This incident happened not too long ago:
After Mass an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion came up to me and said, “There was a young man here today who came to Communion, received Christ in his hand and then slipped the host into his pocket. What should I do?”
I replied, “Here is what I have done in the past. I halt the line, immediately go up to the person, place my hand on his shoulder and say, ‘either consume that host right now or return Him.’”
I’ve been told that I am rude in such incidences. But if you understand the Eucharist as the center of our covenant it would be ridiculous to do otherwise. Consider a husband and wife. At the center of their covenantal bond is the marital act. It would be beyond the thoughts of Christians to invite anyone else into this most intimate of acts no matter the excuse. It would also be beyond the pale if another would abuse one’s spouse in anyway. “That is my other self! Unhand her right now. I don’t care how innocent your intentions that is inappropriate and if you continue I will intervene most sternly!”
Christ is the bridegroom, the Church is His bride. At the center of our covenant the Groom gives us His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity for us to bring into ourselves. For us this is not symbol or ritual act, it is the Groom giving himself completely to us – we become one with our Savior, with God! and like a good spouse we jealously protect that relationship. If someone wants to become part of this covenant – GREAT! But there is no such thing as “Eucharistic hospitality” – at least in the way most people understand it. (Would you entrust your newborn with someone who says, “I don’t see your baby as a true human being, but you can trust me with her.”)
Because Jesus appears to us under the form of bread and wine, we often find those who say, “God can fend for Himself.” And though Jesus could most probably fend for Himself, if we love Him we would not make Him do so unnecessarily.