Catholic sacraments erased because priest wasn’t correctly baptized due to use of unpreferred pronoun. Church is contact-tracing to find the doomed.

This is one of the crazier manifestations of mainstream religion (Catholicism) that I’ve seen lately, and I would have missed it in The Detroit News had it not been sent by reader Steve.  Click on screenshot to read.

I’ll just quote the gist of the article, which almost could have come from The Onion (my emphasis to show the damage caused by not using a preferred pronoun):

A priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit earlier this month learned his baptism, performed 30 years ago, was invalid and that sacraments he has performed for others such as marriage and confession are invalid.

The Rev. Matthew Hood, who since July has served as associate pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Utica and at Divine Child in Dearborn since 2017, learned he was invalidly baptized as an infant by Deacon Mark Springer, who improperly used “We baptize” rather than “I baptize” to confer the sacrament from 1986 to 1999, a statement from the archdiocese said.

An invalid baptism means Hood, a graduate of Sacred Heart Major Seminary who sought ordination to the priesthood 2017, was invalidly ordained to the priesthood and limited in his ability to celebrate valid sacraments during the past three years, the archdiocese said.

“The note from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith alerted the Church throughout the world that baptisms were not valid in which a particular word or words were changed,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

“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.’

The archdiocese is seeking to contact anyone who may have received invalid sacraments.

“It is the duty of the local Church to ensure that everyone entrusted into her care has the full benefit and certainty that come from the valid reception of the sacraments, which have been given to us to keep us as secure as possible on the path to heaven,” Archbishop Allen Vigneron said.

Contact tracing! At least it’s easier here than for Covid-19 because you need find only the people to whom Father Hood gave sacraments. Still, that’s thirty years worth of Catholics!

I’m curious as to how many people are going to go to hell because they couldn’t be contacted, and thus their own baptisms, confessions, and expiations were invalid—all because Hood was baptized by “we” rather than “I”. More important, how did they find out?

Hood has now been baptized properly, and henceforth his sacraments will be “valid”. But still I wonder whether, if the priest administered “invalid sacraments”, can people really go to hell? I know that homosexuality is a “grave sin” to Catholics, and an unconfessed homosexual act can send you to hell.  Would a gay person who confessed this to the incorrectly baptized Hood still have to fry for eternity? Theologians, please weigh in!

Apropos, Steve sent a video clip with a note:

This is a famous scene from the first Harry Potter movie about the importance of proper pronunciation when spellcasting.

68 Comments

  1. Barry Lyons
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    “The archdiocese is seeking to contact anyone who may have received invalid sacraments.”

    That’s beautiful.

    • Dom
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Last rites?! 🤣🤣🤣

      • grasshopper
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        The people who received the last rites from him aren’t properly dead. We are not amused.

        • Susan Davies
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          So now we have legions of the “undead” created not only by this priest but people baptised by him who went on to be priests and who baptised others, ad infinitum, just like the vampires!

  2. Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    The Harry Potter comparison is wonderful; I was thinking very much along the same lines. You would THINK that a supposedly omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient being who is also (supposedly) omnibenevolent would consider “We” good enough, and take the thing in the spirit in which it was meant…and frankly would probably find all this nitpicking laughable. Oy.

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Or the almighty should be able to fix it with a “wish and flick” of his own?

  3. Ken Pidcock
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Isn’t his ordination invalid?

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    This seems like it will cause an unnecessary amount of grief for people who are now not married in the eyes of the church, or whose family were not given valid last rites, not to mention countless confessions and communions. The church has the authority to grant dispensation here (since it makes up the rules anyway). I wonder what point they are hoping to make. Let the law suits commence!

  5. A C Harper
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Is there nothing else in the chain of Aramaic, Greek, Latin, then various modern language translations that is cause for concern?

    “Mr. Praline: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this sacrement what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

    Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Marriage sacrement…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

    Mr. Praline: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘E’s invalid, that’s what’s wrong with it!

    Owner: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.”

  6. Laurance
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Oh for &%*$#& sake!!!! This is just plain CRAZY!!! I mean, REALLY…!!!

    • EdwardM
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      You think that’s crazy, because of a misplaced comma we regularly get children massacred in their schools and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it. We are not a sane species.

