Sunday, May 26, 2024

Priest Bites Woman After Refusing Her Communion at Mass: Reports

Florida priest bites woman during Communion scuffle

A priest was arrested after allegedly biting a woman during communion at a central Florida church.

Officers from the St. Cloud Police Department in Florida arrested a priest — identified as Father Fidel — after he allegedly had an altercation with a woman during Mass, according to local news sites WFTV, WKMG-TV and WDBO

According to the outlets, police have recommended that Fidel be charged with battery. 

The incident happened at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church around 1:20 p.m. local time, according to a charging affidavit obtained by WKMG-TV. Police said that the woman had attended Mass to participate in her niece’s communion, but when she had gone up to receive the bread, the priest allegedly refused to give it to her claiming that she hadn’t completed the necessary steps to get it.

However, the woman told the priest that she had done so and was “now accepted by God,” and the priest became upset and tried to stuff the bread in her mouth, per the affidavit obtained by WKMG-TV. The woman then tried to grab another piece in his hand, when he allegedly grabbed her and bit her arm, per the outlet. 

“He tried to forcefully shove it in her mouth, she backed up,” one witness told police, per WFTV. “She said no don’t do that and she tried to get it and that is when he went crazy.”

In police body-cam footage obtained by the outlets, Fidel told police that the woman came to an earlier mass but didn’t understand the process of communion so he told her what steps she needed to take before she could do so, but she did not complete them.

“‘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,’ “ he recalled telling her, in the video obtained by WFTV. 

“I bit her. I am not denying that. I was defending myself and the sacrament,” he could also be seen saying.

The priest said that he acted in self-defense after he denied her communion since she pushed him and tried to grab the tray of bread out of his hands.

“[Father Fidel] advised that [she] pushed him and would not let go of the Communion tray, and the only way he thought to extract her from it was to bite her arm,” according to the charging affidavit.

However, the woman accused the priest of singling her out due to her sexuality and attire in police footage obtained by WFTV. “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,” she could be heard saying on video.

The St. Cloud Police Department and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

The state will determine whether Fidel will be charged with battery.