The priest voluntarily resigned his position as pastor of St. Gregory Parish in order to "spend his full-time ministry helping and healing the people affected by this mistake."
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 16, 2022. It has since been updated.
When Father Andres Arango baptized someone, he would always say, "We baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Arango has baptized thousands of people during his career that spans over 20 years, but it was recently discovered that every single baptism done by him is illegal because of one word he used wrong, according to CNN.
Apparently, the phrase "We baptize" should have been "I baptize" instead, according to Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix.
"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," Olmsted wrote in a message to parishioners.
The error also means that because baptism is the first of the sacraments, some people will need to repeat other sacraments, according to the diocese webpage for frequently asked questions. Also, it could present other problems for those affected, the diocese said. Since baptism is the "entry point" for other sacraments, a nullified baptism would also invalidate any confirmation, marriage, and holy orders that came after it.
Father Andres Arango baptized thousands using the expression "We" instead of the Vatican-sanctioned "I" baptize you. Now thousands may have to be re-baptized.https://t.co/nsgj8DoQwX— DW News (@dwnews) February 16, 2022
The decision to void Arango's previous baptisms came after "careful study" by diocesan officials, Olmsted explained, adding that there were additional talks with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, per PEOPLE.
The diocese also declared that if anyone was baptized using the word "we" instead of "I", they are not baptized and will have to do it all over again. The comparison made there was with a priest using milk and wine during the Consecration of the Eucharist, which would render it invalid given how the milk would not become the Blood of Jesus Christ.
"On behalf of our local Church, I too am sincerely sorry that this error has resulted in disruption to the sacramental lives of a number of the faithful," Olmsted said in his letter. "This is why I pledge to take every step necessary to remedy the situation for everyone impacted."
Olmsted then shared that he doesn't believe Arango "had any intentions to harm the faithful or deprive them of the grace of baptism and the sacraments."
How absurd!— Paul Pari (@PaulPari6) February 15, 2022
Father Andres Arango would say, "We baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
The issue with using 'We' is that it is not the community that baptizes a person, rather, it is Christ, and Him alone,
All his Baptisms are invalidhttps://t.co/tXhPu3GX9G
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the diocese revealed that while Arango "remains a priest in good standing," he voluntarily resigned his position as pastor of St. Gregory Parish in order to "spend his full-time ministry helping and healing the people affected by this mistake," they added.
In a separate statement posted to the diocese's website, Arango expressed remorse for his mistake.
"It saddens me to learn that I have performed invalid baptisms throughout my ministry as a priest by regularly using an incorrect formula," he said, adding that his resignation went into effect at the start of February. "I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere."
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank God for having given me the opportunity to serve your community so many years ago," he added. "You have all enriched my life beyond measure. It has been a blessing and an honor to have served and worked alongside people that I consider my dear friends and family."
During the baptism ceremony, a holy sacrament designed to welcome believers into the Catholic Church, Rev. Andres Arango would say, 'We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,' which is incorrect.— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 15, 2022
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Carmen Trappenberg | EyeEm