Vatican nixes gluten-free communion wafers

Ban is latest directive of Pope Francis

Communion during Pope Francis' inaugural Mass.
Communion during Pope Francis' inaugural Mass.

Catholics worldwide--about 1.27 billion of them--have just been informed by the Vatican that gluten-free wafers, or hosts, will not be allowed for celebrating the Eucharist during Mass.

Time reports the ban was published in a letter from the directive of Pope Francis to Catholic bishops. The guidelines state the wafers must be "unleavened, purely of wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition."

The letter does add that "low-gluten hosts are valid" provided they have "sufficient amount of gluten to obtain the confection of bread."

Read the letter here.