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Father Fidel RodriguezLifeSiteNews

ST. CLOUD, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic priest may be arrested for defending the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ from an angry lesbian woman who crushed several hosts and tried to illicitly administer herself Holy Communion, prompting him to bite her arm. 

By all indications, Father Fidel Rodriguez of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Cloud, Florida, acted appropriately when the woman tried to take what she later described to police as “the cookie” from him at a 12 p.m. Mass last Sunday. 

The woman, whose name is Jetty Nique, left a one-star review of the church on Google. In her now-deleted review, she explains that she is a “proudly gay female” and that she attended the Mass because it was the first Communion of her “girlfriend’s” niece. She expressed anger over the fact that Father Rodriguez “disrespect[ed]” her by initially attempting to give her Communion on the tongue. 

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Father Rodriguez told police when they arrived after the noon liturgy that he had never encountered Nique before and that his actions had nothing to do with her lesbian lifestyle, which he knew nothing about. 

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

The priest first interacted with Nique at St. Thomas Aquinas Church’s 10 a.m. liturgy. Video footage from the parish’s YouTube channel shows that he had a 55-second conversation with her when it was evident she wasn’t a practicing Catholic because she hadn’t opened her mouth or replied “Amen” when he said, “Body of Christ.” Father Rodriguez asked but she refused to tell him the last time she received Communion and went to confession. He then gave her a blessing. 

Father Rodriguez recognized Nique when she re-presented herself for Communion at the 12 p.m. Mass, at which point he said he was not judging her but needed to know if she had gone to confession. Nique told him it was “not his business” then extended her arm and “crushed” several consecrated hosts, spilling them on the ground. 

“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,” she later told police. 

“I bit her, I am not denying that. I am defending myself and the sacrament,” the priest informed law enforcement.  

The Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ truly present under the consecrated species of bread and wine, as the Catholic Church teaches. “In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained,'” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, citing the Council of Trent. Jesus Christ is fully present in each particle of the Eucharist.

The Diocese of Orlando, which is led by Bishop John Noonan, has issued a statement supporting Father Rodriguez’s actions.  

“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.” 

“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,” the diocese added. 

“It is not something a person can arbitrarily demand and is certainly not a mere ‘cookie’ as the complainant called it,” the statement continued. “The full video and the police report show the woman initiated physical contact and acted inappropriately.” 

Nique eventually went to the police station where the fire department treated her arm. She did not go to the hospital. She plans on filing charges against Father Rodriguez, NBC affiliate WESH-2 reports. 

LifeSite called St. Thomas Aquinas Church to speak with the priest this morning. Father Rodriguez, 66, serves as the parochial vicar of the church. The receptionist who answered instructed LifeSite to reach out to the Diocese of Orlando’s communication department. LifeSite did so but received a voicemail. 

According to local media, the St. Cloud police department has handed the case over to the Florida Attorney General’s office for further investigation.  

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