Priest Allegedly Bites Church Member During Communion Dispute

A photo of communion bread broken into two

St. Thomas Aquinas Church mass disrupted by altercation; priest faces potential battery charges.

Communion at a Central Florida church took an unexpected turn – an argument that ended with a priest biting a church member, according to police.

The incident occurred on Sunday at the St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Cloud. Police have recommended that the priest, Father Fidel, be charged with battery.

The altercation began during mass when parishioners were receiving communion. The unidentified woman told St. Cloud police that the scuffle started when she tried to receive communion and was denied.

“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,” the woman can be heard saying on the police-worn body cam video. A witness told police that the woman was singled out because of her sexuality and attire.

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

The priest told police a different story, saying that the woman first came to the 10 o’clock mass but didn’t seem to know the process of receiving communion, so he denied her the bread wafer. Fidel told officers that the woman came back to another service and tried again, but this time he said the confrontation happened when she tried to grab the wafer from his hand.

He admitted to biting the woman and told police that he was protecting the wafer because it is 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 cannot give you communion,” Fidel told officers. “I bit her, I am not denying that. I am defending myself and the sacrament.”

The priest also told officers that he didn’t know the woman or what her sexual orientation is, and he doesn’t care about that. “I don’t judge nobody,” Fidel added.