Catholic Priest Bites Woman During Communion Dispute On Sunday

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A Catholic priest was arrested for biting a woman during a disagreement over holy Communion during Sunday Mass.

Catholic priest takes a bite out of parishioner

The incident occurred when the woman attended a 10 a.m. service at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Cloud, Florida, and attempted to take Communion, but didn’t open her hands  or mouth to receive the host.

When Father Fidel Rodriguez, 66, asked about the last time she had received the sacrament, the woman replied that she didn’t have to explain herself to him.

Rodriguez told her she actually did have to tell him if she wanted to be given the host and sent her away with a blessing instead.

“I believe that his excuse was that I wasn’t super-holy, in his eyes,” she told police.

The woman returned for a later service and again sought to take Communion, despite being rejected by the priest, and the exchange was caught on camera.

When Rodriguez inquired whether she had completed the Confession required by the Catholic Church to receive the Eucharist, she responded that “it was not his business.”

“No, I don’t need to explain to you, I don’t need to give an explanation, you don’t have authority, you don’t need to judge me,” she remarked.

“I’m not judging you, I’m asking you only, did you confess after the other Mass [to] received the Communion now?” He replied. “Because if you did not confess, I can’t give you the Communion.”

“At that point, the woman forcefully placed her hand in the vessel and grabbed some sacred Communion hosts, crushing them,” the Diocese of Orlando stated.

Rodriguez, having only one free hand, fought to get the woman “to let go of the hosts.” At that time, she pushed Rodriguez, who “bit her hand so she would let go of the hosts she grabbed.”

After the egregious act, she was asked to leave the church in the middle of the service. Police investigated the incident at the church and a charged Rodriguez with battery.

The woman, whose identity was not revealed, told police she tried to receive Communion but was denied.

“He wouldn’t give me the cookie,” she said to officers. “I don’t know if it was the way I was dressed, or it is what I like.”

A witness told police the woman was rejected due to her sexuality and attire. Contrary to what Rodriguez said, the witness claimed that “He tried to forcefully shove it in her mouth, she backed up.”

“She said, ‘No, don’t do that,’ and she tried to get it, and that is when he went crazy,” the witness told cops.

Catholic priest refutes victim’s account

However, the priest refuted claims that her sexual preference or clothing had influenced his actions, telling officers, “I don’t judge nobody.”

According to the woman, Rodriguez attempted to “ram” the wafer into her mouth after becoming upset with her for failing to confess her sins before taking Communion.

“He said basically I needed to do confession and do all of this, I need to go to Mass every Sunday or whatever,” the woman told police. “And I said, ‘That doesn’t matter. I’ve done everything I needed to do as a kid. I’m just here to accept the bread.’ And he wouldn’t give it to me.”

That’s when she admitted to attempting to grab the wafer from his hand. “And I’m not gonna front. I tried to just grab another cookie, and that when he grabbed my hand and he just bit me,” the woman told responding officers.

Rodriguez informed the police that she attacked him first and that he was trying to protect the sanctity of Communion.

He said that she had pushed him and wouldn’t release the tray, stating that “the only way he thought to extract her from it was to bite her arm.”

“I bit her, I am not denying that,” he told the cops. “I am defending myself and the sacrament.”

The Diocese of Orlando stated Rodriguez responded to protect the Holy Communion from an act they deemed sacrilegious.

“When the woman pushed him and reacting to a perceived act of aggression, Father Rodriguez bit her hand so she would let go of the hosts she grabbed. The woman was immediately asked to leave.”

“While the Diocese of Orlando does not condone physical altercations such as this, in good faith, Father Rodriguez was simply attempting to prevent an act of desecration of the Holy Communion,” the statement said.

The Eucharist, the church mentioned, “is considered ‘the source and summit’ of worship and faith.”

“It is not something a person can arbitrarily demand and is certainly not a mere ‘cookie’ as the complainant called it,” the diocese added.

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