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Baptisms performed by Arizona priest declared invalid due to the word 'we'

Baptisms performed by Arizona priest declared invalid due to the word 'we'
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix said all baptisms performed by the Rev. Andres Arango before June 2021 are invalid because the priest said "we" instead of "I" when delivering the sacrament. Photo by Pixabay

Feb. 15 (UPI) -- An Arizona priest resigned from the Diocese of Phoenix after officials announced a single changed word invalidated all the baptisms he performed until June 2021.

The Diocese of Phoenix said all baptisms performed by the Rev. Andres Arango until June 17, 2021, were invalid because the priest said "we" instead of "I" when reciting the phrase, "I baptize you in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit."

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The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clarified in 2020 that sacraments using the word "we" are invalid.

"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," Diocese of Phoenix Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said in a letter to congregants.

Arango resigned from the diocese effective Feb. 1. The diocese said Arango remains a priest in good standing.

"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," Arango said in a statement on the diocese's website.

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Arango said his resignation will allow him to "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 posted a form online for anyone affected by the invalidated baptisms. Officials said other sacraments, including marriage, might need to be repeated if they followed an invalid baptism.

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