A Wee We Problem

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona does not mince words, in its pronouncement about what to do about a linguistics question:

What exactly happened?

The formula (or words) Fr. Andres was accustomed to using during the Rite of Baptism in English and Spanish for both children and adults was the phrase, “we baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The word in question is the use of “we” in place of “I.” 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. The Baptismal Formula (the words used in the Rite) has always been guarded for this reason: so it is clear that we receive our baptism through Jesus and not the community.

If you were baptized using the wrong words, that means your baptism is invalid, and you are not baptized. You will need to be baptized.

This is a wee we problem, of intense interest to parishioners and also pedants.

NPR has additional details, in a report called “An Arizona priest used one wrong word in baptisms for decades. They’re all invalid

Improbable Research