According to the Catholic Church, what sort of latitude is afforded a parish in terms of the bread used in the Eucharist? For example, would it be allowed for a parish to use homemade whole wheat tortilla chips (or something similar) for the Eucharist?

1 Answer 1


Supportive Dante would be more accurate to say there is "very little latitude" than to say "no latitude." His interpretation of Redemptionis Sacramentum in his answer is not correct. See this commentary on the same by Father Edward McNamara:

Although this document is written primarily for the Latin Church, what it says about the requirements for the validity of Eucharistic species also serves for the Eastern Churches, but not necessarily what refers to licit matter which may vary among Churches.

The use or omission of leaven in baking bread does not affect the reality of the end product as true bread. And so both leavened and unleavened bread are valid matter for the Eucharist.

The traditional use of unleavened bread in the Latin Church is a requirement for the Eucharist's licit celebration. A priest who consecrates a roll, bun or some other form of true wheat bread containing leaven performs a valid but illicit act.

Most Eastern Churches traditionally use leavened bread for the Eucharist and this would be a requirement for the licit celebration of the Eucharist in those Churches.

It must be observed, however, that one or two movements or associations of faithful within the Latin Church have received permission to use leavened bread within the context of Mass celebrated exclusively for members of the group or association.

The document indicates that nothing may be mixed into the bread which would make it something other than plain wheat bread, however, we know that plain wheat bread is plain wheat bread with or without leaven. Leaven is generally not allowed in the Western Church (though Fr. McNamara notes that permission has been granted to use it in some places in the West), but a Western priest who consecrates leavened bread at Mass still consecrates a valid Eucharistic Sacrament. Christ becomes present in such bread. The priest should not do this because it is considered illicit, and he is disobeying the general guidance from his superiors, as well as the standard rubrics for the liturgy he is celebrating.

  • Not licit but valid - interesting! Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 20:50

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .