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Archive Record
Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia (RCDEA) Downham Market Authority
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Bishop Clark to Bp Grant: Diocese division; Downham Market; PP changeover

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.

Clark, Alan Charles Rev DD (1919-2002)

Bishop Clark to Correspondent: Dress Code at Downham Market

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.

Clark, Alan Charles Rev DD (1919-2002)

Bishop Grant to Downham Market Congregation

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"

Grant, Charles Alexander Rev LCL BA (1906-1989)

Bishop Grant to Fr Baker: Consequences of the Decree

Detailing the immediate consequences of the Decree sent on 20 November:

  1. not entitled to live in the Parish house - must be vacated without delay - contact the Bishop for support arrangements
  2. not entitled to use the Church - will not evict Fr Baker but will not tolerate him remaining
  3. not entitled to administer parochial funds - make arrangements to settle up
  4. not entitled to officiate at marriages - any married by you will be in an invalid marriage
  5. if celebrating mass in disobedience must make this clear to those attending and handle monies appropriately

Grant, Charles Alexander Rev LCL BA (1906-1989)

Bishop Lindsay to Bishop Clark: Fr Baker and Tridentine Mass Centre in Newcastle

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?

Lindsay, Hugh Rev (1927-2009)

Bishop Lindsay to Fr Baker: No approval for Mass in Newcastle; An educated conscience?

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.

Lindsay, Hugh Rev (1927-2009)

Decree: Administrative removal of Fr Baker as Parish Priest

Fr Baker's ministry is harmful being direct and open disobedience of the Holy See. A review of the documents sent by Fr Baker were considered by the Synodal Examiner and the Pro-Synodal Examiner as not a sufficient answer and his ministry was harmful. Fr Baker had refused to resign and hence the Bishop is removing him from his office as Parish Priest at Downham Market. He has to hand over to Father Sketch.

Grant, Charles Alexander Rev LCL BA (1906-1989)

Fr Baker: Downham Market Statement

Being discredited by the Bishop for a love of the same Mass that the Bishop professes. Repudiate charge of being disobedient as he is following his conscience. Challenges the four area covered by the Bishop's secretary (Fr Morgan). Ludicrous allegation that Fr Baker's ministry is harmful - much support, sympathy and encouragement received. Will continue to offer Mass in Downham Market.

Baker, Oswald Charles Rev (1915-2004)

Fr Baker to Bishop Lindsay: My reasoning at fault?; Trying to do God's Will

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.

Baker, Oswald Charles Rev (1915-2004)

Sr Bede to Correspondent: Downham Market & Fr Baker; validity of New Rite

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.

Barker, Marion Tess OSB