Church invalidates girl’s Communion

Bishop says wafer must contain wheat despite her digestive disorder

BRIELLE, N.J. – An 8-year-old girl who suffers from a rare digestive disorder and cannot eat wheat has had her first Holy Communion declared invalid because the wafer contained no wheat, violating Roman Catholic doctrine.


The Bible talks about Pharisees – religious leaders who put heavy yokes on people by preferring strict observance to man-made rules over the grace and mercy taught by Jesus Christ.

The Catholic Church has lots of man-made rules and doctrines that have no Biblical support whatsoever, along with teachings and practices that are defended by an incorrect interpretation of what the Bible actually says.

Though Communion is a Biblical practice, the Catholic rite of Communion includes many extra-Biblical elements. For example, the whole business with the ‘wafer’ has no Biblical support whatsoever. It is a man-made invention, not in any way taught by the God the Catholic Church claims to serve and represent.

Denying someone Communion based on such man-made rules is Pharasaical at best. Frankly, we considered filing this story in the “religious insanity category.”

Now, Haley Waldman’s mother is pushing the Diocese of Trenton and the Vatican to make an exception, saying the girl’s condition should not exclude her from the sacrament, which commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ. The mother believes a rice Communion wafer would suffice.

“It’s just not a viable option. How does it corrupt the tradition of the Last Supper? It’s just rice vs. wheat,” said Elizabeth Pelly-Waldman.

Church doctrine holds that Communion wafers, like the bread at the Last Supper, must have at least some unleavened wheat.

“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 M. Smith said in a written statement last week.

Doctors diagnosed celiac sprue disease in Haley when she was 5. The disorder occurs in people with a genetic intolerance of gluten, a food protein contained in wheat and other grains.

The diocese has told Haley’s mother that the girl can receive a low-gluten wafer, or just drink wine at Communion but that anything without gluten does not qualify. Ms. Pelly-Waldman rejected the offer, saying her child could be harmed by even a small amount of the substance.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Associated Press, USA
Aug. 19, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday August 20, 2004.
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