Vatican bans gluten-free bread for Holy Communion

Man breaking bread Getty
Coeliacs should avoid Holy Communion at the Vatican. Photo credit: Getty

While many cafes and restaurants are now catering to those who are gluten-free, the same cannot be said for the Vatican.

According to a BBC report, the Vatican has ruled that bread used to celebrate the Eucharist during Roman Catholic Mass must not be gluten-free - although it may be made from genetically modified organisms.

Although bread can be low-gluten, there must be enough protein in the wheat to make it without additives, declared Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship.

In a letter to bishops, the cardinal wrote that the new rules are needed because gluten-free bread is so easily bought at the supermarket.  The letter said the ruling was issued at the request of Pope Francis.

Roman Catholics believe bread and wine served at the Eucharist are converted into the body and blood of Christ through a process known as transubstantiation.

The wine used must also be "natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances," said Cardinal Sarah.

There are about 1.2 billion Roman Catholics around the world.