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''Unbaptised' US Catholic priest ordained again

Father Matthew Hood's priestly ordination became invalid after his baptism was proved to be void

 UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Updated: August 25, 2020 02:20 AM GMT
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''Unbaptised' US Catholic priest ordained again

Father Matthew Hood, 30, now the Archdiocese of Detroit’s newest priest, thumbs through the missal at the altar of St. Lawrence Parish in Utica, where he serves as associate pastor. (Photo: Michael Stechschulte / Detroit Catholic)

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Detroit archdiocese ordained a Catholic priest for a second time on Aug. 17 after learning that his infant baptism was void, making his ordination invalid. 

Father Matthew Hood, ordained in 2017, has been working in the diocese for the past three years, just like any other Catholic priest. However, his priestly ordination was found invalid as his Catholic Baptism proved to be invalid, reported Catholic News Agency.

Father Hood thought he had been baptized as a baby. But this month, he read a notice issued by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Aug. 6. It said altering the words of Baptism can render it invalid.

For example, if the minister says, “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” instead of “I baptize you,” the Baptism is not valid, it said.

Father Hood remembered a video of his Baptism where the deacon said: “We baptize you….” He suddenly realized his Baptism wasn’t valid. 

The Church presumes a sacrament valid unless there is proof to the contrary. Father Hood’s Baptism could have been passed as valid unless he had a video showing the opposite.

Father Hood informed this to his archdiocese. He received Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist again. He made a retreat and was also ordained a deacon. He was validly ordained a priest on Aug. 17. 

One must be ordained a Deacon before validly ordained a priest. Diaconate becomes invalid without valid Baptism, which also makes his ordination invalid.

The US-based news portal reported that most sacraments Father Hood administered since his invalid ordination were also considered invalid.

The archdiocese said people whose marriages were blessed by Father Hood should contact their parish, and that the archdiocese was also making its efforts to reach those people. 

The archdiocese was also making efforts to contact others whose Baptism had been administered by Deacon Mark Springer, the deacon who invalidly baptized Father Hood. 

Although the absolutions performed by Father Hood before his valid ordination were not valid, those who approached him “in good faith, to make a confession did not walk away without some measure of grace and forgiveness from God,” the diocese said while explaining the issue.

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