The Bishops of Australia received a reminder this week, 8 July, from the Vatican about their responsibility to verify those who provide the bread and wine for the celebration of Mass.
The letter was issued to all bishops around the world from Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Cardinal Sarah wrote that until recent times, many religious communities took responsibility for “baking the bread and making the wine for the celebration of the Eucharist. Today, however, these materials are also sold in supermarkets and other stores and even over the internet”.
In order to remove any doubt about the “validity of the matter for the Eucharist”, the Dicastery suggested that the bishop should designate “a competent authority in actually guaranteeing the genuineness of the Eucharistic matter by producers as well as those responsible for its distribution and sale”.
It suggested that the bishops conference could mandate one or more religious congregations or another body capable of carrying out “the necessary checks on production, conservation and sale of the Eucharistic bread and wine in a given country and other countries to which they are exported”.
The letter added that the bishop is responsible for reminding priests, especially parish priests and rectors of churches, of their responsibility to verify those who provide the bread and wine for the celebration of the Mass.
The letter also reiterated the guidelines regarding the use of bread with a small quantity of gluten as Eucharistic matter.
A copy of the letter is available on the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference website.