The Communications Department shares the following message from Father Stephen Pullis, Director of the Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship and member of the liturgical team advising Archbishop Vigneron during the coronavirus pandemic:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
On August 6, 2020, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a response to questions regarding the validity of baptisms in which the words used by the priest or deacon are different than those in the approved liturgical text. Specifically, to say, “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” does not convey the Sacrament of baptism. Rather, ministers are to allow Jesus to speak through them and say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
By recently watching a family video taken at the time of his baptism as an infant and then reading the note issued by the Vatican, Father Matthew Hood was devastated to learn that a deacon decided to change the proper words (formula) to baptism. Father Hood immediately contacted the Archdiocese and the proper steps were taken to remedy his situation. He has now been validly baptized, confirmed and ordained.
We offer the information below as a resource to all the faithful. We encourage you to read the letter from Archbishop Vigneron and the frequently asked questions. Should you have additional questions or concerns, please contact your parish or use the form below to contact the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Earlier this month, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an important doctrinal note alerting the Church throughout the world that baptisms were not valid in which a particular word or words were changed. Specifically, to say “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” does not convey the sacrament of baptism. Rather, ministers must allow Jesus to speak through them and say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
In making this clarification, the Congregation pointed to the Second Vatican Council, which established that no one “even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.”
One of our priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit received this news with particular devastation. Father Matthew Hood, a graduate of Sacred Heart Major Seminary who sought ordination to the priesthood in June of 2017, had recently viewed a family video taken at the time of his baptism as an infant and realized the celebrating deacon decided to change the proper words (formula) to baptism, using “We baptize” as opposed to “I baptize.”
These frequently asked questions are also available in Spanish.