  7. Roo
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    It’s a very bad look to put this much effort into a semantic issue after decades of unchecked child abuse. Seriously, how about some priorities? I am sorta-kinda-I-don’t-know religious ‘in a spiritual way’, so I’m probably more sympathetic to religion than many who read this site. But in spite of that (or maybe because of it,) I find this pretty horrible. Known by your fruits and all that. If your ‘fruits’ are obsessing over words as if they are magical incantations that will cause God to cast people into limbo for crimes of semantics, while your reaction to child abuse is a big old shoulder shrug and shuffling of priests to obscure posts, your fruits are looking pretty rotten.

  8. busterggi
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    It musta been an ‘n’ word, maybe nickle.

  9. BJ
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    This is one of the most loony things I’ve ever seen from a religion, and that’s saying, well, not “a lot,” but “a ludicrous fuckton.” Why would they even bother with this? I guess they really are true believers, rather than just collectors of wealth and power.

    If you’re a Church member and receive one of these letters, how can you not reexamine whether your belief in this religion is justified? This is Monty Python levels of silliness!

    • sugould
      Posted August 25, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      The only thing that can come between you and your god, other than the priests and the hierarchy, is… a database? Will they send “personalized” computer letters?

  10. Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Seems like ‘We’ would be more appropriate, as it’s being done in the names of the three-in-one gang.

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Good point, especially as it’s being done by someone else on their behalf.

  11. BobTerrace
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    The flapping of a butterfly wing…

    Unlike the weather reference above, this only affects the level of absurdity of religion. It only increases it by a notch.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Wow. And here I thought it a bit on the punctilious side when Barack Obama made Chief Justice John Roberts come to the White House for a do-over, after Roberts screwed up the oath of office for the presidency at BHO’s first inauguration.

  13. jezgrove
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    That really takes the biscuit …I mean wafer!

  14. Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    If they handle this right, it’s a good opportunity to do a controlled experiment. Half of the improperly baptized people should be baptized properly, the other half be left alone, then we can see who goes to Hell and who doesn’t. So which would be considered the control group? 😉

  15. Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Historically, the Church has taught that the benefits of baptism can be received not only through the administration of the sacrament itself (baptism of water) but also through the desire for the sacrament (baptism of desire). So that should cover both Fr.Hood, the hypothetical gay penitent, and any other mis-baptized Catholics. Incidentally, the Eastern Church uses “X is baptized in the name of the Father, etc.,” a rare case of where use of the passive voice avoids rather than creates a problem.

  16. Jenny Haniver
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Only an atheist website such as WEIT would have me popping the neurons of my already severely comprimised prefrontal cortex* over the finer points of RC Canon Law first thing in the morning (or at all).

    From what I read the Orthodox Church obviates the problem completely by using the passive voice: “The servant of God [Name] is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” Further, if one is Orthodox and joins the RC Church, the baptismal ceremony is not repeated according to the Latin Rite.

    But the RC Church has other similar inconsistencies, such as “Married priests are already allowed in Eastern Catholic Churches loyal to the pope, and Anglican priests who convert to Catholicism can remain married after ordination” but regular old RC priests cannot marry. There are even crazier rules whereby autocephalous bishops can legitimately consecrate other bishops, thus giving rise to the kind of nuttiness described in “Earthly Powers” by Anthony Burgess, a book I consider to be a classic.

    In addition, in certain situations, anyone — even a non-Catholic can baptize. I think they mean non-Catholic Christians but I wonder if atheists and non-Catholic theists can also baptize, but why would they want to? However, just for the fun of it I once turned a young man into a Muslim by geting him to repeat the shahada: “there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” He didn’t find it amusing; everyone else present did.

    * I misspelled “cortex” as “cotex” — and to make a very bad pun, I think need some cotex for my cortex.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Mea Culpa. Strike that last comment. Bad word play is a mortal sin to me and I just committed one.

      • grasshopper
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Eternal punnishment awaits you. Your penance is that you must recite ten hail mary’s, ten Lord’s Prayer, six novenas, perform four stations of the cross and wear a scaplula. Also attend nine Benedictions, which should bring you to your censers.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

          Holy Smoke! With the pungent clouds of Church incense wafting about the chapel when the thurible is swung back and forth during Benediction, attending nine of them certainly would (damn, I first wrote “wood”) bring me to my censers.

