A priest resigned earlier this month after his diocese discovered the baptisms he had performed were invalid because he had changed a single word while performing the sacrament.
“It is with sincere pastoral concern that I inform the faithful that baptisms performed by Reverend Andres Arango, a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix, are invalid,” Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted announced in a letter last month.
“This determination was made after careful study by diocesan officials and through consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome,” he wrote.
Arango, who has been practicing as a priest for more than two decades, used the phrase “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.”
“The issue with using ‘We’ is that 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 baptizes,” Olmsted said.
The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2020 clarified that using “we” during the first sacrament was not valid.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many baptisms Arango performed. He also practiced in San Diego and Brazil.
In a letter to his parish, Arango wrote: “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.”
He said he resigned, effective Feb. 1, so he could “dedicate my energy and full time ministry to help remedy this and heal those affected.”
“I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience my actions have caused and genuinely ask for your prayers, forgiveness, and understanding,” he wrote.
The Diocese of Phoenix said Arango “has not disqualified himself from his vocation and ministry” and “remains a priest in good standing.”
Those who believe they or their children were baptized by Arango can fill out a form online to be properly baptized. Subsequent sacraments, including marriage, may need to be repeated by those who had invalid baptisms performed by Arango, according to the Diocese of Phoenix.