Is their some mindset in the Church that WANTS to alienate averyone it can?
BRIELLE, New Jersey (AP) -- 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.
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 before his crucifixion. 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 versus wheat," said Elizabeth Pelly-Waldman.
Church doctrine holds that Communion wafers, like the bread served at the Last Supper, must have at least some unleavened wheat. Church leaders are reluctant to change anything about the sacrament.
"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 statement last week.
Haley was diagnosed with celiac sprue disease when she was 5. The disorder occurs in people with a genetic intolerance of gluten, a food protein contained in wheat and other grains.
When consumed by celiac sufferers, gluten damages the lining of the small intestine, blocking nutrient absorption and leading to vitamin deficiencies, bone-thinning and sometimes gastrointestinal cancer.
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. Pelly-Waldman rejected the offer, saying her child could be harmed by even a small amount of the substance.
Haley's Communion controversy isn't the first. In 2001, the family of a 5-year-old Massachusetts girl with the disease left the Catholic church after being denied permission to use a rice wafer.