I can't help but wonder why the Church ever reverted back to Communion in the hand after reading Memoriale Domini, Instruction On The Manner Of Distributing Holy Communion. This was published on May 19, 1969 by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and still bears the status of being the most recent official document on the subject.
It seems clear the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship was not in favour of the faithful receiving Communion in the hand, and that the Holy Father only caved to pressure from the bishops where the practice was already prevalent. "Indeed, in certain communities and in certain places this practice has been introduced without prior approval having been requested of the Holy See, and, at times, without any attempt to prepare the faithful adequately."
Indeed, the Holy Father petitioned the bishops to decide if the traditional rite of receiving on the tongue should be changed to Communion in the hand, and the result was a resounding no:
From the returns it is clear that the vast majority of bishops believe that the present discipline should not be changed, and that if it were, the change would be offensive to the sentiments and the spiritual culture of these bishops and of many of the faithful.
Therefore, taking into account the remarks and the advice of those whom "the Holy Spirit has placed to rule over" the Churches,(11) in view of the gravity of the matter and the force of the arguments put forward, the Holy Father has decided not to change the existing way of administering holy communion to the faithful.
The Apostolic See therefore emphatically urges bishops, priests and laity to obey carefully the law which is still valid and which has again been confirmed. It urges them to take account of the judgment given by the majority of Catholic bishops, of the rite now in use in the liturgy, of the common good of the Church.
Communion in the hand is referred to as "contrary usage" in Memoriale Domini and regulations were laid down for "hierarchies who ask for and are granted permission to introduce the practice of holy communion on the hand."
Even with this permission, it's sad to know that the practice was "forced" on us by a minority, even though the vast majority of bishops did not desire the faithful to return to the ancient practice of receiving Communion in the hand. As stated so clearly in Memoriale Domini,"It carries certain dangers with it which may arise from the new manner of administering holy communion: the danger of a loss of reverence for the august sacrament of the altar, of profanation, of adulterating the true doctrine."