  17. Sara L.
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t there an episode of Gilligan’s Island that touched on this? Thurston Howell and Lovey had to get remarried because they learned (through the ubiquitous radio) that their original marriage was invalid. They were living in sin all those years until the Skipper remarried them – on a raft in the lagoon to make it legal.
    That being said, I have just about sprained my eyeballs by rolling them.

  18. C.
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    In light of the socio-political upheaval we’ve become mired in these last three+ years, I find nothing more than the faintest tinge of amusement at the panicky hand-waving over slightly misspoken magic words to a make-believe bearded guy in the sky.

    To quote Morla the Ancient one, from the Neverending Story:

    “We don’t even care whether or not we care.”

  19. JohnH
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Good find Steve. The Harry Potter addition was genius.

  20. JohnH
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Hope he didn’t give the last rites sacrament to many. They are already in hell.

  21. Jon Gallant
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I certainly hope the holy fathers are contact-tracing all the dead who received improper last rites from Father Hood. After all, if they were sent to the wrong place, perhaps the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith could offer them its sympathy, and even Email the correct papers upstairs.

  22. rickflick
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    “…sacraments he has performed for others such as marriage and confession are invalid”

    Sounds like a good way to drum up business when your market share is dropping.

  23. rickflick
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    How many people have been similarly left flat by an improperly mumbled incantation over the ages. Since the Church was founded in 313 A.D., there have been 69,471,622 sacraments said by priests. God being God, he probably made about 2% make a damning mistake. That’s 1,389,432.44 errors! A hell of a lot of those people are going to want there money back.

  24. Type Logician
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, what John *should* have written was, ‘In the beginning was the RIGHT word’…

  25. veroxitatis
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Serves them right for introducing the confusion of any Tom,Dick or Harry of a vulgar tongue. Have they forgotten that God speaks only Latin?

  26. Simon Hayward
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Mark Springer spent 13 years doing baptisms wrong. I’m guessing this has effects for all of those on the receiving end of his dunkings, not just the one who became a priest. They won’t even have names now – so they will be difficult to track down 😉

    Then they might be illegitimately married, pretty sure catholics need to be baptized before marriage.

    So Hood, and the problems downstream of him, are jus the tip of the iceberg. This could keep the inquisition busy for centuries!

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      They should do what they did during one of the crusades, when Simon de Montford (but not the famous one, apparently… WEIT reader Dom will perhaps fill in the details) told his soldiers to put all of the heretics in the vicinity to the sword. “But sire,” they asked,” how will we know the heretics from the true believers? ” “Kill them all”, de Montford replied, “God will know his own!”

  27. Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that this is much to do about nothing for Catholics. The early Church had “heretical” groups all over the Latin world and often had to deal with the question of whether sacraments were valid when performed by a priest who lapsed in some sense or was later deemed to be heretical. Surprisingly the early Church took the simple position that those sacraments were valid, hence no need for contact tracing because…..God. See Donatism.

  28. chris moffatt
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Just a thought: if it is the late JC doing the baptizing (and not the priest who is apparently just channeling) in the name of himself, the big guy and spooky surely “we’ is totally appropriate. All the people baptized by a priest who says “i baptize you……” are still pagans.

    Next up: exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin…..

    • Type Logician
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      But isn’t it part of Catholic doctrine that God is One, a Triune Being, and that the use of ‘We’ is a denial of that part of the creed, making it sound like the universe is run by a troika? There *must* have been a named heresy somewhere back there which took this position… no, definitely you don’t want to allow *that* sort of rubbish to get a pass, eh?!

      • chris moffatt
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        My understanding of cathlic dogma is that they are a threesome. JC was sent by big daddy who did not come to earth himself but expected JC to take the fall for human wickedness. Ergo they must be separate critters. As for ghosty he only appears once and then is never seen again. But we can always fall back on the default position of the cathlic church when they have no explanation….”it’s a mystery”.

      • Mike
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heresies_in_the_Catholic_Church#Trinitarian/Christological_heresies

        There are so many trinitarian heresies that they have to be alphabetized in a table with many explanatory notes to keep them all straight. Must be exhausting.

  29. Richard Jones
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how many kids there are out there who have suddenly become illegitimate?

