Florida priest bites churchgoer while trying to receive Holy Communion: police

Police are investigating an incident that unfolded at a Catholic church on Sunday where a priest allegedly bit a churchgoer because she was trying to receive the Holy Communion in an improper way, according to the St. Cloud Police Department. 

The alleged incident took place at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and School in St. Cloud during Sunday's noon Mass. The churchgoer reported the alleged battery to police later that afternoon. 

Police have filed an Affidavit of Prosecution Summary against the priest, which will be forwarded to the State Attorney's Office for review. No arrests have been made in this incident. FOX 35 is choosing not to name the priest or the woman involved due to the fact that no criminal charges have been filed at this time. 

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A woman attended the church's 10 a.m. Mass and tried to receive Holy Communion from the priest, according to police. The priest refused and gave her a blessing instead, saying she didn't follow the proper steps necessary to receive Holy Communion. Those steps include holding your hands in a specific way, grabbing Holy Communion wafers in a specific way and saying "Amen" to the priest afterward, church officials told police. 

The woman reportedly tried to receive Holy Communion "like she was taking a cookie," the priest told police. 

The same woman returned to the noon Mass and tried to receive Holy Communion again, according to a report from the police department. 

"You are here again?" the priest told police about the woman's return. 

The priest said he asked the woman if she had received Confession before coming back, and she said she didn't need to give him an explanation. He then offered the woman Communion on her tongue.

That's when the woman allegedly pushed him and aggressively grabbed the bowl that contained the Communion wafers in an attempt to receive Holy Communion herself, the priest told police. 

The St. Cloud Police Department is investigating an incident where a priest allegedly bit a churchgoer after she reportedly didn't receive Holy Communion in the correct way. (Photo: St. Cloud Police Department)

This act was something the priest considered to be sacrilegious, so he bit her, he told police. 

"I recognize that I bite (sic) her, I am not denying that," he said. 

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Video from the incident, as seen on police's bodycam footage, shows the woman waiting in line to receive Holy Communion followed by an apparent scuffle with the priest. 

The Mass was stopped at this point, the priest said. 

"Everything was a disaster," he added. 


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The priest said he was not only defending himself, but defending the sacrament. A statement from the Diocese of Orlando shared the same sentiment. 

"While the Diocese of Orlando does not condone physical altercations such as this, in good faith, (the priest) was simply attempting to prevent an act of desecration of the Holy Communion, which, as a priest, (he) is bound by duty to protect," the statement said. 

Police also said that the priest was "attempting to defend the Communion bread (he) held as sacred," according to the report. 

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The woman's companion accused the priest of singling the woman out because of her "sexuality and attire," according to the police report. 

The priest responded to this allegation, saying that he had no idea who the woman was. 

Again, to be clear, no criminal charges have been filed in this incident at this time.