From a reader:
Father, what is proper procedure when someone walks up, receives the Eucharist in the hand (BTW, this is the best reason for forcing receiving it by the mouth) and tries to walk out with It? Twice I have seen this happen, and both times the person was apprehended at the door and ‘held’ till they put it in their mouth. I was wondering if It should have been taken back. A person who tries to walk out is most likely not taking it home for someone who could not make it to Mass.
Is their any procedure or document regarding this?
The first thing that jumped into my mind was Redemptionis Sacramentum:
[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.
Thus, it is good for parish ushers, not to mention the EMHC’s and the clergy themselves, to be trained to be vigilant in regard to what people are doing with Hosts.
Some well-motivated but ignorant people think they can take a Host home to someone who is ill. They don’t realize that they are not permitted to do this. Some are simply ignorant or, perhaps being non-Catholics, don’t know what to do at Communion time. Others, however, are not well-intentioned. They want Hosts to profane them or sell them.
We all have an obligation to safeguard the Blessed Sacrament. Let priests catechize and train up their helpers.
Otherwise, we have to use common sense, no? If you see someone walking around with a Host, obviously not intending to consume it, approach the person and find out what’s up or tell someone. Be careful not to do anything that could result in prosecution, but don’t do nothing. Certainly make sure the priest knows about it after Mass. And if it is happening often, make sure the bishop and/or the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith is informed.