Update from Fergal O’Sullivan, CEO of the Coeliac Society of Ireland.
In response to the Vatican letter regarding the gluten free communion host, it would appear to be just a clarification of its view on the use of gluten free hosts for celebrating the Eucharist and, in effect, nothing has changed from the existing direction.
Wheat, a cereal that contains gluten, is the only substance authorised by the Catholic Church to make an acceptable host. According to the Vatican, to be a valid host, sufficient gluten must be present to bring about confection of the bread. Hosts with this sufficient level of gluten can be deemed gluten-free by the agreed international standard (codex) when they contain less than 20 parts per million. The Catholic Church however, refer to these as “low gluten” which has a different meaning for those who need to follow a gluten free diet for medical reasons.
The Coeliac Society has a listing on its website for three different suppliers of “low gluten hosts” that are acceptable to both the codex standard of gluten free and the Catholic Church description of “low gluten”. (https://www.coeliac.ie/live-gluten-free/taking-communion/)
It appears that the letter was restatement of the Church’s requirement that host is made only from wheat as there were some companies (not in Ireland) that were manufacturing hosts with rice, corn or gluten free wheat starch with additives, none of which are acceptable.