Catholic Priest Resigns After Church Declares His Baptisms Invalid Due to a Single Wrong Word

A Catholic priest who has performed thousands of baptisms over the last two decades recently resigned after learning that they are all invalid, because of a simple mistake.

Father Andres Arango recently resigned as a priest from St. Gregory’s Catholic Parish in Phoenix, Arizona, after a 25-year career. He stood accused of botching thousands of baptisms while serving as a priest in California, Brazil, and Arizona, and he was recently found guilty. Interestingly, it all came down to a simple wording issue, which apparently mattered a lot more than Aango or anyone outside the Catholic CHurch ever imagined.

Photo: Josh Applegate/Unsplash

Andres Arango would say, “We baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” which is apparently wrong, because “it is not the community that baptizes a person, rather, it is Christ, and Him alone, who presides at all of the sacraments, and so it is Christ Jesus who baptized.”

You might think that using ‘we” instead of “I” is no big deal, but it is huge, according to the Catholic Church. In fact, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2020 affirmed that when baptism is conferred with the formula “We baptize …” it is invalid, and that person needs to be performed again, correctly.

“They have to get baptized again,” said Donat Murego, whose four daughters were baptized by father Arango last year. He told ABC15 that the Catholic Church subsequently sent him an email letting him know that the baptism was “totally, 100% invalid”.

Photo: Anna Hecker/Unsplash

Father Arango reportedly performed baptisms incorrectly since 1995 and up until last summer, when the Diocese of Phoenix was made aware of the issue. Baptisms performed after June 17 of 2021 are considered valid, but that still leaves thousands of invalid ones. Although it will not affect the First Holy Communion, the Church believes that the wording error may affect marriage and confirmation.

“It saddens me to learn that I have performed invalid baptisms throughout my ministry as a priest by regularly using an incorrect formula,” Andres Arango wrote in a heartfelt statement. “It is with a heavy heart that I find myself writing this letter of notification to a wonderful parish family that I once served.”

“I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere. 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 priest added. “In order to do this, I have resigned from my position as pastor of St. Gregory parish in Phoenix effective February 1, 2022.”

The Phoenix Diocese has said that Arango “remains a priest in good standing,” and that he will concentrate his efforts righting the mistakes he made.

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