In the ASK FATHER Question Box I received a query about what to do if you see a person pocketing a Host and walking out of church. While the proper reponse depends on the circumstances, you should – no matter what else you decide to do at the moment – let the pastor of the parish (or rector of the chapel, etc.) know what happened, being very precise and objective, providing also a reference to the document from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments entitled Redemptionis Sacramentum, which states (emphasis mine):
[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.
[93.] The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling.
It seems to me that the issue of Communion in the hand ought to be revisited. I get questions about the abovementioned abuse rather often, together with inquiries about what to do if you find a Host on the floor of a church or in a pew or even in the pages of the missalette. Yes, folks, these things do happen. Also, there are those who take Hosts for nefarious motives and even sell them to those whose objectives are unspeakable.