Pages 26-30, decrees and questions

Additional Proofs of John Lilburne

Institution Ceremony, pages 41 - 43

Supplementary Interrogation of Very Reverend Dowling

Correction of Additional Proofs

Brief of Petitioner's Advocate

Decree of Substitution of Tribunal

Decree of Conclusion


Judgement 14 March 2001

Authentication, page 74

John Lilburne's Appeal

Judgement of Appeal Tribunal




against Very Reverend Gerard Dowling
brought by John Lilburne
on 14 November 2000.

The case is introduced before the Judicial Vicar of the "Tribunal of the Catholic Church, Victoria & Tasmania", Australia, the Very Reverend Ian Waters.

The respondent is Very Reverend Gerard Dowling, Dean of Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, which is his domicile.

What is being petitioned? That the respondent receive a penalty for infringing my rights by breaching the following canons:

Canon 230.3
I was instituted to the ministry of lector on 27 February 2000, at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. I made it clear to the respondent that I was an instituted reader and available to read at the Cathedral. This was communicated in three letters and in an interview with the respondent (on 10 August 2000). Despite my being available and regularly attending Mass at the Cathedral I was not permitted to read there (at all, since making myself available by my letter of 4 July 2000). Instead the readings have been done by lay people who had not being instituted to the ministry of lector. According to the canon this should only occur when instituted lectors are lacking - "deficientibus ministris". The respondent did not reply until his letter of 25 October 2000, which made it clear that he intended to continue with not allowing an institued lector to read.

Canon 220
In not allowing me to read, the respondent "damaged unlawfully the good reputation of another person"- myself. As part of the Rite of Institution, Archbishop Pell had publicly prayed that the institued lectors would be "faithful to the work entrusted to them". Those who later saw me at the Cathedral, but not reading, may draw the conclusion that I had not been faithful to the ministry or that the ministry was somehow removed as a penalty for some offense. If I had been allowed to read I would have earned a good reputation from doing so, but this was denied me.

Canon 231.2
I was also thus denied a "decent renumeration" despite the expenses I incurred in "appropriate formation" (required by Canon 231.1) and fulfilled by my studies at Catholic Theological College.

Canon 846.1
The respondent failed to follow the liturgical books which call for the use of instituted readers. As a participant in the liturgy I have the right to have the sacraments celebrated according to these books. Particular instructions from the liturgical books that were not followed by the respondent were:

General Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, n 51: "The reader's ministry, which is conferred through a liturgical rite, must be held in respect. When there are instituted readers available, they are to carry out their office at least on Sundays and major feasts, especially at the principal Mass of the day."

Caeremoniale Episcoporum, n 31: "in celebrationibus, quibus Episcopus praeest, decet lectores rite institutos legere ...". This has been translated as: "in celebrations presided over by the bishop it is fitting that readers formally instituted proclaim the readings".[Footnote 1: Ceremonial of Bishops (Minnesota, Liturgical Press, 1989) page 25.]

General Instruction to the Roman Missal (1975 edition), n 66: "The reader has his own proper function in the eucharistic celebration and should exercise this even though ministers of a higher rank may be present."

Canon 1375
In not allowing me to read, this breached the "freedom of ecclesiastical ministry" which I have as an instituted reader (in accordance with Canon 230.1).

I do not expect the fact that I am an instituted lector to be contested, but if necessary, the testimony of witnesses or Cathedral records could be obtained.

I do not expect the respondent to contest his responsibility for deciding who reads at the Cathedral, but if necessary evidence of this could be presented.

Attached are copies of the correspondence between the respondent and myself, as evidence of the respondent's understanding of the situation and his response to it.


John Lilburne
14 November 2000.



1. Copy of John Lilburne's Letter of 4 July 2000.

2. Copy of John Lilburne's Letter of 14 September 2000.

3. Copy of John Lilburne's Letter of 13 October 2000.

4. Copy of Very Reverend Gerard Dowling's Letter of 25 October 2000.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, revised 2 April 2001. Last updated 3 July 2002.