His wonderfulness Francis the Talking Pope has said that in order to be officially sanctioned as a slice of actual Jesus, communion hosts must contain at least a tiny bit of gluten.
As a person with celiac disease I am not harmed by this policy, I became an ex-Catholic over fifty years ago. There are people who suffer from celiac disease and Catholicism (fortunately Catholicism can be cured). For those folks the Vatican authorizes the use of so-called low gluten hosts, which have less of the protein that sets off the extreme autoimmune reaction that characterizes the disease (celiac, not Catholicism).
Anecdotal reports suggest that the longer a celiac sufferer maintains a gluten-free diet the worse the reaction to accidental ingestion. My experience is very much consistent. I have not been hit since July 2014 when I was glutened once in Scotland and once at home. After 20 years gluten-free I literally thought I was dying in Scotland. I spent about 45 minutes with alternating and sometimes simultaneous explosive diarrhea and projectile vomiting. Sorry for the dramatically descriptive account, but I want to emphasize what is at stake.
Claims are being made that the amount of gluten in a "low gluten" communion wafer is so slight that celiac sufferers would not react. I call bullshit.
The US FDA has established 20 parts per million as the threshold below which foods may be labelled gluten free. It is thought that folks with the condition do not typically react until there is 200 parts per million of gluten. The claim is made that so-called low gluten hosts are under 5 parts per million. If true it would be legal under US law to call them gluten free. I still think it is extremely unwise for any person with celiac disease to knowingly ingest any amount of gluten for any non-medical reason (sometimes doctors order patients undergoing diagnosis to resume eating gluten temporarily in order to do blood tests for a specific immune response seen only in celiac sufferers).
It should be noted that in addition to the immediate signs of a gluten reaction, the patient's immune system is attacking the villi lining the small intestine and damage is being done. Persistent consumption of gluten by people with celiac disease is known to cause stomach cancer (not me) which killed my mother, who never started a GF diet.
From time to time I do find myself agreeing with FtTP, but not this time. And of course the irony of a slice of Jesus containing wheat is not lost on me.
My condolences to those simultaneously afflicted with celiac disease and Catholicism. Let this stimulate a round of critical thinking about the fairy tales you were taught as a child.
(of course if Jesus had superpowers he could transubstantiate a rice wafer into his meat, but, you know, he'd have to exist first)
Pope Francis recently reminded bishops and priests that the wafers Catholics consume as the Body of Christ must contain at least some gluten, a naturally occurring protein in wheat.
Of course my advice to a Catholic with celiac disease would be to skip HRCC altogether. This surprises nobody.