Florida priest charged for biting woman in Communion dispute

A priest in Florida has been charged with battery after biting the forearm of a woman in a Communion dispute at St Thomas Aquinas Church in Orlando last Sunday.

Father Fidel Rodriguez, 66, admitted to police that he bit the woman after she allegedly reached into the ciborium, damaging Communion hosts.

Rodriguez claimed he acted in defence of the sacrament.

“The only defence that I found to defend something that for us, for all of us, is sacred, was biting her.

“I have recognised that I bit her. I’m not denying that” Rodriguez told police.

The altercation occurred when the woman, attending Mass with her same-sex partner and their niece, was denied Communion by Rodriguez.

“He wouldn’t give me a cookie.

“I don’t know if it was how I’m dressed.

“He said basically I needed to do confession and do all of this, I need to go to Mass every Sunday or whatever.

“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.

“And I’m not gonna front. I tried to just grab another cookie, and that’s when he grabbed my hand and he just bit me” the woman said.

Unfamiliarity with Communion procedures

However Rodriguez stated that her unfamiliarity with Communion procedures led to the denial.

He recounted asking her about confession, to which she responded evasively, leading to further tension.

The priest also told officers that he did not know the woman or what her sexual orientation was and did not care about that.

Father Fidel told officials that she had not followed the rules despite his explanation and had given her the benefit of the doubt before attacking her.

“I gave her the benefit of the doubt. ‘Did you confess between the Mass before and this?’ Because she can do it.”

‘No, I don’t need to explain to you. I don’t need to have an explanation. You don’t have authority to judge me.’

“I’m not judging you, I am asking: ‘Did you confess?'” can be heard on the footage.

Video of the Communion dispute published by WFTV Channel 9 in Orlando shows the woman’s hand in the ciborium, the bowl holding Communion wafers.

In contrast, the priest holds onto it with both hands. It also shows the priest moving his head down toward the woman’s right arm but does not show the actual bite.

The Diocese of Orlando supported Rodriguez’s actions during the Communion dispute, stating he acted to prevent the desecration of the Eucharist.

However, they clarified that while not condoning physical altercation, Rodriguez intended to protect the sacred nature of Communion..


Catholic News Agency

Daily Mail


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