Judyth Baker ~ Lee Oswald and the Catholic Church problem

Over the past several weeks some of you may have heard that proponents of Judyth Baker's story claim that Ms. Baker was "snookered by a fast-talking British agent whose big talk about a 'million-dollar book' misled her." Furthermore the agent rewrote and added false information to Ms. Baker's manuscript.

This is not unique. When segments of the Roscoe White and James Files' stories concerning their involvement in the assassination were found to be historically inaccurate, some defenders claimed researchers misunderstood or misinterpreted the facts.

To avoid any misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the facts on my part, the following article is based upon specific statements made by Ms. Baker during her Black Op Radio interview of May 13, 2004.

One person in the forefront of the Baker defense is Martin Shackelford. On Feb 10, 2005 Mr. Shackelford made the following claim on the alt.assassination.jfk newsgroup:

"I know what her account was as of 1999--no basic element of it has changed at all."

Once my article "Judyth Baker ~ Lee Oswald and the Catholic Church problem" appeared on my web site he made the following statement:

"Dave has made some errors of interpretation here. First of all, Judyth was NOT a Catholic, one reason her parents pulled her out of a Catholic college when she began talking about becoming a nun. Secondly, by the summer of 1963, she was not religious at all. What was planned was a CIVIL quickie divorce and a marriage. Dave is going on at great length based on false premises."

False premises? I find it ironic that someone who believes "no basic element of [the story] has changed at all" doesn't realize that Ms. Baker's own words contradict Mr. Shackelford's assertions.

On May 13, 2004 Anita Langley and Len Osanic interviewed Judyth Baker on Black Op Radio's program # 171. Just over 18 minutes into part two of the show Baker mentions that Lee Harvey Oswald, when completing his Mexican tourist visa application, listed his religion as Catholic.

At 18:42 she added the following:

"Now the reason I'm talking about his doing that as Catholic - I was a Catholic girl as I've already said and we planned to get quickie divorces with a corrupt priest and go ahead and get married as Catholics."

She had previously discussed her Catholicism at 24 minutes, 14 seconds into part one of the program.

Ms. Baker was discussing her relationship with David Ferrie:

"We were both Catholics. He wanted to be a priest. I wanted to be a nun. We really hit it off."

For someone who was Catholic with aspirations to become a nun, I would have thought Ms. Baker would have a better understanding of her church's religious doctrine concerning marriage.

The Catholic Church does not recognize divorce.

The Catholic Church under very specific circumstances will grant what is known as an annulment.

"An annulment, properly called a Decree of Nullity, is a finding by a Church tribunal that ON THE DAY VOWS WERE EXCHANGED at least some essential element for a valid marriage was lacking, such as, one of the parties did not intend lifelong fidelity to the other person or excluded children entirely."

"Another example would be that one of the parties was incapable of marriage (due to some constitutional weakness, such as mental illness or some psychological condition that prevented making the marital commitment - gross immaturity, homosexuality, etc.)"

"None of these conditions are assumed - they must be proven."

Source: http://www.ewtn.com/

For those who are interested, the web site http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09707a.htm has extensive information on Roman Catholic marriage and annulment policies and procedures.

The following examples are of special significance to the Judyth Baker story:

The Oswalds already had one child (June Lee Oswald, born 02/15/61) and Marina was pregnant at the time with another (Rachel Oswald, born 10/20/63). If a married couple already had small children, an annulment was considered a virtual impossibility.

Clearly a priest, corrupt or otherwise, cannot grant annulments. As shown above, only a church tribunal can grant an annulment and only when the required conditions are proven.

Catholics who wish to be married must have the "Banns of Marriage" announced at Sunday church services on consecutive Sundays.

Banns of Marriage (Lat. bannum, pl. bann-a,-i from an Old English verb, bannan, to summon)

"In general the ecclesiastical announcement of the names of persons contemplating marriage. Its object is to discover any impediments to a proposed marriage; incidentally, it makes known to all duly interested in the latter the fact of its near celebration."

