London (09.07.17) – and interesting (and, to us, a somewhat unexpected) announcement has recently come from Rome.

We picked it up from the BBC website (1). The issue is the nature of the bread used to celebrate the Eucharist during Roman Catholic masses which must not be gluten-free although it may be made from genetically modified organisms. (It was this last clause, of course, which aroused our interest.) The bread can be low-gluten but there must be enough protein in the wheat to make it without additives.

Then there was a quotation from Cardinal Robert Sarah of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to the effect that “the wine used must also be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances" (2).

It seems to us that, if the wine must also be “natural”, it implies that the bread is itself “natural” (a product of nature) and, moreover, because the bread may be made from GM-wheat, one must conclude that GM-wheat is also “natural”.

CropGen, of course, has long taken such a view. We made the point more than ten years ago (3).


1. Vatican outlaws gluten-free bread for Holy Communion. BBC News (06.07.17) (

2. Circular letter to Bishops on the bread and wine for the Eucharist. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of The Sacraments (15.06.17) (

3. Natural or not natural? CropGen (19.01.06) (