Proofs of John Lilburne in Causa: Lilburne-Dowling 301 00 165
In response to the question "Is there anything else you
would like to add?", Most Reverend Hart stated, "It
has been the practice of this Archdiocese of Melbourne only to
have instituted lectors who are transitional."
Here I believe he identifies the key issue in this case: the
practice in this Archdiocese towards instituted readers. The
interrogations of Very Reverend McKenna, Very Reverend Dowling,
and Most Reverend Hart reveal how the practice towards instituted
readers differs from that in Canon law and liturgical law.
Two main issues emerge about instituted readers:
Is it permanent?
Does it give a rank, office or precedence in the Church?
Some instituted readers are ordained as deacons. In this sense
the ministry of instituted reader can be transitional.
However Church documents emphasize the permanence of this
ministry, as opposed to it being a temporary appointment. I have
used bold type to highlight where this occurs in the following
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition (St Pauls,
Strathfield NSW, 2000, page 239), n 903:
Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted
permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte. [Footnote
436: Cf. CIC, can. 230.1]. "When the necessity of the Church
warrants it and when ministers are lacking, lay persons, even
if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply for certain
of their offices, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word,
to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer Baptism, and to
distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of
law." [Footnote 437: CIC, can. 230.3].
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1671: "Certain blessings
have a lasting importance because they consecrate
persons to God, or reserve objects and places for liturgical
use. Among those blessings which are intended for persons - not
to be confused with sacramental ordination - are the blessing
of the abbott or abbess of a monastery, the consecration of virgins
and widows, the rite of religious profession and the blessing
of certain ministries of the Church (readers, acolytes,
Ceremonial of Bishops, 790 "Unless they have already
done so, candidates for ordination are to receive these ministries
...". The permanent nature of institution is clear, since
it is not to performed on someone a second time.
Canon 1050, 3°: "for those to be promoted to the
diaconate, certificates of the reception of baptism, of confirmation
and of the ministries mentioned in Canon 1035."[Footnote
1: The Code of Canon Law - New Revised English Translation, (Harper
Collins, London, 1997) 235.] This indicates that there should
be a certificate for the institution of a reader, emphasizing
Canon 230.1: "Lay men whose age and talents meet the
requirements prescribed by decree of the Bishops' Conference,
can be given the stable ministry of lector and of acolyte
...".[Footnote 2: ibid, 49.]
The Rite of Institution of Readers, n 5: "Then all stand,
and the bishop, without his miter, invites the people to pray:
Brothers and sisters, let us ask God our Father to bless these
servants who have been chosen for the ministry of reader. Let
us pray that they may be faithful to the work entrusted
to them ...".
The Most Reverend Hart stated, "It has been the practice
of this Archdiocese of Melbourne only to have instituted lectors
who are transitional." It raises the question of what happens
to someone like me, an instituted lector, who is no longer in
transition to the priesthood. Will the archdiocese no longer
"have me"? Am I to be exiled, excommunicated, or executed?!
Or am I no longer to be regarded as an instituted reader, since
the archdiocese does not have them? What would happen if a so
called"permanent instituted reader" were to come into
the diocese from elsewhere? Would he be stopped at the border!
It seems that the "practice" has been not to recognize
them, which is an illegal practice. It is as if a diocese could
decide whether or not to have instituted readers. But Pope Paul
VI's Motu Proprio Ministeria quaedam, n IV is clear on
this point: "Two ministries, adapted to present-day needs,
are to be preserved in the whole Latin Church, namely, those
of reader and acolyte."[Footnote 3: Documents on the Liturgy
(Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982) page 909, n 2929.]
The Very Reverend Dowling replied to Question 6 "I must
be honest and say that I wondered whether his exclusion from
the Seminary would be a bar to his reading here at the Cathedral."
It is as if the ministry of instituted reader were considered
as reserved to candidates for the sacrament of orders. Yet Pope
Paul VI wrote in the opposite in the Motu Proprio Ministeria
quaedam, n III: "Ministries may be assigned to lay Christians;
hence they are no longer to be considered as reserved to candidates
for the sacrament of orders." [Footnote 4: Documents on
the Liturgy (Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982) page 909, n 2928.]
Rank, Office or Precedence?
Very Reverend McKenna .... Question 7 is particularly interesting:
"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."
His answer casts doubt on the rank, office and precedence
that the Church gives instituted lectors. He seems to think that
believing that an instituted reader has a rank, office, position,
status, authority or precedence in the Church is a false belief,
one that would not be based on the Seminary's instruction. In
fact, the following Church documents emphasize the rank, office
and precedence of instituted readers. Again I have used bold
text to highlight this.
