Lately I have seen many people attempting to object communion on the tongue in favor of communion in the hand. Here I will respond to these objections to the best of my ability:
One of the most prominent objections to communion on the tongue is the idea that it is somehow more unsanitary compared to communion in the hand. This argument is flawed at very basic levels. When communion is received in the hand, the Sacred Host touches the fingertips of the priest, where it has the potential to pick up germs, then the hand of the communicant, where it has a higher potential to pick up germs due to an increased surface area, and then the fingertips of the communicant before it is received. If Holy Communion is received on the tongue, only the tips of the priest’s fingers touch the Host before it is received, and therefore has a much lower chance of passing on germs.
Another argument I hear quite often is that the priest will drop particles of the Sacred Host while preparing to distribute Holy Communion anyways, or that even when receiving on the tongue particles will fall, so communion in the hand must be ok even though particles are guaranteed to fall. My response to this may not be what you expect. This is absolutely true. Holy Mother Church has already thought of this however, and has measures placed in the Liturgy to protect against it. First, the entirety of the Eucharistic Sacrifice takes place on a white linen cloth called a corporal. The sole purpose of the corporal is to catch any particle of the Sacred Host that may fall during the Liturgy. At the end of the Mass, the priest carefully folds the corporal and places it into a burse to protect it. The corporal is then laundered in a particular way that and particles of the Sacred Host left on the linen after Mass are soaked in water and poured into the ground.
The next provision in the Mass is the server’s paten, or communion paten. This is the small gold plate held under the chin of the communicant by either the server or Deacon of the Mass. Its primary purpose is to catch any Sacred Host that may fall from the tongue of the communicant, but it also catches any particle that may fall from the Sacred Host while communicating. If you ask any priest that celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass, they will tell you there is almost always visible particles left on the paten, which is then purified into the Chalice.
The last provisions protect against particles falling from the fingers of the priest. The first is the priest must keep his thumb and forefinger joined from the time he consecrated the Sacred Host, until the ablutions. The ablutions wash the priest’s fingers to make sure no particles are left. The ablution is then consumed to make sure no sacrilege is committed against the Blessed Sacrament.
Many people dislike communion on the tongue because it makes them “uncomfortable” or it's an “inconvenience.” This is absolutely ridiculous. The idea that our comfort or convenience is to be put above reverence for Our Lord is a disgrace to the God we profess as true. As Catholics we are called to sacrifice everything for the truth and for God. Can we not sacrifice one moment of comfort out of reverence for Our Lord?
The final reason many people argue for communion in the hand is that “the Church says it’s ok.” This is blatantly false. Communion in the hand is the widest spread liturgical abuse in the Western world. Even Cardinal Sarah, elevated by Pope Benedict XVI, says the communion in the hand is a “diabolical attack on the Eucharist.” We can also see in the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, the father of Western theology, that “out of reverence for this Sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated." Thus, he said the sacred vessels of the altar are consecrated for this holy purpose, but also, the priest's hands are consecrated for touching this Sacrament. And St. Thomas said that it is therefore not lawful for anyone else to touch it, except to save it from desecration. Even our beloved Pope St. John Paul II said “To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained.”
I will leave this with one final example, from the local Council of Saragossa, Spain (380). The council defined, along with the Synod of Toledo, that anyone who receives communion in the hand is excommunicated, by virtue of their action. Now, why would a local council define this, if communion in the hand is “no big deal?”