For a detailed discussion see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02255a.htm

And if a priest could actually provide a quickie divorce, what would be the real world outcome?

The priest would be unable to provide paperwork or documentation that a divorce had taken place. And if such a corrupt priest did provide any documentation, the Catholic Church would not accept it as valid. Additionally, the fact that Oswald indicated on his visa application that he was Catholic is not acceptable evidence that he actually was Catholic. The true proof lies in the required Baptismal Certificates that would have to be provided by both Baker and Oswald.

In most parishes, couples intending to marry have to attend pre-marriage counseling sessions often conducted by the priest who is to marry them. Catholics may remember them as "pre-Canna Conferences." Here is an example:

The couple planning for marriage is expected to contact one of the priests at least four months in advance to begin the preparation. No wedding date can be set prior to meeting with him, and no date is final until the preparation is complete. The preparation includes:

A. Meetings with the priest


Instruction in the Faith for non-Catholics

Completion of requisite marriage forms

Wedding ceremony planning

B. "Pre-marital Inventory" (PMI)

C. Preparation Options

"Pre-Canna" or "Engagement Encounter Weekend"

D. Baptismal Certificates

I believe I have shown Baker's claim is not only erroneous but shows flagrant embellishment in a feeble attempt to prove a love affair with Lee Oswald. The fact is that all of Oswald's "Catholic visa" scheming would be useless. If the couple wished to be married, both could apply for a secular divorce. The divorce would have no religious impact on Oswald. Baker, if married without the Catholic Church's knowledge or consent, would be informally excommunicated by the Church making her unfit to receive the sacraments of the church. She would then be free to legally marry Oswald in a civil ceremony. There would never have been the need for such an elaborate plan.

Out of curiosity, I wondered why she came up with the corrupt priest scenario at all. I concluded it somehow related to her alleged meeting with David Ferrie. I returned to Baker's statement that:

"We were both Catholics. He wanted to be a priest. I wanted to be a nun. We really hit it off."

Was Ms. Baker not aware that David Ferrie was already a priest of the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America?

David Ferrie was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on March 28, 1918. Already a Roman Catholic, Ferrie attended St. Mary's Seminary, where he studied for the priesthood. Later, he spent several years at the St. Charles Seminary in Carthagena, Ohio. Ferrie was a self ordained priest of the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America. The true Roman Catholic Church does not recognize that church. In fact the Catholic Church considered the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America a false church and Ferrie therefore a false priest. (See Rev. Anthony Cekada's statement shown below.)

In 1962-1963 David Ferrie made several long distance phone calls from New Orleans to an unlisted number in the 416 area code. This area code was linked to Toronto, Canada.

In 1967, at the request of New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison's office, the Toronto police traced the number to Earl Anglin James, a bishop in the Old Roman Catholic Church of North America,. The true Catholic Church considered the church a heretical sect. Ferrie was apparently an ordained and later defrocked priest of that heretical sect.

On occasion Ferrie has been described as being a "bishop" in the sect. He was not. Very few within the church held the position of bishop. The group's most notably identified bishop was Earl Anglin James.

See the entry under FOURTH LINE OF APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION for June 17, 1945 at:


Baker in the lab at school


by Rev. Anthony Cekada, SSPX

Originally published in The Roman Catholic magazine, 1980

"Let us say that you are a traditional Roman Catholic, and that you come across an advertisement in the paper for a group which claims that they offer the traditional Latin Mass. You notice at the bottom of the ad that the group calls itself "Old Catholic" or "Old Roman Catholic." You are naturally quite puzzled by these terms, but you think that anyone who claims to be "Old" or "Roman" or "Catholic" can't really be too much different from the traditional Catholic priests you know. But, you ask, are they really legitimate Roman Catholics, and can one go to their Masses?

The response a traditional Catholic priest is obliged to give to your question is "No, on both counts." But why, you ask, since they say they stand for all that we do?

Your priest will respond by saying that they are and always have been considered heretics and schismatics by the Catholic Church, and that they pose a grave danger to your soul if you have anything to do with them."

Copyright 2005 by David B. Perry All rights reserved