Last month, Gaylord Diocesan Watch raised an alarm regarding reports of invalid baptisms performed by Father Michael Haney at Cross in the Woods parish, Indian River. Father Haney has a track record that does not align with Church teaching and practice, and Gaylord Diocesan Watch has highlighted this in previous posts. For years, parishioners have notified the Bishop of the Gaylord Diocese; the response has been either absent or dismissive.
It seems as if the Diocese is responding to complaints of invalid baptisms with numerous articles on the Diocesan website. Why now? Possibly, this is due to high profile news reporting in the Archdiocese of Detroit regarding a priest who was invalidly baptized. He was then required to validly receive ALL of his sacraments in addition to baptism, ie, he had to receive Confirmation and Holy Orders again. ALL of the absolutions he gave in the confessional before he received valid Holy Orders are invalid. ALL of the consecrations he participated in (Holy Eucharist) before he received valid Holy Orders are invalid. The same applies to lay people who were invalidly baptized: their Confirmations are invalid.
Some have concerns as to how seriously the Diocese is taking all of this. Bishop Hurley, the Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese, stated the following:
“The overwhelming majority of baptisms are valid. Only a small number may be affected by this decree. All sacraments are presumed to be valid unless established to be otherwise. With this in mind, I encourage you not to doubt the validity of your baptism without good cause to do so.”
Really? According to whom? If Father Haney has indeed performed invalid baptisms, then the overwhelming majority, if not all, of the baptisms at Cross in the Woods parish are invalid! That could be a huge number. How about other parishes? How about deacons in our parishes? Are they aware of the importance of a properly performed sacrament? Sacraments are the bedrocks of our faith journey; not having them can be catastrophic.
We will continue to monitor this situation closely.