For 26 years, Father Andres Arango a Catholic priest in the United States had been performing the first sacrament of Catholic life with the wrong words, the church has discovered.
“We baptize you,” instead of the Vatican-sanctioned “I baptize you.” Father Andres Arango had gotten one word wrong in the blessing for decades and this may prompt the church to invalidate those baptized by this priest.
“Father Arango was using the incorrect words from the beginning of his priesthood until it was brought to the attention of the diocese last summer,” said Katie Burke spokeswoman of Phoenix diocese.
Burke said Arango’s error was identified in mid-2021, a quarter of a century after he began working as a priest. “I do not have an exact number of people baptized between 1995 and 2021, but I believe they number in the thousands,” she said.
“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; therefore, it is Christ who baptizes,” Thomas J. Olmsted, bishop of Phoenix, said.
Baptism in the Catholic church is a rite of admission that church doctrine says is necessary for a believer to access other blessings.
In common with other Christian denominations, it normally involves sprinkling or pouring water on the head, or the supplicant being immersed.
Catholics believe that only people who are baptized can enter heaven after their death.