Catholic Priest Apologizes and Resigns after Discovery of Thousands of Presumed Invalid Baptisms - Bishop Issues Statement - FULL TEXT

Statement by San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy regarding Baptisms by Fr. Andrés Arango - Fr. Arango used the word "we baptize" instead of "I baptize" according to the proper formula. Fr. Arango has been a priest for 27 years in Brazil and the USA. In 2020 the Vatican's CDF issued a statement indicating that using "We baptize" renders a baptism invalid. Apology of Fr. Arango is below the Bishop's message:
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 16, 2022) — Bishop Robert W. McElroy, of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, issued the following statement today:

“The Diocese of San Diego has received inquiries about the pastoral situation of men and women who were baptized by Father Andrés Arango during the brief period in which he served in the Diocese of San Diego a generation ago. Since Father Arango utilized an invalid formula in baptisms in the Diocese of Phoenix in recent years, that diocese has taken steps to identify and re-baptize men and women.

“It is unclear if any invalid baptisms by Father Arango took place within the Diocese of San Diego. If any such baptisms did take place, it is impossible 20 years later to analyze the nature of each specific baptismal formula that was used in individual baptisms, find the person who was baptized, and re-baptize them.

“Fortunately, this is essentially a pastoral dilemma rather than solely a matter of church law. The theology of the Church teaches that God binds himself to the efficacy of validly celebrated sacraments. But that same theology states that God is not bound by the limitations of the sacraments. The bounty of God’s grace powerfully suggests that any men and women who were possibly baptized so long ago have received from the Lord the graces of baptism and all that goes with them in their lives. And thus, they should be at ease.

“If anyone who was baptized by Father Arango in our diocese wishes to discuss this personal pastoral situation in greater depth, I would ask them to please call me personally.”

Message from Fr. Andres Arango

Lea esto en español.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is with a heavy heart that I find myself writing this letter of notification to a wonderful parish family that I once served.

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 this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere. 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 heal those affected.  In order to do this, I have resigned from my position as pastor of St. Gregory parish in Phoenix effective February 1, 2022.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank God for having given me the opportunity to serve your community so many years ago.  You have all enriched my life beyond measure. It has been a blessing and an honor to have served and worked alongside people that I consider my dear friends and family.

On the Diocese of Phoenix website, there is a letter from Bishop Olmsted about this and a link to a form where you can provide your name and contact information if you believe you were baptized by me, so that the Diocese can begin the process of baptizing all who are affected.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience my actions have caused and genuinely ask for your prayers, forgiveness, and understanding.

Respectfully in Christ,

Fr. Andres Arango