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Archive Record
Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia (RCDEA) Priest
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Fr Oswald Baker - Latin Mass

This is a collection of documentation about Fr Baker during a period of his differences with his Bishops about the Church's approach to Latin Mass. This includes correspondence, newspaper clippings and published material.

Fr Baker served as a curate at Luton, High Wycombe and Wymondham, Norfolk, before going to Downham Market in 1949. When the New Mass came out in 1969, Fr. Baker refused to say it and continued to offer exclusively the Tridentine Latin Mass as codified by Pope St. Pius V in 1570.

In 1975 Father Baker was suspended by Bishop Charles Grant. Bishop Grant told Fr. Baker not to say Mass in his Church, so Fr. Baker said Mass in his Presbytery instead. With the help of donations a house was purchased for his presbytery and chapel, at 48 Bexwell Road, Downham Market, named the "St. Pius V Chapel". He said Mass there until his death in 2004.
In 1984 he explained that the present Pope was "no more a Catholic than Ian Paisley - and no more a pope than Billy Graham". He added that "the new Mass is a sacrilegious parody of the true Mass: it is sinful to take part in it."

Baker, Oswald Charles Rev (1915-2004)

Vatican envoy on three-day visit to region / Laity doing vital tasks

2 articles in on cutting

  1. Description of the visit by Archbishop Barbarito to the region.
  2. Use of laity for vital tasks because the diocese has too few priests. Bishop Clark called a special assembly to discuss the topic. Despite recent ordinations, there is going to be a shortfall of priests.

Eastern Daily Press

Ex-vicar to become Catholic priest

"For the third time in two months, the Pope has given permission for a former Anglican priest to be ordained as a Catholic priest." Comment from Peter Cornwall, one of the earlier priests referred to. Comment by the author on celibacy in the priesthood.

The Independent

Fr Baker to Bishop Clark: Expects to stay at Downham

Income in the parish has increased - so, not living on a "pittance". Willing to accept position as a curate so that the parish priest from Swaffham does not have to travel to Downham. His weekly visit to the convent in Swaffham means he could easily report to the PP. Changes would be detrimental to this parish. Suggest that any priest free to officiate do so at Oxburgh instead. Not impelled to move; willing to stay.

Baker, Oswald Charles Rev (1915-2004)

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)

Press Statement re Fr Gathercole

Given by Fr Dowsey: The assistant priest at Newmarket is now on indefinite leave from the diocese after discussions with Bishop Clark.
manuscript annotation: "Statement issued for the 'News of the World' (Wed April 17 1985)"

Dowsey, Gary Rev (1955-)

Bishop Calls for more Priests

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.

Dowsey, Gary Rev (1955-)

Correspondent to Bishop Clark: Challenging the Bishop's decision

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

Correspondent

Catholic Priesthood for former Anglican Minister

"The Vatican has granted permission for another former Anglican clergyman, a married man, to be ordained priest in the Roman Catholic Church." Mr. John Heley was CofE vicar at St Edmund's Hunstanton.
Permission had also been given for two other former Anglican ministers earlier in the year.

Dowsey, Gary Rev (1955-)

Catholics to define Laity's Role

2 versions on the same press release
pg 1 for non-weeklies e.g. EDP, Anglia TV - first paragraph: " Roman Catholics from three counties are meeting next month for the biggest ever assembly to be staged by the Diocese of East Anglia."
pg 2 for "weeklies"; first paragraph: "Wisbech [this word to be changed to suit locality] Roman Catholics are joining parishioners from three counties at the biggest ever assembly..."
Describes the need to develop a five-year strategy to alleviate the impact of the falling number of priests by inviting the laity to undertake particular roles. Mgr Paul Hypher is the assembly's coordinator.

Dowsey, Gary Rev (1955-)

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