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.
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.
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.
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"
Laying out the issues which the Bishop had to consider along with the historic background and identifying the parts of relevant Canon Law, the Bishop invites Fr Baker to resign as Parish Priest in Downham Market
Requesting that he attends in Northampton to discuss the situation in Downham Market and that of Fr Baker. Having put the Bishop off at the last moment, the Bishop says that he expects Fr Baker to attend next week.
Quoting from an article in the Daily Telegraph which the Bishop indicates could mislead a reader with some untruths about Fr Sketch. Writing because "this and similar one-sided reports cause distress..." "... you will instruct your staff to present both sides of the picture, and not accept uncritically the propaganda of an interested party in the controversy."
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
Every effort, long hours and many miles involved in finding bridges to attempt to persuade Fr Baker to enjoy the privacy of the Downham Market presbytery. Bishop has for many months been on TV and in print trying to explain what is at stake. "... not just a question of a liturgical rite; it is a refusal to accept the renewed mission of the Church ..."
Tragedy that Fr Baker has decided to re-open the issue after a good compromise by Bishop Grant. Norwich Deanery priests felt strongly that it was churlish and mean-minded to turn the attack on to the Bishop's Secretary.
Went to Downham for the Mass and stayed a week. Why do you persecute a priest because he refuses to be a heretic? 5 years ago deviant behaviours (pop masses, dancing masses...) would have resulted in excommunication on the spot. Who is right Fr Baker, or those in a free for all. Copied to Cardinal Heenan, Apostolic Delegate, Bishop Grant
Concerned about the saga concerning Downham Market. Great respect for Fr Sketch in the short time he has been with the parish he has cone a great deal. There are many who feel that Fr Sketch is well able to tackle the problem.