From a reader:
twice in a month I have seen two examples of people receiving the Body of Christ but not consuming it in my diocese. Thankfully both Priests were strict in how they dealt with this. In the first instance, a young man walked away with the host and the Priest made him consume it. The other occasion an elderly lady took the host and when the Priest called her to come back he took the host and simply gave her a blessing, were they both correct?
It seems very worrying that this should occur, although I know of some of the abuses which have resulted from the practice of receiving in the hand.
First, I would be say that the priest was “strict”. I would say that he was “diligent”. This is what priests are supposed to do.
It could have been that the two people in question were non-Catholics who did not really know what to do, but, yes, this is a problem that results from Communion in the hand.
It is also a result of decades of poor catechesis and shabby liturgical worship which weakened reverence for the Eucharist.
How to change this?
We need better and more frequent preaching about the Eucharist and the sacrificial dimension of Mass. We need clear statements in parish bulletins about how to receive Communion and who may receive. We need to persuade people to move away from receiving in the hand.