Five-year-old Jennifer Richardson of Natick, Mass., has celiac disease. Therefore she cant eat wheat. In the Catholic Church the Host must be made of wheat. Is there a problem here as regards Jennifers first Communion? Of course not. However, Jennifers parents, Doug and Janice, are making a big stink.
The parents insist, according to a news report in the National Catholic Reporter (Feb. 9), that Jennifer receive a host made of rice instead of wheat. But rice is invalid matter. A valid sacrament must have proper form, matter, subject, and minister. Thus, for example, rose petals are invalid matter for Baptism, two males are invalid subjects for Holy Matrimony, a nun is an invalid minister of the Eucharist. So if a priest baptizes someone with rose petals instead of water, nothing happens no Baptism has occurred. Likewise, if a priest consecrates a host made of rice, it is not transubstantiated there is no Real Presence. Its sheer make-believe.
The Church requires (wheat) bread and wine, not rice and tea, not hamburgers and Coke, because Jesus used bread and wine. Likewise, the Church ordains only males and not females because thats what Jesus did.
Now, Jennifer can of course receive under the appearance of wine. So the solution is obvious: Jennifer takes from a chalice and one not contaminated by the apparent wheat particles possibly left off by a prior recipent but she does not receive the Host, which is what the priest quite properly offered. This is merely the reverse of the common practice of receiving the Host but not the chalice.
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