame Univ., where they had used carrot juice and tiny chocolate chip cookies (yuk!) in place of wine and bread. When I attended another college years later, our Newman Chaplain always used cuts of leavened bread, which concerned me, too. Since the Last Supper was a Passover meal, it only makes sense to use unleavened bread for hosts. I do wonder, however, just how strict the “recipie” really needs to be. Why couldn’t we just use Kosher Matzah? I mean, it seems a little formalistic to think that Jesus would refuse to show up in communion if the consecrated hosts have a pinch of salt or honey. Just my two cents.

pha September 22, 2005 at 11:48 am

carrot juice and tiny chocolate chip cookies (yuk!) in place of wine and bread
Yuck! and invalid :P
it seems a little formalistic to think that Jesus would refuse to show up in communion if the consecrated hosts have a pinch of salt or honey.
A pinch of salt or drop of honey will not necessarily render it invalid, but it does make it illicit.

Alois September 22, 2005 at 12:36 pm

“People with wheat allergies drink the Blood of Christ in the cup and still receive the full, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Yes, but then you always have that 1 in 10,000,000th person who has celiac’s disease and is a recovering alcoholic. Just can never win.

Jimmy Akin September 22, 2005 at 12:39 pm

That’s why God created grace.

pha September 22, 2005 at 12:42 pm

Yes, but then you always have that 1 in 10,000,000th person who has celiac’s disease and is a recovering alcoholic.
The Short Introduction to Holy Communion and Celiac Sprue Disease addressed this issue under the heading “What about people who cannot receive low gluten hosts and cannot receive even a small amount of consecrated wine?”

Phil W. September 22, 2005 at 12:48 pm

Even that leaves unanswered the problem of cases when a person cannot consume even the minim amount of alcohol. But I thought that even completely non-alcoholic wine was already allowed.

pha September 22, 2005 at 1:10 pm

Even that leaves unanswered the problem of cases when a person cannot consume even the minim amount of alcohol.
No, it doesn’t leave it “unanswered.” “If an individual is unable to tolerate mustum,” there is yet another recommendation. Honestly, isn’t anyone actually reading the link?

DJ September 22, 2005 at 1:16 pm

I read it. :)

pha September 22, 2005 at 1:21 pm

Thanks, DJ :)

DJ September 22, 2005 at 1:34 pm

Here’s a question regarding Cannon Law (or this issue in Cannon Law.) Is it something that can in the future change? IE, can the Vatican allow some form of a non-gluten host in the future? Or are they stuck with the law as it now stands?

pha September 22, 2005 at 1:48 pm

The statement “Hosts that are completely gluten-free are invalid matter for the celebration of the Eucharist” was not from the Code of Canon Law but the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Italian title is listed on the Vatican site).
If it were merely a question of mere liceity, it might be reasonable to point out that non-doctrinal laws can change, however unlikely that may be (e.g. married men could be allowed ordination in the Latin Church or laymen could become cardinals, though current law is against it). But this is a question of validity, not liceity. The Church does not have the authority to change the matter of a sacrament.

LarryD September 22, 2005 at 5:24 pm

Thanks for the answer, Jimmy. I’ll pass the info on to my neighbor who attends that parish. As if the bread issue wasn’t bad enough, the parish also has the EM’s shred the consecrated bread into small pieces just after the Lamb of God. About 10 EM’s gather around the altar as the priest looks on, and they place the pieces in baskets to distribute to the congregation. It makes me shudder to think of how many particles must be scattered about. I’ve never gone back to the parish, and when I ask my friends why they attend there, it’s because they have a “great music program”.

Jules September 22, 2005 at 6:38 pm

carrot juice and tiny chocolate chip cookies (yuk!) in place of wine and bread
Why. On. Earth. That’s not creativity, that’s spite.

Kirk Kanzelberger September 22, 2005 at 8:11 pm

No, Jules, it was (sigh) “relevance”.

Julia September 22, 2005 at 11:56 pm

According to wat I’ve heard Fr. Corapi say about this subject is if the bread is made with ANYTHING other than what the Church says it should be, it is not able to be consecrated. Therefore, no consecration, NO JESUS. It’s that simple and that tragic. We want people to recieve Our Lord, not to make sure He tastes good.

Julia September 22, 2005 at 11:57 pm

According to what I’ve heard Fr. Corapi say about this subject is if the bread is made with ANYTHING other than what the Church says it should be, it is not able to be consecrated. Therefore, no consecration, NO JESUS. It’s that simple and that tragic. We want people to recieve Our Lord, not to make sure He tastes good.

Julia September 22, 2005 at 11:58 pm

sorry for the double post, I couldn’t stop it fast enough to change a typo.

fidens September 23, 2005 at 2:12 am

Jimmy,
I understand that the practice is illicit, but if leavened bread is used is the sacrament “invalid” (if that is the correct expression)?

