Invalid baptisms send shock waves throughout the Catholic community

MILWAUKEE, (CBS 58) — A Catholic priest in Arizona who performed baptisms the wrong way for years has resigned in Arizona. The invalid baptisms sent shock waves throughout the Catholic community.

Words mean everything in the Catholic community. In this case, a priest used the word “we” instead of “I” and that invalidated thousands of baptisms. It also caused Catholic leaders around the world to take a closer look.

It’s the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on South Lake Drive. All the cases in question come before the office of the Very Reverend Mark Payne as Deputy Judicial Vicar.

“Well, the choice of words is very important, okay,” said the Most Reverend Mark Payne, Deputy Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

What we know from the Arizona case is that Father Andres Arango used the phrase “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, when he should have said “I “because it’s not community, it’s doing Baptism. It is Christ alone.

“So if we use ‘we’, who is ‘we? The reason it’s so important is that I don’t baptize in my name. I baptize as in the person of Jesus,” Reverend Payne said.

Father Arango’s baptisms date back to 1995 in English and Spanish, so thousands of people are involved.

“Father really didn’t believe he was doing anything wrong. He was very sincere about it. So he felt he was doing everything right, but he wasn’t,” Reverend Payne said.

This isn’t the first time this has happened recently. The summer of 2020 revealed something similar in Detroit and Oklahoma City. So far, Father Payne hasn’t seen any in Milwaukee.

“Not that I am personally aware of this, -51 but we have, through the chancery office, through Chancellor Barbara Anne Cusack, sent a note reminding priests to use the words correct and if there is anyone in the know to contact the Chancery Office or the Court, myself Father Mark Payne, and bring it to our attention,” Reverend Payne said.

If a baptism is deemed invalid, all subsequent sacraments, including confirmation, holy orders, and marriage, may need to be repeated.

“I think poor Father got a little confused in his own thinking or his own theology and unfortunately he didn’t do it right,” Reverend Payne said.

Anyone seeing this report, who might now have questions about their own baptism or someone they know, can contact the Archdiocese of Milwaukee at 414-769-3300.

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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