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Police Report: Central Florida Priest Bites Woman After Refusing Her Communion



Priest Bites Church Member After Denying Communion in Central Florida, Police Say


An argument during communion at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Cloud, Central Florida, ended with a priest biting a church member, according to police.


The incident occurred on Sunday during mass. Police have recommended charging Father Fidel with battery.


The altercation began when a woman, who remains unidentified, was denied communion. She later told St. Cloud police that she was refused the sacrament and said, "He wouldn’t give me the cookie. I don’t know if it was the way I was dressed, or if it is what I like,” as captured on the police body cam.


A witness claimed the woman was targeted because of her sexuality and attire. "He tried to forcefully shove it in her mouth, she backed up," the witness reported. "She said no don’t do that and tried to get it, and that is when he went crazy."


Father Fidel provided a different account, stating that the woman seemed unfamiliar with the communion process during the 10 a.m. mass, leading him to deny her the wafer. She returned for another service, where the confrontation escalated when she attempted to grab the wafer from his hand.


Fidel admitted to biting the woman, explaining he was protecting the wafer, which he considers the body of Christ. "I am not judging you; I am asking you; did you confess after mass? If you did not confess, I cannot give you communion," he told officers. "I bit her, I am not denying that. I am defending myself and the sacrament."


Father Fidel asserted he did not know the woman or her sexual orientation and did not care about that aspect. "I don’t judge nobody," he said.


The Catholic Diocese of Orlando provided a statement, detailing the events from their perspective:


"On Sunday, May 19, at the 10 a.m. Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Cloud, a woman came through Father Fidel Rodriguez’s Holy Communion line and appeared unaware of the proper procedure. After a brief exchange, it was determined she was neither prepared nor disposed to participate in Communion. Father Rodriguez gave her a blessing and advised her to receive the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) before returning.

The same woman arrived at the 12 p.m. Mass and stood in Father Rodriguez’s Communion line. When asked if she had been to Confession, she replied it was not his business. Father Rodriguez offered her Holy Communion on the tongue, but she forcefully grabbed some sacred hosts, crushing them. Father Rodriguez, with only one hand free, struggled to restrain her and, reacting to perceived aggression, bit her hand so she would release the hosts. The woman was immediately asked to leave.

Father Rodriguez had no prior knowledge of the woman’s background. While the Diocese of Orlando does not condone physical altercations, Father Rodriguez was attempting to prevent desecration of the Holy Communion, which he is duty-bound to protect. The full video and police report indicate the woman initiated physical contact and acted inappropriately. The priest was protecting the sacrament from a sacrilegious act.

In the Catholic Tradition, the Eucharist is considered 'the source and summit' of worship and faith, requiring proper understanding, reverence, and devotion. It is not something to be arbitrarily demanded and is certainly not a mere 'cookie' as the complainant called it.

The Diocese of Orlando believes all people of all faiths should be respected and their religious ceremonies should not be disrupted."


This statement aims to provide context and clarification on the matter from the Diocese's perspective.


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