Interrogation of Very Reverend Michael McKenna (from Acta Processus, In Causa Lilburne - Dowling, 301 00 165, First Instance, Tribunal of the Catholic Church, Victoria and Tasmania, pages 18-21):







Interrogation of Very Reverend Michael Joseph McKenna

The abovenamed witness gave evidence before the Very Reverend Ian B Waters, Judicial Vicar, at Corpus Christi College, Carlton, Victoria on Wednesday, 7th February, 2001 at 3.50 p.m.

1. Do you understand the sacred nature of an Oath? Will you please give evidence under Oath?

Yes. (Oath taken).

2. Please give your name, address, date of birth and present appointment?

Michael Joseph McKenna. I live at Corpus Christi College Carlton Victoria. I was born on the 8th December 1951. I have been the Rector of Corpus Christi College since November 1998.

3. Please explain the current policy with the institution of lectors?

I tender a document, namely that the Institution will not necessarily be in the Seminary Chapel, but a place to be arranged, and that it will not necessarily be at the start of the year, but sometime during the course of the year. However, the document as it is dated 27th October, 1999, was the document in place early last year. A Bishop, not necessarily the Bishop of the candidate, is the Minister of the Ceremony. Last year, the ceremony was at St Patrick's Cathedral because the seminary Chapel had not yet been opened. That use of the Cathedral may continue because of the proximity of the Cathedral to the Seminary. The importance of institution as lector can probably be summed up as: "You have reached a certain stage in your preparation and discernment for Holy Orders. Continue preparing and discerning."

4. What would students be taught prior to this ceremony about the rights and obligations conferred at it?

I tender the proform "Application for Lector" that is used. At the end of 1999, when the group completed the first year programme, they were given the two tendered documents. I do not recall speaking to them about rights. They would have had access to "Ministeria Quaedam", although I would doubt that most of them chased it up. I would have mentioned it when speaking to them beforehand about the history and reform of the Minor Orders.

5. What would a Seminarian be told about the enduring nature of the Ministries should he not proceed to ordination?

That was not a point on which I dwelt.

6. What is the practice or custom with Seminarians from Corpus Christi College as regards a special form of liturgical dress for lectors, both at their institution and when exercising the Ministry of Lector?

At the institution they wear an alb or a soutane and surplice. The group, in negotiation with the Master of Ceremonies makes the choice so that the candidates are uniformly dressed. (The February 2000 group wore albs, from memory). When exercising the ministry in the Seminary Chapel, the only requirement is that they are neatly dressed, i.e. there is no special garb.

7. Would a Corpus Christi College Seminarian believe that institution as a lector gave him any rank or office or position or status or authority or precedence in the Church?

If he did believe that, it would not be on the basis of instruction from the Seminary.

8. Would a Corpus Christi College Seminarian believe that institution as a lector brought about any ontological change in the one instituted?

My answer would be the same as the previous one.

9. Is there anything else you would like to say?


Corpus Christi College


M.J. McKenna

7th February, 2001

I.B. Waters

[Page 20, the first document tendered:]

Lector, Acolyte, Candidate

The Trustees have decided on the following program for these important steps on the way to ordination. They are designed to benefit the seminarian, the seminary community and the local churches.

That Lector be conferred, in the Seminary Chapel, at the beginning of second year.

The completion of the first year program and the entry into full-scale Seminary life is an important step in the seminarian's descernment and formation. He will have begun his serious study of the Bible and been immersed in the Liturgy of the Hours and Lectio Divina. The movement of invitation and response in his relationship with the Word of God, particularly in the Ignatian retreat which concludes the first year, makes him well prepared to take this step and well prepared to received and exercise this ministry.

That Acolyte be conferred, in the Seminary Chapel, at the beginning of the Pastoral Year.

This ceremony commissions the seminarian embarking on full time pastoral placement. Its proclamation of the eucharist as the source and summit of the Church's life draws attention both to the immediate ecclesial service into which the seminarian is being sent and the orientation towards priestly ordination within which that is being done.

That Candidacy be conferred towards the end of the Pastoral year, in the parish which the seminarian has been serving.

This emphasises the new, public phase of the seminarian's formation and discernment. It is an opportunity to explicate the part played by the parish in the candidate's preparation and call; a reminder that ordination will be for a particular diocese; and an opportunity for the promotion of vocations to priesthood.

M J McKenna


27 October 99

[Page 21, the second document tendered:]


Corpus Christi College




I hereby freely apply for the Minstry of Lector. I appreciate that this step obliges me to nourish my life constantly with the Word of God, so that I may proclaim Jesus Christ effectively to others.

Yours sincerely


[The college letter head includes the college crest, address, phone numbers and facsimile numbers.]

Copyright J.R. Lilburne 8 Oct 2001. Last updated 3 January 2002.