Out: Florida Man. In: Florida ... Priest?

AP Photo/Dan Balilty

Initially, I intended to use this for a Headlines entry, but it's just too weird to pass up for some commentary and some explanation. With all due apologies to my friend Stephen "Vodkapundit" Green for muscling in on his Florida Man territory, I present to you ... the Legend of the Biting Priest and the Lesbian Activist. (At least I'm not infringing on Karen's Feel Good Friday franchise!)


The local Fox affiliate in St. Cloud was on hand to cover this novelty in the Florida Man genre, but it really turns out to be a Florida Woman story. Trust me:

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. 

Oh, but it gets better. The woman had come to an earlier Mass, where the priest apparently was suspicious of her intent when she tried to take the wafer "like she was taking a cookie," the priest told police. She came back at the next Mass to try again, and the priest offered to place the Eucharist on her tongue. At that point, the woman acted as though she was in the self-serve lane at the local Country Kitchen Buffet:


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. 

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

Who knew Mass could be this entertaining? I kid, I kid ...

And it gets even better than that. Fox 35 reports that the woman accused the priest of hostility because of her "sexuality and attire," according to a "witness," who also claimed the priest stopped her from receiving communion because "she's in a relationship with a woman." That seems like a very, very curious bit of knowledge for a rando in the pews to have. One has to suspect that the "witness" may have been present for the purpose of framing whatever took place from a confrontation, especially after her appearance in the communion line in the earlier Mass. Was the "witness"the woman behind the alleged victim in the video above?

Besides, how would the priest know whether the woman was in a relationship with a woman?

This smells like a set-up by political activists. It's very clear that the woman has very little understanding of the Eucharist. For one thing, Catholics do not refer to it as a "cookie," as this woman does in the video. It is a wafer which has been transubstantiated into the literal Body of Christ during the Mass. More importantly, Catholics do not take the wafers out of the ciborium (the bowl) during communion. The priest (or lay eucharistic ministers) place the wafer either on the tongue or in the hand of those receiving the Eucharist. Those receiving the Eucharist respond with "Amen," and must consume it immediately before walking back to the pew. 


Catechesis among Catholics may be poor of late, but every Catholic who has gone through First Communion has been instructed on that much. If they attend Mass at all, they can certainly observe these norms. Priests have a holy obligation to preserve and protect the Eucharist and ensure it is handled and consumed in a reverent manner, because it is the body of our Lord and Savior. So when a strange woman comes up and tries to grab the ciborium, the priest will fight to protect it. That is why the diocese is defending the priest in this instance, as Fox notes, because he had a duty to prevent the desecration of the Eucharist -- which is clearly what the woman intended.

So much for the Catholic context. The legal context here seem pretty clear, too, assuming the report of the event is accurate. The woman initiated the incident by trying to grab a "cookie," attempted a theft when grabbing for the ciborium, and committed battery when she pushed the priest. The priest committed battery by biting the woman, but only after she initiated the violence. If one party gets prosecuted for this, then it should be the initiating party, not the party that was responding to the assault and theft. 

I'd guess that no one will get prosecuted. But the woman should be investigated for a hate crime, on the basis of her attack on a religious service. If we're going to have hate crimes, then prosecute them all, or get rid of the concept altogether. 


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David Strom 10:00 AM | June 21, 2024