Central Florida priest bites woman during communion

The woman attended the first mass at 10 a.m., and when she went up to take communion, the priest refused to give it to her. The woman returned to the church for a later service that same day and went up for communion again, and that is when the altercation took place. Image via screen capture.

By Crystal Harlan

May 24, 2024

The priest told police that he acted in self defense. He said the woman pushed him and tried to grab the communion tray out of his hand.

A priest bit a woman who tried to grab the communion wafer at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Cloud, on May 19.

Father Fidel Rodriguez was arrested after an altercation with an unidentified woman, and officers from the St. Cloud Police Department have recommended that he be charged with battery, according to WFTV.

The woman attended the first mass at 10 a.m., and when she went up to take communion, the priest refused to give it to her. Rodriguez told police that the woman didn’t understand the process of communion so he told her what steps she needed to take before she could take communion.

The woman returned to the church for a later service that same day and went up for communion again, and that is when the altercation took place.

“He tried to forcefully shove it in her mouth. She backed up and said, ‘No, don’t do that.’ She tried to get it, and that’s when he went crazy,” a witness said to police.

The witness alleges that the priest denied her communion because of her sexual orientation and the way she was dressed.

“He wouldn’t give me the cookie. I don’t know if it was the way I was dressed or what it is that I like,” the woman can be heard saying in the bodycam video.

According to the woman she told the priest that she had completed the necessary steps to receive communion and was “now accepted by God.”

Rodriguez told police that he acted in self defense. He said the woman pushed him and tried to grab the communion tray out of his hand, and that he was protecting the wafer because it’s considered the body of Christ.

“I am not judging you. I am asking you, ‘Did you confess after Mass?’ If you did not confess, I can’t give you communion. I bit her. I am not denying that. I was defending myself and the sacrament,” he told police.

Rodriguez told officers he didn’t know the woman or what her sexual orientation is and doesn’t care about that.

“I don’t judge nobody,” he told police.

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Author

  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.

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