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Priest steps down after small error renders years of baptisms invalid

by Sophie Drew

A US pastor has resigned after using the improper baptism technique to christen babies. 

Instead of saying “I baptise you”, the clergyman had been saying “we baptise you”, rendering the ceremony invalid. 

Father Andres Arango conducted a number of baptisms over his time as priest of St Gregory Church, but a letter to the diocese by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted has confirmed that they were not in accordance with the usual practices. 

He wrote: "Specifically, it was reported to me that Fr Andres used the formula 'We baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.' The key phrase in question is the use of 'We baptise' in place of 'I baptise.”

"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 sacrament, and so it is Christ Jesus who baptizes.” 

Despite his departure from the church, Fr Arango remains a priest, and will be helping to identify those whose baptisms are not valid. 

Fr Arango has expressed his sadness in a letter posted on the diocesan website. 

He said: “I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people,"

"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 health those affected."

Those who have gone on to receive their first holy Communion are not affected, even if their baptisms are rendered invalid. 

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