Last week, the news broke that Father Matthew Hood of the Archdiocese of Detroit had this summer learned that he was not validly baptized— despite believing that he had been ordained a priest in 2017.
Hood thought he had been baptized as a baby. But, prompted by a recently issued notice from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Hood reviewed the video of his baptism ceremony and realized that the deacon had said “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” instead of “I baptize you…”
The CDF clarified earlier this month that any baptisms administered with the formula “we baptize” are invalid, and anyone for whom the sacrament was celebrated with this formula should be considered as not yet having received the sacrament.
In one fell swoop, Hood went from being a Catholic priest to being…well, not technically a Catholic at all.
While the news was devastating to Hood, the situation was, at least for him, relatively easy to remedy. In short order, he was baptized, confirmed, and received the Eucharist. After making a retreat, he was ordained a deacon, and then ordained a priest Aug. 17.
But of course, the ripple effects spread far further. Hood’s initial lack of a valid baptism means that the Masses, confirmations, absolutions and anointings— and likely at least some of the marriages— that Hood had performed as a priest were not valid.
The Archdiocese of Detroit is encouraging those who have received sacraments from either Hood or Deacon Springer to contact the archdiocese.
Upon hearing the news about now-Father Hood’s invalid baptism, some Catholics— even if they have no connection to Hood or Springer— may be tempted, as Hood did, to review the tapes of their own baptisms to ensure that they, too, are not invalidly baptized.
Read more at Catholic News Agency