Priest quits after his baptisms found invalid because he said the wrong words

Pope Francis appears in BBC documentary ‘Priest School’

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Andres Arango, of the Diocese of Phoenix in Arizona, who has been a pastor since 1998, and has since performed thousands of baptisms, was forced to resign his position. According to the diocese, the priest would say “we baptise you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” instead of “I baptise you…” up until June 2021. Because of that, all of the baptisms that he performed are presumed invalid.

In an announcement, the diocese calls people to check their files for a baptismal certificate, or even photos and videos of the baptism to see if they were baptised by Arango.

And if they can’t find the files, the diocese urges people to contact their parish to look up their certificate and find out whether they need to book for a new baptism.

But the issue doesn’t end there, as an invalid baptism could even affect people’s marriages.

Again, the diocese calls for people to reach out for help if they were baptised from Arango and then got married, to find out if their marriage is affected.

The diocese also alerts people to contact them if they know any other priest who says “we” instead of “I” during his baptisms.

An announcement read: “It may seem legalistic, but the words that are spoken (the sacramental form), along with the actions that are performed and the materials used (the sacramental matter) are a crucial aspect of every sacrament.

“If you change the words, actions, or materials required in any of the sacraments, they are not valid.

“For example, if a priest uses milk instead of wine during the Consecration of the Eucharist, the sacrament is not valid.

“The milk would not become the Blood of Jesus Christ”.

Quoting the Vatican, the diocese said that “no one, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority”.

In a statement, Arango said: “It saddens me to learn that I have performed invalid baptisms throughout my ministry as a priest by regularly using an incorrect formula”.

He added that he regrets his error and that he will try to help heal those affected.

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