How Bishop Piero Marini, papal master of ceremonies, seems to be at odds with the liturgical books regarding instituted lectors.


About John Lilburne


Letter to Father Dowling of 4 July 2000

Tribunal Case on instituted lectors


0935 K Thu 4 Jul 2002

It was two years ago today that I wrote to Father Gerard Dowling about reading at St Patrick's Cathedral as an instituted lector. I have not been allowed to read there.

Today's lead story on Catholic News highlights how far I have to go with having the rights of instituted lectors -- to read and wear vestments -- recognised.

The article reports:

While North American College takes very seriously the papal request that seminarians wear clerical dress in Rome, when they read at a papal Mass they are told to wear a suit and tie.

It quotes Bishop Piero Marini, papal master of ceremonies,

"The readings are read by lay people. Individual seminaries have rules on how their seminarians are to dress, but in liturgy those who have not yet been ordained to the diaconate are laymen, and they are to dress as laymen."

What happens when a seminarian is an instituted lector? Its a requirement before they are ordained. He does not seem to have an appreciation of the General Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, n. 54:

During the celebration of Mass with a congregation a second priest, a deacon, and an instituted reader must wear the distinctive vestment of their office when they go to the lectern to read the word of God. Those who carry out the ministry of reader just for the occasion or even regularly but without institution may go to the lectern in ordinary attire that is in keeping with local custom.

His search for volunteers seems at odds with the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

101. In the absence of an instituted reader, other lay people may be designated to proclaim the readings from the Sacred Scriptures. ...

With this example from the Vatican perhaps the reaction in Melbourne is not particularly surprising. It is still disappointing, however.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 4 July 2002.

Other sites: "Pool of volunteers helps give universal feel to pope's public Masses" 3 July 2002