Liam September 23, 2005 at 2:23 am

No, if leavened bread is used, it is valid but illicit. Leavened bread is what is used in all the Eastern churches (Catholic and otherwise) except the Armenian churches.
There is a long history of theology of understanding leavened vs unleavened that I will spare readers here.
Also, we should not simply assume that the Last Supper was a seder on the first night of Passover: Scripture and, so far as I am aware, Tradition leave that question open because of the different witness of the Gospel of John (where the supper was held the prior night) and the other Gospels. Whereas higher biblical criticism of modern times had tended to treat the Gospel of John as more symbolic and less historical in detail than the other Gospels, the current trend (so far as I am aware) has been increasing in favor of accepting the historicity of details in John.
Also, what we know of as the modern seder post-dates the destruction of the Temple. The ritual in Jesus’ time was not entirely different, but it was not the same as the one we are familiar with. Avoid anachronism in imaging the picture.
I should also note that, for Jewish ritual law, passover matzot could only be made from grains that had at least some form of gluten (wheat, emmer, spelt, barley and rye, though only the first three have enough to have bread rise well). Gluten was considered a special quality in grain, and the lack of leaven only made symbolic sense in the presence of glutinous grain, because it would be redundant in non-glutinous grain. Due to this, I would speculate that if some agricultural disease were to eradicate all species of wheat on earth, the Church would likely look to historic Jewish practice at the time of Jesus for guidance.

Liam September 23, 2005 at 2:24 am

I should note that ancients likely did not know of gluten as such, but were able to observe which grains were had qualities we now know to associate with it.

vinegar September 23, 2005 at 5:39 am

“A pinch of salt or drop of honey will not necessarily render it invalid, but it does make it illicit.”
I would think that a pinch of salt would be licit. The law mentions “fruit or sugar or honey” as examples of illicit substances not to be added. Salt seems to be OK. After all salt can be used simply as a preservative and not as a spice.

Anonymous September 23, 2005 at 5:40 am

I believe a pinch of salt would be licit. Salt is not necessarily a spice.

Liam September 23, 2005 at 7:34 am

Actually, salt would appear to be illicit, too, because other than wheat and water would be illicit. But not necessarily invalid (which depends on quantity of adulteration, and that is not spelled out too far). The examples are merely illustrative, not exhaustive.
The only potentially illicit ingredient that I am aware has been permitted explicitly by Rome is the de minimis amount of oil once used to coat wafer-makers (and I think now obviated in part by the advent of non-stick coatings for more modern production methods).

pha September 23, 2005 at 11:46 am

I would think that a pinch of salt would be licit. The law mentions “fruit or sugar or honey” as examples of illicit substances not to be added.
Salt is illicit.
Canon 924 §2. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling.
Redemptionis Sacramentum [48.] The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition…. It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist.
“Fruit or sugar or honey” are only examples. Salt, not being wheat, also violates the canon.

Mick September 29, 2005 at 10:48 am

To loop back on this topic just one more time, I read the quoted texts on the bread recipe for hosts that are cited in the note above. It is interesting to me that the rules state the bread must be “only wheat” when water must also be added to flour in order to make dough. I just thought it interesting that only the dry ingredients are specified and not the wet. Could this omission mean that the host could be made of wheat flour and milk? or some other liquid? I just found the omitted mention of water — which is, to my thinking, an essential ingredient for bread — to pose other interesting questions.

LarryD October 26, 2005 at 9:07 pm

I started this thread, so I’ve come full circle. The parish that posted the recipe has deleted it from their parish website, and has allegedly “changed” their recipe. I may find out, may not. But it’s interesting that it’s no longer there….do they have a spy on the blog? Should Jimmy start doing background checks? Hmmmmm…….

Heidi March 28, 2006 at 9:33 am

The ladies of my church and I have been studing up on the Holy Days and the fact that saturday is the true weekly sabbath. We are also wanting to observe the other Holy days such as the day of unleavened breard. We do not know the reciepie and want the true biblical way of making it. Can you help me? If at all possible I would also like scripture to back it up so I can go to my fellow church members with it

Wheat Bread Recipe January 13, 2007 at 2:10 am

Wheat Bread Recipe

Ive tried twice to make the Jim Lahey No Knead bread recipe using whol

murat February 16, 2008 at 9:11 am

‘The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling’ It seems that cannonics didn’t aware of celiac disease :)

bill912 February 16, 2008 at 9:34 am

And your evidence is?
Since bread made only from wheat is the ONLY kind which can be transubstatiated, what would the Church’s alternative be? Any non-wheat bread would not become the Body of Christ.

bill912 February 16, 2008 at 9:43 am

Since your objection was refuted by pha in the third comment on this thread, over 2 years ago,as well as by several others, it is obvious that you didn’t even read them before posting.

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