Phoenix priest Andres Arango’s baptisms are invalid because he used the wrong word, Catholic Church says
But Arango misused a word that ultimately undermined the validity of all these rituals: instead of saying “I baptize you”, he used the word “we”. the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix announced in a Press release.
Arango’s incorrect word nullified all baptisms the priest performed using that language, an investigation by the diocese recently revealed.
“If you were baptized using the wrong words, it means your baptism is invalid and you are not baptized,” said the diocese declared on its website. “You will need to be baptized.”
Following the news, Arango, who was named pastor of St. Gregory Parish in Phoenix in April 2017, resigned. His resignation became effective on February 1.
“It saddens me to learn that I have performed invalid baptisms throughout my ministry as a priest by regularly using an incorrect formula,” Arango said in a statement. letter posted on the Diocese of Phoenix website. “I deeply regret my mistake and how it affected many people in your parish and elsewhere.”
Arango did not immediately respond to messages from The Washington Post early Tuesday. Neither the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix nor St. Gregory Catholic Church responded to messages from The Post early on Tuesday.
The error goes beyond baptism, the first Catholic sacrament. Because baptism is a sacrament that opens the door to others, if a person has been misbaptized by Arango and then received other sacraments, such as confirmation or marriage, they may need to repeat some or all of these sacraments after being validly baptized.
In 2020, Bishop Giacomo Morandi said there appeared to be other examples of priests changing the wording at baptisms. Morandi said that, according to the Vatican, no priest should add, delete or change “anything in the liturgy on his own authority” – an incident that would likely invalidate the sacrament.
Prior to joining the Diocese of Phoenix, Arango was a member of the Eudist community, an order dedicated to training future priests and preaching missions. According to the diocese, Arango used to say “We baptize you” instead of “I” when conducting baptisms in Spanish and English.
After reporting to Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted that Arango was using the wrong word, a “thorough study” revealed that “all baptisms he performed up to June 17, 2021 are presumed invalid.”
All baptisms carried out by Arango after June 17, 2021, are presumed valid, the Diocese of Phoenix said, and need not be repeated.
Olmsted, who said he doesn’t believe Arango acted in bad faith, pledged to help correct any invalid baptisms.
According to the Diocese of Phoenix, Arango “has not disqualified himself from his calling and ministry” and will continue to help those who have been improperly baptized. He added that he remains in “good standing” as a priest. The diocese said that from now on, the other sacraments performed by Arango are considered valid.
The priest apologizes to his parishioners.
“I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience my actions have caused and sincerely ask for your prayers, forgiveness and understanding,” Arango said.