A Catholic priest in Spain’s province of Valencia slapped a young man in a church in the town of Rótova during a local festival on the evening of September 5. Believing that the young man had discarded a communion wafer, which the Catholic faith teaches is truly the body and blood of Jesus Christ under the mere appearance of bread, Rev. Victor Jimeno then threw him out of the church while denouncing him as a “blasphemer.” The victim, however, returned the blow. A local politician has called upon the priest, as well as the young man and his parents, to meet on September 7 to discuss the matter.
According to statements made by the priest, the young man may actually be innocent and is taking the blame for a friend who actually did commit the deed. The priest spoke to the parents of the young man, who has taken to bed in an apparent fit of pique. Said Rev. Jimeno, “Rótova is a small town, a big family, and we don’t want the news to go further,” while he hopes that the town will not become the butt of jokes. While he recognized that it was indeed members of his own congregation who committed the outrage, the priest says he wants to promote reconciliation and peace.
A friend of the young man who was assaulted by the priest explained that his friend is very upset and unrepentant. The friend explained that the young man threw the communion wafer to the floor during a fit of choking.