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February 20, 1998     The Message
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February 20, 1998

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10 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Disease has spiritual effects for those sensitive to host By REBECCA DRAKE Catholic News Service SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (CNS) m "You satisfy the hun- gry heart with gift of finest wheat." The words of the hymn, so beautiful and moving to most Catholics, are a painful reminder to victims of celi- ac sprue disease that, for them, the "bread of life" could be fatal. 'v ; Celiac sprue, also called celiac disease and gluten- sensitive enteropathy, is a condition which prevents the human digestive system from absorbing the gluten in wheat, rye, barley and oats. More specifically, the gluten causes damage to the mucous membrane of the small intestine, resulting in a smooth, flat surface which is unable to adequately absorb several of the body's essential nutrients. Symptoms of celiac sprue include iron and calcium deficiencies and, in advanced cases, severe, chronic diarrhea. The major treatment for the disease is the elimination of certain cereal grains, including wheat, from the diet. "An important part of your spiritual life (is gone). It's a difficult thing to adjust to." Lamothe, a member of Holy Cross Parish in Spring- field, has adjusted by receiving Communion as wine and, occasionally, through a very small portion of the host. Even this amount can be problematic for celiac sufferers, she said. "The effects can last a month to six weeks." Before reception of the Eucharist through wine was commonly available in her parish, Lamothe was allowed to receive wine with the eucharistic ministers at the altar. Her present pastor, Father Thomas Shea, continues to allow the option of receiving Communion in the form of wine. "You have to have a working relationship with your pastor," she said. "You have to educate your priest about this disease. Make sure your pastor realizes that this is not a choice for you." faithful didn't receive Communion at all: only once a year. Communicants who suffer from also receive low-gluten altar bread James Moroney, executive director of Secretariat for the Liturgy. gluten hosts must be granted by the after presentation of a medical "Low-gluten hosts are valid matter, contain the amount of gluten sufficient confection of bread, that there is materials, and that the procedure for is not such as to alter the nature of the bread," he said. Speaking to The Observer in late Moroney said that in the last four letters from pastors about l unable to accept even a small of these pW effective or wheat In 1995, the gation for the Faith For practicing Catholics, however, this prescription also eliminates one of the central rituals of their faith the reception of holy Communion in the form of the host, a gluten-based bread transformed into the body of Christ during the Eucharist. Although the reception of the Eucharist in the form of wine is now available in many parishes, eliminating the experience of receiving the host can be a difficult adjustment for some Catholics. Just ask Alice Lamothe, who was diagnosed with celi- ac sprue in 1981. While she has adapted to the rigid dietary restrictions necessary for physical survival, she has struggled with the change in her spiritual practice. "It's a real struggle for a Catholic," she told The Catholic Observer, Springfield diocesan newspaper. ictims of celiac sprue disease [find that] the "bread of life" could be fatal. ruling out the use of hosts that But it explicitly permitted the use for the first time, under the Father Moroney. It also stated that future candidates for ! Who suffer celiac disease should not "Given the centrality of the Eucharist in t priest, candidates for the priesthood wh( by celiac disease . . . may not be orders," the congregation said. _; .ii ;' For more information, write to: 2313 Rocklyn Drive, No. 1, Des ac Disease Foundation, 13251 Ventura die City, CA 91604-1838. Father Shea agreed that pastors should "always take it seriously" if a parishioner has a need for an alternate form of Communion. As a pastor, he added, "you try to respond to the needs of your parishioners within the confines of doctrine." Father William Hamilton, ecclesiastical secretary for the Springfield Diocese, confirmed that Communion in the form of the host or wine both are valid according to Roman Catholic law. "The beauty of the Eucharist is tha t they (celiac sprue sufferers) can receive through other options," he said. "It'S Christ in the Eucharist, whether it's in the form of bread or wine." Father Hamilton said that reception only through the host was a "fluke of history" which developed in the Middle Ages. There were also times, he said, when the Human cloning research decried as disrespectful prohibiting funding for all such research. "Why then, are these moral judgments suddenly reversed if the human embryo has been produced by cloning?" he asked. "It seems the cloning procedure is so demeaning that people human embryos to develop. "Enactment of such a propos- al would mark the first time in history that the U.S. government defined a class of human beings that it is a crime 'not' to destroy," Cardinal Keeler said. He also noted that amid previous con- loning 'a human being is treated as means to someone else's ends" somehow assume that a brief life as an object of research, followed by destruction, is 'good enough' for any human produced by this technique. "The fact that the procedure invites such morally irresponsi- ble policies is reason enough to oppose it," he said. Cardinal Keeler pointed out that the Catholic Church sees no intrinsic moral problems in cloning research on animals, plants or even human genes, cells and tissues. "However, when research turns its attention to human subjects, we must be sure that we do not undermine human dignity in the very process of seeking to serve it," he said. "The Tuskeegee syphilis study, Nazi Germany's hypothermia experiments and our own gov- ernment's Cold experiments remembered in positive light," said. "Any , is far mistre By banning effort research that beings ,;without produce, exploit e low ed. to cannibalize the most human justification." gressional debate about using human embrYOS for research, public outcry was vehement and Congress and the Clinton administration responded by World day of sick recalls Mary's intercession, sa By LYNNE WEIL Catholic News Service behalf," Pope John Paul said. "Because of this, it is very sig- nificant that the World Day of the Sick is observed, year after year, in Marian sanctuaries." The main commemoration of the event this year was held in Loreto, Italy, site of the Holy House of the Blessed Virgin. The structure is traditionally considered to have been moved by angels from Nazareth to sev- eral locations in and near Italy in the late 13th century, finally location as a shrine, and'it is a globally renowned place of pil- grimage. "In the suggestive atmos- phere of the shrine we experi- ence the light and the strength of the Spirit, capable of trans- forming the human heart into a dwelling-place of hope," Pope John Paul said. "In Mary's house, there is room for all her children," the pope continued. "In fact, where God lives, every person finds WASHINGTON (CNS) Human cloning is wrong because no matter how people are created, they have inherent dignity that deserves more respect than the mechanical process allows, Baltimore Cardi- nal William H. Keeler told a House committee. "Cloning is not wrong because cloned human beings lack human dig- nity," Cardinal Keeler told the House Com- merce Committee's sub- committee on health and envi- ronment Feb. 12. "It is wrong because they have human dig- nity and deserve to come into the world in ways that respect dignity." Among reasons cited by supporters of human cloning research are that it would be a way of creating human life to replace deceased loved ones, provide spare tissues or organs or to reproduce illus- trious people. Cardinal Keeler said those proposals take "a utilitarian view of human life, in which a human being is treated as a means to someone else's ends .... This same attitude lies at the root of human slavery." He suggested that evidence of how cloning dehumanizes life lies in proposed legislation that would prohibit allowing cloned VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Commemorationsof the World Day of the Sick recall Mary's intercession on behalf of human- ity, Pope John Paul II said. The pope made his remarks on the church's sixth annual cel- ebration of the occasion during his Feb. 11 general audience. "Just as at the wedding in Cana, the Virgin is attentive to the need of every man and every settling in what is now Loreto as a sign of the residents' piety. The Vatican recognizes the welcome, comfort and peace, particularly in the hour of need." woman and is ready to intercede with her son on everyone's "In his showed sick and "In his nests , salvation." The been commemoral Our Lady with a Maria" Chorus" from Handel's