Occasionally, I go to church and partake in communion. As someone who grew up in Texas (which is part of the Bible Belt), I know firsthand how much people down here like their religion. They like it almost as much as they like their tacos. Almost. After one such service I had an epiphany of sorts: Are communion wafers vegan? I’ve been going to services for so long that I had never given it a second thought. What about transubstantiation? If he’s giving his blood and body willingly, is it still vegan? (Just kidding, guys.)
Even if you’re not religious, you might still find yourself invited to a BIG LIFE EVENT that will involve some sort of religious ceremony, which might involve communion wafers during a confirmation, baptism, or full Catholic wedding mass. Or, you might find yourself visiting friends or relatives and going along with their Sunday routine. What should you do?
Luckily, a quick Google search will tell you that, yes, most communion wafers are vegan. Strict codes require that wafers be made of wheat flour and water. Most churches use pre-made wafers with limited ingredients to accommodate those with food allergies and avoid spoilage. Ener-G even makes a gluten free wafer. Some churches will use store bought bread and then all bets are off.
Wine is a more squidgey subject. As you may know, many red wines use animal products in their clarifying process. Some churches just buy a grape juice substitute, while others use any old red wine. If you’re a member of such a church, it might be worth it to ask what the ingredients are, or if the brand can be switched.
So, let’s say that you find yourself in a Eucharist service:
- If you are interested in participating in communion, go forth, young padawan.
- If you aren’t sure about the wafers or wine, and just want to receive the blessing, you can go up and kneel at the altar with everyone else with your arms crossed over your chest and your hands on each shoulder. The altar helpers will give a quick blessing and you can head back to your pew. You can also choose to accept the wafer and not the wine.
- If you don’t want to participate in the communion at all, you can just stay seated in the pew and wait until your pew buddies get back. That’s totally fine too. Don’t feel compelled to do anything you don’t want to do.
So, there you have it. The body of Christ is vegan. Mostly. There’s one less ingredient list we have to read. Phew!