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Archive Record
Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia (RCDEA) Downham Market
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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)

Bishop Clark to Correspondent: Unhappy problem

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.

Clark, Alan Charles Rev DD (1919-2002)

Petition

Page 1: Petition text: loss of daily Mass and related devotions following proposed re-alignment of parish boundaries; much fund-raising done for the Church; Rural nature of Downham Market parish would make it difficult for a priest based at Swaffham. Hence request the Bishop reverse the decision affecting Downham parish
Page 2: 1 copy of petition names - column 1 35 names; column 2 32 names

Correspondent

The Tablet editor to Bishop Clark: Downham Market piece

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.

The Tablet

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)

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

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)

"A Warning" "and an Amplification"

side 1: "A Warning / from / Peter Simple / of the Daily Telegraph / and an Amplification"
side 2: Article "Sign" by Peter Simple, reproduced from the Daily Telegraph, 16 March 1976
sides 3/4: "An amplification - from one of the faithful" by Margaret S Kenworthy-Browne

Unknown

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 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)

The Catholic Cross, Vol 5 No 2

page1: Christmas, Nativity scene and text
page 2: Editorial
page 3: Image of Fr Oswald Baker ("DT Picture") - advertisement for recording of All saints Day Mass at Downham Market
page 4/5: "No 'Sack' for this 'Rebel priest'" - 3 images of a Catholic priest concelibrating mass with an Episcopal priest (Sister)
Page 6-8: "Reply to Bishop Grant" - " I have received a copy of your letters dated 26 November and 6 December, concerning Downham Market..." signed L Hurst

Unknown

Newsletter - Presbytery Chapel / St Pius V House, Downham Market

Redemptorist publication "Christian Encounter" - reverse page for local parish notes
Page 1 - printed
Page 2 - "Are Traditionalists disobedient? (concluded)" - traditional mass dates from 1570 - persistent challenges to legality of New Mass - even the Pope will not invoke it as a legal instrument - its introduction is visible a mistake.

Baker, Oswald Charles Rev (1915-2004)

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