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AZ Priest Resigns After Thousands Of Baptisms He Performed Are Now 'Invalid' Over One Wrong Word

AZ Priest Resigns After Thousands Of Baptisms He Performed Are Now 'Invalid' Over One Wrong Word
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A Phoenix metropolitan area pastor has resigned from his position as minister of St. Gregory Catholic Church after a technicality in baptism rites caused thousands of baptisms performed by the minister to become invalidated.

Father Andres Arango had been faithfully performing the sacraments at his parish in Phoenix for seven years when his error became public knowledge. In performing the sacrament of baptism, the priest is meant to say “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Father Arango had been saying "WE baptize you in the name of..." instead of "I."

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix ultimately made the call to expose the minister's error and make it public.

“It is not the community that baptizes a person and incorporates them into the Church of Christ; rather, it is Christ, and Christ alone, who presides at all sacraments,” said the diocese.

“Therefore, it is Christ who baptizes. If you were baptized using the wrong words, that means your baptism is invalid, and you are not baptized.”

Father Arango was also serving in California prior to his assignment in Arizona for over 13 years. Over two decades worth of baptisms have been rendered invalid by this minute error, at the Church's discretion.

While in daily life not much will change, for those whose communities are within the Catholic church, the invalidation of the sacrament of Baptism also invalidates all sacraments performed thereafter.

That means communions, confirmations, marriages, children's baptisms, reconciliation, and other lifelong sacraments offered by the church would also be taken away from parishioners whose Baptism was commuted over the word "we."

Community members are upset with the Church and the pastor's resignation.

"He always remembers everyone that he meets by name and just makes you feel special," said Evelyn Ortega, whose infant daughter Luana was baptized by Father Arango last year.

"I don't think ... that it was something that he did on purpose at all....We support him because he is giving us an example of humility and obedience."

Father Arango submitted his resignation as pastor of St. Gregory's effective Feb 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.

"I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere."

But parishioners do not blame the reverend at all.

"As a faithful person, I believe that she is baptized," Ortega said. "If it has to be done again for it to be on paper and for me to be able to get her sacraments and be able to move forward then I will do it."

Whether or not Father Arango will return to the community is unclear, but the diocese says he will spend his time in the near future helping and healing those who are behind on their sacraments.