Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Use of mustum, 2002, Private.

The parents of a youngster preparing to receive his First Communion and severely allergic to wheat products, as well as any products containing alcohol, sought permission from their diocesan bishop to have their son receive Holy Communion under the species of mustum. The bishop sought the advice of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments in this matter. The Congregation responded granting permission for the youngster to receive Holy Communion under the species of mustum. What follows is the letter to the Congregation from the diocesan bishop and the Congregation's response, which is in English.

His Eminence Jorge Cardinal Arturo Medina Estevez

Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Piazza Pio XII, 10

00193 Rome, Italy

Your Eminence:

In accord with the norms issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on June 19, 1995 (Prot. N. 89/78) concerning the use of low-gluten altar breads and the revised procedures for permitting the use of mustum, I am hereby presenting to your Eminence a petition on behalf of _____, a boy of eight years old of this Diocese, requesting that he be allowed to receive the Eucharist under the species of mustum. _____ is a second grade student. He and his mother are parishioners of _____.

As the enclosed doctor's certificate will testify, suffers from a wide variety of very severe allergies which make it impossible for him to ingest most foods. In particular, as the doctor notes, he is unable to ingest wheat products of any kind of products containing any alcohol. According to the testimony of his physician and of his parents whom I interviewed personally, the reactions _____ has to food to which he is allergic are most certainly life threatening and demand immediate medical attention. For these serious reasons, receiving Holy Communion under the species of mustum is the only medically safe possibility for him. Because _____ has successfully consumed grape juice in the past, his parents and he wish that he be permitted to receive Holy Communion under the species of mustum.

I have also enclosed a letter from his pastor testifying to his parents' concern for _____’s religious upbringing and his readiness to receive Holy Communion. _____’s classmates will be celebrating their First Communion on _____. It is his parents' earnest hope and mine that your Eminence grant permission for _____ to receive Holy Communion under the species of mustum on that day or shortly thereafter.

With deepest appreciation for your kind consideration of this most sensitive request, and with gratitude for your Eminence's work in promoting the liturgical life of the Church, I remain

Sincerely in the Lord,

Diocesan Bishop



Prot. N. _____

Your Excellency,

This Congregation for Divine Worship has received your letter of _____, in which you present the case of _____, an eight year old parishioner of _____, who suffers from a serious allergy to wheat products, together with an enclosure from a physician testifying to his condition.

In view of the facts presented, this Congregation wishes to communicate to Your Excellency its consent for the use of mustum in the celebration of the Mass for _____’s First Communion, as well as for future occasions when the child is to receive Holy Communion.

Your Excellency is asked to communicate this to the Pastor of _____ Church. In addition, so that the future reception of Holy Communion might be facilitated for _____, the Congregation would ask that you provide his parents with a document certifying this permission obtained from the Congregation, together with the protocol number and date of this letter. The Congregation leaves to Your Excellency's pastoral judgement the specific wording of such a document as well as any clarifications that you might deem necessary to ensure valid matter for the Sacrament. As to the general content of such a document it would appear advisable, in light of recent experience, that some precaution be taken to preserve the necessary distinction between mustum and certain types of pasteurized or otherwise treated grape juice which, though commercially accessible, would not constitute mustum as described in the Circular Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 19 June 1995, mentioned in Your Excellency's letter. It should be rendered clear also that the permission granted by the Congregation would be applicable for _____ even outside the Diocese of _____.

The physician's report specifies that condition is such that _____ even wine would have an adverse effect on him. While the Congregation obviously does not wish to question this medical judgement, it would be helpful in the handling of future cases to know in brief terms whether this fact is due to the same disease or condition that has caused his allergy to wheat, or to some other condition instead. Also helpful would be any clarification regarding whether the wheat allergy is the same as the malady know as Celiac disease, or whether other medical conditions exist which create the same complications as regards the reception of Holy Communion. Any further information or observations that Your Excellency might provide in this regard would be very much appreciated. Such a communication, however, should not be considered as having any bearing on the permission already given for _____.

Thanking you for your concern and with every prayerful good wish, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Jorge A. Card. Medina Estévez


Francesco Pio Tamburrino


Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Use of mustum, 2002, Private, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2002, 22-24.