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.
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
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.
Sides 1-3: Alan Smithies (author & poet) writes following hearing the Bishop on the radio discussing the Tridentine Mass, its discontinuation by Rome and the subsequent mass protests. As an Anglo Catholic author he holds no brief for the Tridentine Mass; discusses the 1549 prayer book (a wholly Catholic Mass). Anglicans are in more disarray with their various services, with Series III replacing good English with journalese (as with your English mass). Discusses the nature of the language and its uses, the Bishops of earlier ages; modern bishops too influenced by the popular. People do want good but simple everyday English. Appends some hymns if the Bishop would like to use any of them then he'd be delighted. Sides 5, 7, 9: "Office for Saint Bede" 5 four-line verses; "For Saint Clare" [written for the nuns of Lynton, on the Feast of St Care, 1975] 8 six-line verses; "Hymn for Saint Nicholas" 6 four-line verses; "Office Hymn for Saint Andrew" 6 four-line verses "These hymns are written with the intention that they should be sung, wherever possible, in plainchant."
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"
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.
Expectation that priests and laity obey and respect the Pope and Bishops and celebrate Mass and Sacraments in the Church's way. Warning against attending an unofficial Latin Mass. Establishes that Archbishop Lefebvre and supporters are opposed to Vatican II and are operating outside the orders of the Pope and Bishops. To attend their Mass is to risk parting company with the Pope and the Catholic Church.
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.
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.
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?
Photocopies of local press coverage about Fr Baker inaugurating a Tridentine Mass centre in Newcastle. page 1: Article: Rebel priest to celebrate Latin Mass; Article: Booted out but unrepentant; letter: Oath of Loyalty page 2/3: article: Old faith alive in the North page 3: article: A choice of Masses today page 4: article: North Catholics defy their Bishop
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
Collection of sermons by Fr Oswald Baker; titles: How can it have happened? The evil of Vatican II Faith and Morals: The Vatican II assault Verdict on Vatican II Papal infallibility and papal power The Catholic Church and the Conciliar Church
An article by Fr Bruckberger OP which appeared in the Daily Figaro on January 24 1975 has been translated into English by Owen Roberts. "Do they take us for Idiots?" - prohibition of one rite, one liturgy, one manner of saying Mass (Mass of St Pius V). Paul VI Mass is authorised not imposed. A perpetual indult exists for the Mass of Pope St Pius V. It concludes with "Let them leave us to worship in a thousand years old rite..."
Item demanding the real reason for the removal of Fr Oswald Baker be made known by the Bishop Alan Clark of Northampton. Addresses the use of the Tridentine Rite (in use for centuries) which Vatican II has overturned. Defends Fr Baker as an example of unity, veneration and holiness. signature block: Joseph Harley - Dell Cottage, Chideock, Bridport, Dorset manuscript note: "For your Lordship's information, [signed] illegible"
Redemptorist publication "Christian Encounter" - reverse page for local parish notes Page 1 - printed, but proper of Mass crossed out Page 2 - "Topic - Women's Dress in Church" - a description of the nature/style of dress for a woman at Mass. "Strictly and exclusively the complete unchanged traditional Catholic Latin Mass of St Pius V at Downham Market"
An article by Fr Bryan Houghton "This article is not written to prolong the needless controversy but to bring out the real issue which lies behind the differences between Father Baker and his Bishop...."
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