"Redouble your efforts to aid the poor and oppressed in the Third Wold, the Bishop of East Anglia (Rt Rev Alan Clark) tells the 79,000 Roman Catholics of his diocese in a Lenten message released today."
Bishop Clark 's pastoral letter for Sunday 2 March 1986 appeals for men to offer themselves for the priesthood. Currently, 125 priests serve in the diocese with 11 in training. More priests are needed as numbers of priests decline and the Catholic congregation increases - from 65,000 ten years ago to 80,000 now.
"Nearly 80 priests and 500 young people will join the Roman Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, Rt Rev Alan Clark, at St John's Cathedral, Norwich, on Monday, February 11th to celebrate his 40 years in the priesthood." Short biography of Bishop Alan Clark. Fr Philpot to give the address.
Announcing a pastoral letter: "The Roman Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, Rt Rev Alan C Clark, urges the nation this weekend 'to take out the word enemy from our conversation and substitute brother or sister'." Other quotations from the pastoral letter which was enclosed [not present] with this press release.
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.
Fr baker had issued detailed directives about what women could wear. The Bishop thought that a general directive might be more adequate - he had no idea of the lead up which horrifies him. "In many ways this miserable affair has only just begun" but your bishops are trying to find a solution compatible with Catholic faith - likely to be firm action.
Massive incoming post causes delay. Can debate the central point of the letter: the inadequacy of the New Order Mass compared to the Tridentine Mass. Vatican II debated extensively and profoundly and from there was promulgated the "Constitution of the Sacred Piturgy" in 1963 from which came the April 1969 Apostolic letter of Pope Paul. Fr Baker has known of the1970 Hierarchy directive and has deliberately put his Bishop in an impossible position but is following Canon Law; he could have acted summarily.
Responding to a correspondent about situation at Downham Market. "I share your anxiety about Downham Market, and for some time now I have been endeavouring to find a viable solution to this unhappy problem." People with cars can drive to Oxburgh or Swaffham - but this is far from a happy solution.
To Douglas [Brown, Catholic Herald] - told Harold Hood how much he appreciated the article - got the equation so right and thinks Clifford Longley in the Times gave a good overview of what is at stake.
Acknowledges that he had read the Downham Market article and advised others to read it. The holiness of Fr Baker is for God to judge but his ministry leaves a lot to be desired; have tried to contain this because of the hurt and scandal its disclosure would cause; this assumption of holiness hurts other priests in the area. "It is appalling that Downham Market has associated itself with the Abbe of Nantes." Short discussion of Apostolicae Curae; leave off the offensive "final decision" from the front cover. The proceedings of Oxford was kept completely confidential but the last sentence of the press release is a "humble and abiding confidence in what we are doing."
Receiving letters pleading for a change in diocesan decision - recently an extremely insulting one. No able to reply to all, asks Fr Baker to announce on Sunday that all letters received are not ignored but courtesy and Christian Charity should be reflected in letters
A considerable reorganisation of parishes and pastoral responsibilities in the area of Dereham and Swaffham. Downham Market will become part of the Swaffham parish with Fr Peter Marsh as its first parish priest; it may be re-established as a parish in the future. Fr Baker must be living on a pittance now that RAF Marham has its own chaplain. Providing him with an overview of intentions which will not happen until arrangements have been made for Fr Baker.
Await the conclusions from Fr Manley's group, Bishop's engagements are known in advance. DIO's job is to pester his office for information. If people are "bitchy" about the Bishop's ecumenical involvement, he cannot do anything about it. "I almost have a papal bull" to commission this ecumenical work both nationally and internationally. "..The fact is that the Catholic community must be instructed that the Church can not be renewed without being ecumenically involved; and that is where I depend on my brethren." Recognises that he is not a good TV personality, being too tense. However, that is not likely to change. He and the ATV producer decided to do a couple of runs as they both judged the first film to be too cosy and it "required some abrasiveness and more sharp disagreement. All very difficult".
Rev K V Ensor's letter touched the Bishop deeply and precious to receive especially from an Evangelical Anglican. Shares the need not to tamper with doctrine under the rubric of spurious ecumenism. The doctrine of the RC Church is embodies in the New Order of Mass which is shared substantially with the Anglican Communion. The Church is not an abstraction; it is for the episcopate to discern what is to be done in the development of the Catholic faith.
Bishop Clark is travelling, with Fr Philpot, to Bolivia to visit one of his priests, Fr John Drury. Fr Drury has been in South America for 5 years and the last 12 months have been spent in the foothills of the Andes. He returns to East Anglia in the Autumn and has sent an open letter to all those in the diocese who have helped him with the prayers and alms.