Priest Bites Woman in Holy Communion Altercation

( – A Florida priest bit a woman’s hand as he attempted to “prevent an act of desecration,” according to a statement released by the Diocese of Orlando. The incident took place during the noon Mass on Sunday, May 19th, at St. Thomas Aquinas church in the town of St. Cloud.

Prior to this, the woman had already approached the priest during that morning’s 10 am Mass with the apparent aim of taking Holy Communion, also known as the Eucharist. Father Fidel Rodriguez spoke to the woman to determine whether or not she was prepared to receive Holy Communion. He ascertained that she was not correctly prepared for the rite, and advised her to attend Confession first, also called the Sacrament of Penance.

When the woman joined the queue for Holy Communion in the noon Mass, Father Rodriguez asked her if she had been to Confession. She told him that it was not his business. He allowed her to take Holy Communion and placed a wafer on her tongue, at which point she is reported to have shoved her hand into the container and grabbed a handful of wafers, crushing them as she did so. She refused to remove her hand, and the priest reportedly tried to force her to let go. According to the Diocese’s statement, the woman pushed Father Rodriguez and he bit her hand.

Bodycam footage taken by police after the incident shows the woman claiming that Rodriguez refused to give her communion because of another reason. She said that he may have refused to give the sacrament due to her clothing or her sexual orientation. The priest told police that he had no knowledge of the woman’s orientation, nor did he care about it.

The Diocese clarified that while it does not encourage violence, a priest is dutybound to protect the Holy Communion and said that Father Rodriguez was acting “in good faith.” Police have not charged him with any crime and no arrests have been made, although the investigation is still ongoing.

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