Rite of Institution, the Bishop's homily: "As readers
and bearers of God's word, you will assist in this mission, and
so take on a special office within the Christian community;"
[Footnote 5: The Rites, Volume 2 (Liturgical Press, Minnesota,
1991) 104. Enclosed is a document I received at the seminary
before institution, which includes this homily.]
Motu Proprio Ministeria quaedam, first paragraph: "The
conferring of these functions often took place by a special rite,
in which, after God's blessing had been implored, a Christian
was established in a special class or rank for the fulfillment
of some ecclesiastical function." [Footnote 6: Documents
on the Liturgy (Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982) page 908,
n 2922.] The ministries are described as "offices"
throughout this document.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, n 903.
General Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass, n 51 and
General Instruction to the Roman Missal (1975) n 66.
Instruction, In ecclesiasticam futurorum sacerdotum, On
Liturgical Formation in Seminaries, 3 June 1979, (Sacred Congregation
of Catholic Education), n 13:
The seminarians should have concrete experience of the mystery
of the Church as hierarchical, namely, as having an ordered variety
of members and distinct ministries. To this purpose it is helpful
that in the seminary there be deacons, acolytes, and readers
who are imbued with the spirituality of their own offices
and who exercise their ministries in the liturgical services.
Thus the proper office of the ministerial priesthood will be
clear to all the students, as well as the offices of deacon,
reader and acolyte. [Footnote 7: Documents on the Liturgy (Liturgical
Press, Minnesota, 1982) page 877, n 2792.]
General Introduction to the Book of Blessings, n 18(d) "An
acolyte or a reader who by formal institution has
this special office in the Church in rightly preferred over another
layperson as the minister designated at the discretion of the
local Ordinary to impart certain blessings." [Footnote 8:
Book of Blessings (Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1989) page xxviii.]
This text in Latin is: "Acolythis atque lectoribus,
qui peculiari munere in Ecclesia e collata ipsius institutione
funguntur, facultas quasdam benedictiones impertiendi iure prae
ceteris laicis tribuitur, de iudicio Ordinarii loci." [Footnote
9: Rituale Romanum - De Benedictionibus (Liberia Editrice Vaticana,
Vatican City, 1993) page 14.]
Ceremonial of Bishops, n 31:
The office of reader was historically the first of the lesser
ministries to emerge. This office exists in all the Churches
and has never disappeared. Readers receive institution for an
office proper to them: to proclaim the word of God in the liturgical
assembly. Hence at mass and in other rites of the liturgy readers
proclaim the readings other than the gospel reading. When there
is no cantor of the psalm present, the reader also leads the
assembly in the responsorial psalm; when no deacon is present,
the reader announces the intentions of the general intercessions.
Whenever necessary, the reader should see to the preparation
of any members of the faithful who may be appointed to proclaim
the readings from Sacred Scripture in liturgical celebrations.
But in celebrations presided over by the bishop it is fitting
that readers formally instituted proclaim the readings and,
if several readers are present, they should divide the readings
accordingly. [Footnote 10: Ceremonial of Bishops (Liturgical
Press, Minnesota, 1989) p 25. The Latin text is in Caeremoniale
Episcoporum [Liberia Edritrice Vaticana, Vatican City, 1995)
Ceremonial of Bishops, n 794:
I. INSTITUTION OF READERS
794. The reader is appointed for a function proper to him,
that of reading the word of God in the liturgical assembly. Accordingly,
he is to proclaim the readings from Sacred Scripture, except
for the gospel reading in the Mass and other sacred celebrations.
[Footnote 123: See MQ, no. V: DOL, no. 2930.]
In addition the reader is entrusted with the special office
of instructing children and adults in the faith and of preparing
them to receive the sacraments worthily. [Footnote 124: See The
Roman Pontifical, Part II. Institution of Readers and Acolytes,
ch. 5, Institution of Readers (hereafter, IR), no. 4, the bishop's
words concluding his homily.] [Footnote 11: Ceremonial of Bishops
(Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1989) p 219. The Latin text is
in Caeremoniale Episcoporum [Liberia Edritrice Vaticana,
Vatican City, 1995) 184.]
Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest,
n 30 (Congregation for Divine Worship, 2 June 1988):
In the absence of both a priest and a deacon, the pastor is
to appoint laypersons, who are to be entrusted with the care
of these celebrations, namely with leading the prayers, with
the ministry of the word and with giving holy communion.
Those to be chosen first by the pastor are readers
and acolytes who have been duly instituted for the service of
the altar and of the word of God. If there are no such instituted
ministers available, other laypersons, both men and women,
may be appointed; they can carry out this responsibility in virtue
of their baptism and confirmation. [Footnote 25: See CIC, can.
