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Priest chomps on woman during heated Communion row to 'defend myself and sacrament'


A Catholic priest chomped on a woman’s hand while she attempted to receive Communion as he claimed he had wanted to “protect the sacrament.”

Father Fidel Rodrigues confirmed he had bitten the unidentified woman as he attempted to protect the hosts, according to authorities.

The bizarre incident took place during Sunday mass at St Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Cloud, Florida.

The woman claimed she had tried to receive communion but was rejected by Father Rodriguez, a move which soon erupted into a row.

In body cam footage obtained by local network WFTV, the woman could be heard saying: “He wouldn’t give me the cookie. I don’t know if it was the way I was dressed, or it is what I like.”

One witness claimed the priest had initially tried to “shove” the hosts into the woman’s mouth and then the situation escalated.

The witness alleged: “He tried to forcefully shove it in her mouth, she backed up.

“She said, ‘No, don’t do that,’ and she tried to get it, and that is when he went crazy.”

Father Rodriguez could be heard denying he had not given the sacrament to the woman because of the way she was dressed on the body cam footage, saying: “I don’t judge nobody.”

Instead, he said the woman had attended the 10 am service on May 19 but was denied the sacrament the first time because she allegedly didn’t know the process.

She then returned for the second service at noon at which point the priest confronted her and ultimately bit. He said: “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.

“I recognise that I bit her, as a defence, and as defending myself and defending the sacrament.”

The Catholic Diocese of Orland issued a statement defending Father Rodriguez, reiterating he was “reacting to a perceived act of aggression.”

They said: “The woman forcefully placed her hand in the vessel and grabbed some sacred Communion hosts, crushing them.

“Having only one hand free, Father Rodriguez struggled to restrain the woman as she refused to let go of the hosts.

“When the woman pushed him and reacting to a perceived act of aggression, Father Rodriguez bit her hand so she would let go of the hosts she grabbed. The woman was immediately asked to leave.”

They added: “Further, while the Diocese of Orlando does not condone physical altercations such as this, in good faith, Father Rodriguez was simply attempting to prevent an act of desecration of the Holy Communion, which, as a priest, Father Rodriguez is bound by duty to protect.”

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