Phoenix, AZ

Declaring Thousands of Baptisms in US Invalid Due to Priest Using Wrong Word

Andrei Tapalaga

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Over 10,000 people in Phoenix Arizona have their baptisms invalidStockSnap/Pixabay

How would you feel one day if you received a call saying that you have actually not been baptized properly, some may consider you are not a Christian. Well, this is what happened to thousands of Americans in Phoenix, Arizona who were baptized in the last 10 years by Father Andres Arango. It has been found out by diocese leaders that Father Andres Arango had been using the wrong word for years whilst performing the baptism ritual. 

He had mistakenly used the phrase “we baptize you” instead of “I baptize you” for years.

This error means that countless baptisms, an irrevocable requirement for salvation in Catholic theology will have to be performed again. What is even worst is that some churchgoers could find their marriages are not recognized as their faithful partner had not been baptized. 

Father Andres Arango has resigned from the St Gregory parish church in Phoenix. Thomas Olmsted, the bishop of Phoenix has announced Father Andres’ resignation and is urging churchgoers to join him in praying for Father Andres as well as for all of those that are impacted by this unfortunate event. 

Father Andres had made a public apology

“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, dedicate my energy and full-time ministry to help remedy this and heal those affected”. (Quote by Father Andres Arango)

The public had asked what is the problem with using “We” instead of “I”? Bishop Olmsted had responded by saying the problem with using “We baptize” is that it refers to the Christian community baptizing a person, rather than Christ alone baptizing a person. The Father is meant to be the messenger between the Christian community and Jesus Christ. 

“The issue with using “We” is that it is not the community that baptizes a person, rather, it is Christ, and Christ alone, who presides at all of the sacraments, and so it is Christ Jesus who baptizes.” (Quote by Bishop Olmsted)

“I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” is the correct phrase that needs to be used when a priest performs the baptism ritual. 

The Vatican’s Congregation even wrote a doctrinal note, alerting Christian Churches throughout the world that baptisms that used the phrase “We baptize” are not valid. No one, not the priest or Vatican himself is allowed to add, remove or change anything from the liturgy. These are traditions that have been followed for over one thousand years and changing the text is not reinforcing the belief of Christianity. 

Based on comments from the Vatican’s Congregation, all of those that had their baptisms considered invalid must be baptized once again. This has urged many other Bishops across not only the U.S., but also all around the world to check Churches to ensure that they are using the right formula, not only when performing baptisms, but in any kind of religious ritual. 

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