A priest has resigned from a Catholic church in Phoenix, after it was determined all of the baptisms he has performed until June 17, 2021, are presumed invalid.
Father Andres Arango resigned from St. Gregory Catholic Church in Phoenix after it was determined he incorrectly performed thousands of baptisms for decades by changing one word.
According to Thomas J. Olmsted, the bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix. Father Arango used the words:
“We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The correct phrase he should have used is:
“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Bishop Olmsted details that the issue is with using the word ‘We.’ It is not the community that baptizes a person, however, it is Christ, and Him alone, who presides at all of the sacraments, and so it is Christ Jesus who baptizes.
For the Catholic faith, a baptism is a sacrament in which people, typically infants, have water poured over their foreheads, which symbolizes purification and admission to the Church. Baptism is a requirement for salvation.
In a statement, Olmsted said that he does not believe Arango meant to harm the faithful or deprive them of the grace of baptism and the sacraments. “On behalf of our local Church, I too am sincerely sorry that this error has resulted in disruption to the sacramental lives of a number of the faithful,” Olmsted stated.
Arango has served as a pastor, parochial administrator, parochial vicar, and various other religious titles in the states of Arizona, California, and in the country of Brazil for over the past 20 years. The Diocese of Phoenix said because of his error during those baptisms, all of the baptisms he has performed until June 17, 2021, are presumed invalid which are said to be thousands.
In a statement, Arango said he was resigning as pastor of the parish effective, Feb. 1.
“It saddens me to learn that I have performed invalid baptisms throughout my ministry as a priest by regularly using an incorrect formula. I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere,” Arango said. “With the help of the Holy Spirit and in communion with the Diocese of Phoenix I will dedicate my energy and full time ministry to help remedy this and heal those affected.”
The diocese states that if a baptism is invalid, and you’ve received other sacraments, you may need to repeat some or all of them once your baptism is eventually valid. Due to the issue, the diocese created a FAQ page to answer questions people may have about specific rules.