Signed "A Christian". Takes Bishop Clark to task for the attacks on Fr Baker. Suggest that, as the Anglican Church does, the Catholic Church should tolerate two rites contemporaneously. Such intolerance is a grave disservice to Christian Unity and those who love their tradition.
Sides 1-3: Alan Smithies (author & poet) writes following hearing the Bishop on the radio discussing the Tridentine Mass, its discontinuation by Rome and the subsequent mass protests. As an Anglo Catholic author he holds no brief for the Tridentine Mass; discusses the 1549 prayer book (a wholly Catholic Mass). Anglicans are in more disarray with their various services, with Series III replacing good English with journalese (as with your English mass). Discusses the nature of the language and its uses, the Bishops of earlier ages; modern bishops too influenced by the popular. People do want good but simple everyday English. Appends some hymns if the Bishop would like to use any of them then he'd be delighted. Sides 5, 7, 9: "Office for Saint Bede" 5 four-line verses; "For Saint Clare" [written for the nuns of Lynton, on the Feast of St Care, 1975] 8 six-line verses; "Hymn for Saint Nicholas" 6 four-line verses; "Office Hymn for Saint Andrew" 6 four-line verses "These hymns are written with the intention that they should be sung, wherever possible, in plainchant."
Suggest Canons Burditt and Frost and Frs Philpot and Wace for Commission on the division of the [Northampton] Diocese. Downham Market is an issue on which we must stand - "whatever the personal holiness of Ossie (and God alone is the Judge here), he is corrupting a holy thing - and this is the hidden evil." Unwavering leadership is required. Confront Ossie with the obedience he owes, and, that the Pope has formally specified the circumstances in which the rite may be celebrated. Tony Sketch should be given Downham market as his charge and say a publicised Mass there. PPs (Aldeburgh, Wymondham, Felixstowe and Ipswich) make change-over on October 7th.
Compliments slip: Bishop Secretary: "Tony Sketch will arrange to deliver the enclosed - less the carbon - to all Downham Market parishioners when he distributes his invitations to the real Mass." Page 1: letter to the congregation at Downham Market - explaining, now that the legal procedure is over, the sorrow he feels in acting against Fr Baker. Obedience to the Holy Father means accepting the changes away from the Tridentine Mass. Expects support for Fr Sketch. Notes of explanation included. Page 2-3: Notes headed: "1. Your present position"; "2. The Missal of Pope Paul VI"; "3. The Bishop's dealings with Fr Baker"
Expectation that priests and laity obey and respect the Pope and Bishops and celebrate Mass and Sacraments in the Church's way. Warning against attending an unofficial Latin Mass. Establishes that Archbishop Lefebvre and supporters are opposed to Vatican II and are operating outside the orders of the Pope and Bishops. To attend their Mass is to risk parting company with the Pope and the Catholic Church.
Fr Baker celebrated Mass without approval in the old rite without permission, preached without faculties and heard confession in an unsatisfactory conditions. He is reported as saying "Since the Vatican Council there have been two churches, one of which is the modern one with new doctrines, new morality, and new liturgy. They can't excommunicate me for that Church because I have never been a member of it. But I intend to remain loyal to the real Church." He has been on radio and television and has caused us considerable embarrassment. Can you persuade him to remain in Downham Market; he intends to return in the next month?
The proposed Mass has no ecclesiastical authority - Fr Baker has not sought leave to offer Mass. Despite Fr Baker's defence of following his conscience he has overlooked the duty to educate his conscience - cites a few examples. Bishop says the Fr Baker is neglecting the guidance of Vatican II, the Pope, Bishop Grant and Bishop Clark. Even if you cannot accept these, consider deeply before leaving Downham Market to share your personal difficulties in other dioceses.
Asks Fr Baker not to make another public trip to Newcastle. Fr Baker has broken Church laws. If Fr Baker has trouble with the Novus Ordo Mass then he can say it in the former rite "sine populo" [without the people] - do this and no more. Better to stay in Downham Market
Invited to offer the traditional Mass at Newcastle on 8 August. Telling the Bishop through courtesy following his admonition in the Catholic Press. Questions whether his reasoning can be found by the Bishop to be at fault. Offers Fr Wathen's "The Great Sacrilege" as an non-refutable authority. Fr Baker is trying to do God's Will - not defiant to authority but does not agree with the requirement for blind and unquestioning obedience.
The root of the trouble at Downham Market is not the use of Latin but the disobedience of Fr Baker. Catholics not properly prepared for the changes, hence those being upset. Arbitrary experimentation by some priests have not helped - hence a longing for the old familiar Mass. The new rite has been established as valid and free form doctrinal error.
T E Burns (Editor) to Bishop Clark advising him that a piece on Downham Market will be in The Tablet Notebook that week. "Since writing it, I have discovered that Downham Market is also the headquarters of the Counter Reform goings on of the Abbe Nantes, etc. etc. so perhaps Fr Baker is something rather different from the 'exemplary and devoted priest' that I depicted." Mention that the CTS reissue of "Apostolicae Curea" is causing a convert some distress; the Bishop had written to him to say that such discussions should be available.