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Q-and-A on the Vatican's recent instruction on bread, wine for Communion


A ciborium containing hosts and a flagon of wine are seen during Mass April 23 at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Montauk, N.Y. Bishops should look at ways to help verify and guarantee the validity and worthiness of the bread and wine used for the celebration of the Eucharist, the Vatican said in a recent document. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz, Long Island Catholic)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Vatican recently published a circular letter, "On the bread and wine for the Eucharist," sent to diocesan bishops at the request of Pope Francis. Dated June 15 -- the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ -- the letter was made public by the Vatican July 8.

Because bread and wine for the Eucharist are no longer supplied just by religious communities, but "are also sold in supermarkets and other stores and even over the internet," bishops should set up guidelines, an oversight body and/or even a form of certification to help "remove any doubt about the validity of the matter for the Eucharist," the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments said.

In response to the Vatican statement, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Divine Worship has answered some of these frequently asked questions.

Q: Why is the Vatican worried about what makes up a Communion host? Doesn't it have more important things to focus on?

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