  30. Dan T.
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    On seeing this, I immediately wanted to make Harry Potter and Gilligan’s Island references, maybe try to drag in Monty Python too, and mention that the rites’ language was a mere translation anyway and not in “God’s native language”, whatever that is. But I’ve already been beaten to it by the other commenters.

    I’ll note that the two religions of Catholicism and Wokeism seem to have in common putting extreme importance on using the “right” pronouns.

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      And both are happy for men to wear frocks…

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it seems to me that about 5% of weird news revolve around pronouns, but the baptism thing stands out in this stream!

  31. Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s incredible to me that there are people of normal intelligence who can hold in their brains the following beliefs:

    – There is a god that is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-merciful

    – When you die, the god sends you to either a good place or a bad place, where you will stay forever

    – This god may send you to the bad place because, through no fault of your own, somebody didn’t say the magic words right.

    I would hope that this does not survive 20 or 30 seconds of serious scrutiny. The fact that it does seems to indicate that many folks have never thought about something hard or questioned their received knowledge for more than 10 seconds or so in their lives.

    Many of these people vote, and some are allowed to operate heavy machinery.

  32. David L Jorling
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    When I was a student at St Xavier High in Cincinnati, we were required to go on a “retreat” at the local Jesuit seminary in Milford, Ohio. Call it a week of “Intensive Indoctrination”. Anyway, we were being lectured by a Jesuit about the sacrament of confession, and were informed in no uncertain terms that only a priest could forgive sins. I asked a hypothetical question: If I had a mortal sin on my soul and was truly sorry and went to confession, wouldn’t I still be forgiven even if the man behind the curtain was an imposter? The Jesuit said absolutely not, only ordained priests can forgive sins. He added that if I died upon leaving the confessional I would go straight to hell.
    The same would hold true, I now presume, if a real priest used the wrong pronoun.

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Hey when did you graduate from St. X?

      I went to McNicholas! Small world.

  33. nellwhiteside
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Goodness gracious me. Much ado about nothing.

    Religion seems to switch the rational switch off.

    • phoffman56
      Posted August 25, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      seems?

  34. Posted August 24, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    What a shame that Netflix is stopping Lucifer at the end of season 5. They could get several episodes out of this one story.

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Season 6 has been agreed, though filming hasn’t started yet (I bow to the wisdom of my Lucifer-obsessed daughter on this subject).

  35. Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    “It is the duty of the local Church to ensure that everyone entrusted into ‘her’ care…”
    Who decided that the Church is female? What if it turns out that ‘she’ is ‘he’? Then 2000 years of Catholics are partying in hell! OMG!

  36. Kevin
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Last year I couldn’t even spell Cattlick, but now I are one!

  37. Susan Davies
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    OMG,my brain is hurting. On the one hand we have a priest who said one word incorrectly, resulting in god knows how many imagined cascading problems. Then on the other we have priests who committed dreadful sins against children who were protected by the churches and retained their right to administer “sacraments” that validated various situations of the faithful.
    Then today, in Australia, some bishops of both the Catholic and Anglican churches have stated that they have “grave reservations” about coronavirus vaccines developed with the use of cell lines derived from “voluntary” abortions, and that they would not accept being jabbed by said vaccines. Presumably then, many members of their flocks would follow suit and not be vaccinated, thereby putting untold numbers of their fellow citizens at risk.
    There is no end to the stupidity of religion.

  38. Ken Phelps
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    “Theologians, please weigh in!”

    Bzzzt! Bzzzzt!
    Does not compute!
    “Theologians” Bzzzzzt!
    “Weight” Bzzzzzt!
    Error! Error!
    No substance!
    Weight not found!
    BZZZZT!!!!

    ..fade to blue.

  39. drosophilist
    Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    I admit, when I saw the headline but before I read the article, my thoughts went in a completely different direction. I assumed it would turn out to be something like, “The priest was initially thought to be male, but then the priest came out as non-binary/genderfluid and started using zie/zir pronouns. Since only men are allowed to be Roman Catholic priests, it turns out that all sacraments administered by zir are now invalid and must be redone by a proper male priest!”

  40. Hal
    Posted August 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    The thing that strikes me in all of this: Couldn’t anyone tell or feel the difference? One would think that something so crucial to one’s being would have some perceptible effect!


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