About John Lilburne
Bishops and Liturgy
There were two unusual features of the 11.00 am Mass at St
Patrick's cathedral in Melbourne on 22 December 2002.
For the Kyrie Archbishop Hart gave the direction "Please
sit". He has not said that for months. Usually he just sits,
even though the Roman Missal says to stand, and most people follow
him. I usually remain standing, but I sat with the direction
During the hymn after communion we usually sit. This is in
accordance with the Ceremonial of Bishops, n. 166:
"When the bishop returns to the chair after communion,
he puts on the skullcap and, if need be, washes his hands. All
are seated and a period of prayerful silence may follow, or a
song of praise or a psalm may be sung."
At this Mass we were singing "Immaculate Mary, We Praise
God in You". It has the refrain "Ave, ave, ave, Maria"
and nine verses. I think Archbishop Hart stood at about the beginning
of the eight verse and the congregation stood while singing.
Then he seemed to interrupt the nineth verse with "Lets
us Pray" and he sang the Prayer After Communion.
I found it encouraging that Cardinal Arinze's criticisms extended
to bishops, as well as lectors, choir members and priests:
"... He complained that "many bishops and priests
have not adequately studied the texts of the Council," and
as a result changes in the liturgy have often been done improperly.
The 1998 Statement of Conclusions included:
"42. Weaknesses and Correctives. A weakness in
parish liturgical celebrations in Australia is the tendency on
the part of some priests and parishes to make their own changes
to liturgical texts and structures, whether by omissions, by
additions or by substitutions, occasionally even in central texts
such as the Eucharistic Prayer. Practices foreign to the tradition
of the Roman Rite are not to be introduced on the private initiative
of priests, who are ministers and servants, rather than masters
of the sacred Rites (Sacrosanctum Concilium 22 §
3; Instruction Inaestimabile Donum 5). Any unauthorized
changes, while perhaps well-intentioned, are nevertheless seriously
misguided. The bishops of Australia, then, will continue to put
their energy above all into education, while correcting these
abuses individually. Such education and corrective action are
also the effective means for the pastoral care of those at the
parish level who criticize and report the efforts of others,
sometimes justly, but sometimes in a judgmental, selective, ill-informed
and unproductive manner."
Perhaps there is now a clearer appreciation that bishops are
part of the problem in changing the liturgy, not just the priests
By J.R. Lilburne, 23 December 2002. I give what I have
written on this page to the public domain.
"Cardinal Arinze criticises priests who meddle with the
1998 Statement of Conclusions