A priest in America has resigned from his parish after invalidly baptising thousands of people.
Fr Andres Arango has stepped down from his post as parish priest of St Gregory Church in Phoenix, Arizona, after he disclosed that he had used the incorrect formula for baptisms between 1995 and 2021.
He now wants to commit himself to remedying his error and baptising again those who improperly received the sacrament at his hands.
Instead of saying: “’I baptise you in the name of the Father and the Son of the Holy Spirit …” the priest dropped into the habit of saying: “We baptise you …”
Baptism is the sacrament of initiation into the Christian life and into the Church and there is a danger than invalid formulae may invalidate further sacraments, such as confirmations, first Holy Communions, and even marriages.
In a letter announcing his resignation, Frr Arango apologised for his mistake and asked the Church for “prayers, forgiveness, and understanding”.
“It saddens me to learn that I have performed invalid baptisms throughout my ministry as a priest by regularly using an incorrect formula,” he wrote.
“I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere.
“With the help of the Holy Spirit and in communion with the Diocese of Phoenix I will dedicate my energy and full time ministry to help remedy this and heal those affected.”
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Phoenix said Fr Arango, who has also worked in Brazil, remained a priest in good standing and was not disqualified from his ministry.
Recipients of invalid baptisms will have to be baptised again and might also have to receive other sacraments as if for the first time.
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