(CNN) – A Catholic priest has resigned after a church investigation found he had performed invalid baptisms for most of his more than 20-year career, according to Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix.
Father Andres Arango, who performed thousands of baptisms, said: “We baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. But Olmsted explained that the words “We baptize” should have been “I baptize” instead.
“The problem with using ‘We’ is that it is not the community that baptizes a person, rather it is Christ, and He alone, who presides over all the sacraments, and so it is Christ Jesus who baptizes,” Olmsted wrote. in a message to parishioners posted last month.
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’s web page for frequently asked questions. CNN has reached out to the diocese for comment on other sacraments.
Arango resigned as pastor of St. Gregory Parish in Phoenix on 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. I deeply regret my error and how it has affected many people in your parish and elsewhere” , wrote Arango in his own post on the site.
Olmsted said the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2020 affirmed that when a baptism is conferred with the formula “We baptize…” it is invalid and people must be rebaptized.
The diocese has set up a website for anyone who thinks they have had an invalid baptism. The diocese said Arango baptisms performed after June 17, 2021 are presumed valid.
According to Katie Burke, spokesperson for the diocese, a few new baptisms have already taken place.
Arango began his career in Brazil in 1995. He will continue to be a priest and devote his energy and time to helping those who have had invalid baptisms.
Olmsted said he did not believe Andres intended to harm any of the parishioners.
“I, too, am sincerely sorry that this error has caused a disruption of the sacramental life of a number of the faithful. For this reason, I pledge to take all necessary measures to remedy the situation for all those affected. said Olmsted.
According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, there are seven sacraments in the Catholic Church: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage, and Holy Orders.
“Through the sacraments, God shares his holiness with us so that we, in turn, can make the world holier,” the conference states on its website.
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