Imagine the Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus, with some genes derived from bacteria that repel certain common pests? No? You obviously are not alone.

Fr Sean McDonagh says that if gluten-free hosts are verboten, then you can count on genetically modified wheat being off limits as well.

Genetically-modified (GM) wheat may not be be suitable under canon law to be used to make hosts for the Catholic sacrament of the Eucharist, it’s been claimed.

Fr Sean McDonagh, a Columban priest and well-known commentator on environmental issues, questions whether the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith which oversees Catholic doctrine could ever sanction GM wheat. Writing in Intercom, a publication of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Fr McDonagh cites the example that gluten-free hosts are outlawed for use in communion — even though it can endanger the health of those suffering from coeliac disease, which is a bowel disorder. Low gluten hosts are permitted.

“Crops which have been genetically engineered to date include maize, soya beans, canola (derived from rapeseed) and potatoes. Many biotech companies would like to genetically engineer wheat. If this is pushed through, the question will arise as to whether GM wheat can be used in the Eucharist?”

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This raises the interesting question of what traits would we genetically engineer into the hosts if we could and why? What is Jesus lacking? Do His genes need a little splicing so that he can keep up with the Jamaican track team? Of course not. So why would this even be a question? I can’t answer that but I am quite sure that in the future, some turgid twerp will be screaming for this very thing in order that we can be inclusive to some previously unidentified subset of a subset who has been excluded (aka – made to feel bad about themselves) for thousands of years even though no one ever noticed before. (Should I be confessing cynicism?)

So, even though I cannot fathom why anyone would want such a thing, I applaud the preemptive strike on GM wheat. I interpret thusly: Fr. McDonagh to future knuckleheads―Don’t even think about it!