Priest in Phoenix, Arizona wrongly baptized thousands of believers

In a Catholic parish in Phoenix, Arizona, thousands of baptisms may be invalid because the priest used the wrong baptismal formula. Like the transmitter CNN and other media, citing the diocese, reported that Father Andres Arango used the plural instead of the singular and said “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. Correct would have been “I baptize you”. The Brazilian-born priest resigned.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted wrote in a note to the faithful that “we” is inadmissible. “The point is that it is not the church that baptizes a person, but rather Christ, and Christ alone, who presides over all the sacraments,” the bishop explained. He also referred to a 2020 clarification by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that the formula “we” is not valid. He does not believe that the Father acted with bad intentions, the bishop added.

Father Arango wrote that he deeply regrets his “error”. “It saddens me to learn that during my priesthood I have performed invalid baptisms using the wrong formula,” Arango wrote, sharing that he resigned as pastor of St. Gregory on February 1. He now wants to do everything in his power to help repair the damage.

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The diocese’s statement did not reveal how many people were baptized with the wrong formula. CNN spoke of “thousands”. The diocese pointed out on its website that if baptism is invalid, other sacraments such as communion, confirmation and even marriages could also become invalid, since baptism is the first of the so-called sacraments of initiation.

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