A priest who had performed baptisms has stepped down after learning that he had wrongly used a single, two-letter word instead of the word “I,” invalidating baptisms that he had done over the years.
The Rev. Andres Arango had said “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” while performing the ritual in the Catholic church he served, The New York Times reported.
The problem was Arango said “we” instead of “I,” which is how The Vatican instructs it should be done.
As per the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, “‘We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ does not convey the sacrament of baptism. Rather, ministers must allow Jesus to speak through them and say, ‘I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,’” according to the Diocese of Phoenix.
The church says that no one can change “anything in the liturgy on his own authority,” the diocese explained.
Now all of the ceremonies in which Arango said “we” instead of “I” are invalid.
It wasn’t just once or twice that Arango had used the wrong pronoun. Church leaders determined he had done it thousands of times over his 20-year career while serving in Phoenix, San Diego and Brazil.
Now that the baptisms have been deemed invalid, it could mean that other Catholic rites may not be valid either.
The problem is some church leaders are not sure.
The Diocese of Phoenix posted online “Maybe! Unfortunately, there is no single clear answer.”
But the diocese did say that any baptisms Arango performed after June 17, 2021, “are presumed valid and do not need to be repeated.”
The diocese said on its webpage that it is working with those who may have received the wrong wording during their baptism and that new ceremonies can be scheduled as needed.
It will also provide a letter to former members of the diocese that they can take to their current parish, explaining the situation.
Arango has resigned from his position as pastor of St. Gregory Catholic Church in Phoenix as of Feb. 1, the Times reported.
“I do not believe Fr. Andres had any intentions to harm the faithful or deprive them of the grace of baptism and the sacraments,” Bishop Thomas Olmsted wrote in a letter to parish members, according to the Catholic News Agency.
This isn’t the first time the ceremony had been conducted wrongly.
Two priests, one in Oklahoma City and another in Detroit, were both baptized using “we” when they were children, the Times reported.
People who were baptized incorrectly have to go through the religious rite again.
While Arango has resigned as pastor of the parish, he is still a priest and is still serving in the diocese.
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