Walking off with the host

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  There was a question that came up in regards to the pastoral application of Redemptionis Sacramentum #92 which states:

“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.”

Could this be handled by kindly asking the person to receive, if they are seen walking off a good distance from the minister? I am not speaking about simply stepping to the side is the custom is some parishes. I don’t want to be scrupulous, but it seems that the Church wants us to assist those who might walk off with the Sacred Host for whatever reason.



A:  Yes, if I see someone walking off with the host, I will interrupt distributing communion to address the situation. It doesn’t happen to me often, but it does happen. I probably don’t handle it “kindly” as you propose. I raise my voice in the direction of the person and command, “Eat it now.” That usually gets their attention, and I watch until they put the host into their mouth.