Why are people no longer concerned with the possibility of small, visible particles of the Eucharist being ignored or falling onto the floor when communion is received?
Before the introduction of communion in the hand, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the protocol was pretty standard — only the priest touched the host, a paten was held by the altar server between the priest and the communicant, and the host was placed on the tongue. Any particles that might have sloughed off the edge of the host — and it did happen (I was an altar server and I’ve seen it) — fell onto the paten. After everyone had received, the priest carefully scraped the particles from the paten into the chalice, and consumed them. Unless something very unusual happened — a swift breeze blowing them off the paten or, God forbid, the server dropping the paten — there was absolutely no likelihood that these particles would ever be exposed to inadvertent sacrilege.
Today, though, we don’t see anything like this. Outside of the TLM, patens are very rare. They’re just not used anymore. The host is laid on the extended palm of the communicant, and then either eaten out of the hand or, what is more common, picked up by the communicant with the other hand and eaten from the fingers.
Is there no longer a concern that particles could fall off the host when receiving communion? Do people look for these particles, and if they see them, what do they do? Does everyone look, or are there people who really don’t comprehend what they are doing, poorly catechized, don’t understand Eucharistic theology, and don’t realize that these particles — if visible — remain the Body of Christ?