One of my readers urged me to weigh in on the latest church foolery.
The one in Arizona.
I looked it up.
Father Andres Arango, a Catholic priest in Phoenix, Arizona, was censored by diocesan authorities for flubbing the baptismal rite for thousands of babies at St. Gregory Catholic Church. Those baptisms have been declared invalid, and any subsequent rite built on baptism (First Communion, Confirmation, marriage) will be nullified.
It’s hard to imagine anything worse a priest might have done over 20 years.
(Oh wait, let me think…)
So what was the offense? you ask.
Father Arango said, “We baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” instead of, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” In case you missed it, here’s the flub: “We” instead of “I.”
(And to think he might have said: “We baptize thee in the name of They.”)
Bless Father Arango. Give the man credit for creativity and humility. We (the gathered community) baptize you. That’s pretty cool.
In my day I baptized people “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Mother of us all.” That wasn’t quite kosher for a Presbyterian baptism. But then I knew the Spanish Inquisition wasn’t coming after me.
So you wonder: Can’t such a slight technicality be overlooked? No! That would condone impropriety. And the church can’t have that.
Arango resigned. “I deeply regret my error [and] will dedicate my energy and full time ministry to help remedy this.”
I don’t know how you recall a baptism or fix it, but there’s likely to be a way. After all, an institution 2,000 years old has dealt with sticky situations before.
If you can find a way to annul a consummated marriage (for the right price), you can find a way to restore a botched baptism. At least that’s a lot easier than, for example, fixing a botched circumcision.
Okay, there. I’ve weighed in on the botched baptisms. Not happily since religion is such a soft target and besides there’s plenty of good along with the bad in every religion.
Anyway, thanks to the reader who suggested the topic. It distracted me from my intended target this week: A certain Kandiss Taylor running for governor in Georgia on a campaign bus emblazoned with the slogan JESUS GUNS BABIES.
(Heaven help us all.)
I have a hard time believing that Pope Francis would have an issue with this technicality, it sounds more like Vatican politics. Catholicism is such a different animal. How absurd.
Randy, your post on Baptism brought back the memory of my Baptism. I was baptized in the Baptist Church in rural WV. I was either 9 or 10. When the minister dipped me backwards in the “tank” (I ‘m sure there’s a more formal term ) he dropped me. Does that count as “botched.” I know this was not the purpose of post. Sorry for my irreverence.
I am he as you are we
As we are all together
I am the Walrus
How ironic is the use of words. It can be used to foster a sense of unity and community (“we”) or used to divide and demean (“JESUS GUNS BABIES”). Looking at both uses of terms, which one is the most egregious? Too many times in religious circles propriety reigns, not humanity.
Sometimes irreverence is the perfect response to religion. Our relationship to one another & the Almighty is what matters.
The “spirit of the law” or the letter of the law? When the spirit of a ritual is present, I/we feel it – it’s real. When spirit is absent, but the letter is present – I/we feel its’ absence as well.
My son’s father & I took him to the river for a reverent “baptism “ – he had studied to be a priest for a decade, but opted out… the celibacy clause…
We felt spirit there. We suspected grandmother took our baby to the priest for a “real baptism” – she needed that in all sincerity; we understood, & who knows?
… (we) are/I am “the walrus – kukukachoo”
For the Zulu, these baptisms are legitimate. In their language, Ubuntu, identity is quite specific: “I am because we are.” Truth can be so simple with pronouns. The Catholic church has a thing or two to learn, and a decent priest’s career was tanked in the process. Ironic, politics is a tail that has the power to wag a religion. My guess is that Pope Francis wept at this one.
The straitjacket of church law and formalized tradition minutia has no limits, no shame, no humility, no humanity, no sense of decency and no connection to anything living. Absolutely shocking and terrifying.
Your point came across and you didn’t give in to what must have been a dire impulse to say “Are these people crazy??” And – yep – sometimes the Catholic Church goes off the rails, as history has shown us many times over – even to present days. Still…it provides solace, support, and guidance to so many thousands world wide.