An Arizona priest has resigned from St. Gregory Parish in Arizona after using “we” instead of “I” within his baptisms for decades.
According to The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix’s website, Father Andres Arango used the words “we baptize you in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit,” instead of “I baptize you in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit” in both English and Spanish.
The diocese says that this mistake matters to their congregation because,“it is not the community that baptizes a person and incorporates them into the Church of Christ; rather, it is Christ, and Christ alone, who presides at all sacraments.”
“Therefore, it is Christ who baptizes. If you were baptized using the wrong words, that means your baptism is invalid, and you are not baptized.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s orthodoxy office, supports this position of 2020 when they published a release saying baptisms performed by saying “we” instead of “I” were not valid.
For those within Catholicism, a baptism usually involves infants having water poured on their heads during a religious ceremony.
Baptisms affect other religious practices for Catholics including confirmation, communion, and potentially marriages, so the potentially invalidity of ceremony is significant, according to The Diocese of Phoenix.
“I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere,” Arango — who has served as a pastor, parochial administrator, parochial vicar and other religious roles for over two decades in Brazil, California, and Arizona — said in a statement after his resignation.
“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.”
Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix said in a statement that he does “not believe Fr. Andres had any intentions 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,” he said.
According to the diocese, “the number of baptisms Father Arango has performed in his priestly ministry” is in the thousands, and all preformed prior to June 17 2021 are invalid.