I personally find this hilarious, but I imagine there are several thousand Catholics out there who would vehemently disagree with my assessment.
A Catholic priest in Arizona has resigned after he was found to have performed baptisms incorrectly throughout his career, rendering the rite invalid for thousands of people.
The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix announced on its website that it determined after careful study that the Rev. Andres Arango had used the wrong wording in baptisms performed up until June 17, 2021. He had been off by a single word.
During baptisms in both English and Spanish, Arango used the phrase “we baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” He should have said “I baptize,” the diocese explained.
“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,” it said. “If you were baptized using the wrong words, that means your baptism is invalid, and you are not baptized.”
Diocese spokesperson Katie Burke told NPR over email that Arango is believed to have used the incorrect word since the beginning of his priesthood in 1995.
And it gets worse, because if the church doesn’t consider you baptized, it also doesn’t consider you anything else in its eyes. Like married, for instance.
As far as the diocese is aware, all of the other sacraments that Arango conferred are valid. But because baptism is the “sacrament that grants access to all the others,” a botched baptism could invalidate any subsequent sacraments, including confirmation, marriage and holy orders.
“What this means for you is, if your baptism was invalid and you’ve received other sacraments, you may need to repeat some or all of those sacraments after you are validly baptized as well,” the diocese said.
The diocese said that while the situation may seem legalistic, the words, materials and actions are crucial aspects of every sacrament — and changing any of them makes them invalid.
“For example, if a priest uses milk instead of wine during the Consecration of the Eucharist, the sacrament is not valid,” it said. “The milk would not become the Blood of Jesus Christ.”
Imagine trying to explain any of this to someone from another planet. Hell, I’ve lived on this one for a decent while and I don’t get it.
I’m not going to begrudge anyone having faith in something. But organized religion like this is such a silly, pointless thing to get caught up in at the best of times, and it’s often hard for me to wrap my head around why anyone still does.