230, 3.] [Footnote 12: Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the
Absence of the Priest (United States Catholic Conference, Washington,
Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration
of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests,
The non-ordained faithful may be generically designated 'extraordinary
ministers' when deputed by competent authority to discharge,
solely by way of supply, those offices mentioned in Canon 230.3
[Footnote 56: Cf. Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation
of the Code of Canon Law, Response (1 June 1988): AAS 80 (1988),
p. 1373.] and in Canons 943 and 1112. Naturally, the concrete
term may be applied to those to whom functions are canonically
entrusted e.g. catechists, acolytes, lectors etc. [Footnote
13: Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration
of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests
(St Pauls, Strathfield NSW, 1997) 26.]
General Instruction to the Roman Missal (2000), n 101: "In
the absence of an instituted reader, other lay people may be
designated to proclaim the readings from the Sacred Scriptures."
[Footnote 14: Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani July
2000 - An English Language Study Translation by the Secretariate
for the Liturgy of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops
(Washington, 2000) 22.] The Latin text is: "Deficiente lectore
instituto, alii laici deputentur ad proferendas lectiones sacrae
Scripturae ..." [Footnote 15: Institutio Generalis
(Liberia Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City, 2000) 40.] . This document
retains the instructions of the 1975 General Instruction to the
Roman Missal, regarding the reader being in the entrance procession
and sitting in the sanctuary. (What was in 148 - 149 is now in
So returning to the question, "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?" The documents above show the
rank, office and precedence that an instituted lector should
have in the Church. From these it follows that there would be
position, status and authority. If seminarians did not believe
this, it would be wrong for them to be instituted, since they
would not understand their role as instituted readers.
Status of the Third Edition of the Roman
Missal and Ceremonial of Bishops
I think it is important that the status of the Caeremoniale
Episcoporum be clarified. Questions were asked about it in
the interrogations of Very Reverend Dowling and Most Reverend
Hart. Confusion could arise from the Media Release of 7 August
2000 (copy attached) about the General Instruction to the Roman
The current General Instruction remains the authoritative
text, until the translation of this third edition for the English
speaking world has been approved by the Australian Catholic Bishops
Conference and then confirmed by the Vatican's Congregation for
Divine Worship and the Sacraments.
The National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States
Catholic Conference Committee on the Liturgy, in the November
2000 Newsletter (enclosed) included part of a letter from Archbishop
Tamburrino, Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for Divine
Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. He wrote:
the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of
the Sacraments would wish to raise an additional point of clarification
occasioned by the impression given by some statements of a largely
informal character diffused by a number of Conferences of Bishops.
Anticipating the length of time the printing operation might
take, the Congregation resolved to issue in extract the text
of the Institutio Generalis to permit the Bishops to begin
preparation of accurate translations of it into the liturgically
approved languages and the appropriate formation of the clergy
and catechesis of the faithful.
The Institutio Generalis will have force of law at
the moment when the promulgation of the above mentioned edition
of the Missale Romanum appears in its third Latin edition
along with the promulgating decree, any vacatio legis
being specified at that time. It now appears that by the time
of publication any part of the vacatio legis will still
be unexpired. ...
the provisions of the new Institutio Generalis in themselves
have immediate effect as of the date of publication of the full
Missal. They are, consequently, not dependent upon the decisions
of the diocesan Bishop nor the Conference of Bishops. ...
The point is that Church law is not dependent on a local translation
being made by the Conference of Bishops. To the best of my knowledge,
having systematically searched through Notitiae last year,
there are not yet approved translations, for Australia, of De
Benedictionibus (the Book of Blessings) or of Caeremoniale
Episcoporum (the Ceremonial of Bishops). Despite this, they
are universal Church law, both having been promulgated in Latin
in 1984, and are to be followed, in accordance with Canon 846.
When the new Roman Missal will be published is unclear. The
Newsletter of September-October 2000 (enclosed) included a speech
by Archbishop Lipscomb where he said "As we await the imminent
publication of the Missale Romanum, edito typica teritia ...."
(page 39). But on the next page of the same publication it has:
"The Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (General
Instruction) becomes universal law of the Church upon its
publication as part of the Missale Romanum (in Latin).
This publication is expected shortly after NCCB consideration
of the revised Appendix to the General Instruction in
Since the Institutio Generalis has been published for
"formation of the clergy and catechesis of the faithful",
it would also seem appropriate that it be taken into account
regarding the role of instituted readers.
My Status as an Instituted Reader
Some of the responses seem to raise uncertainties about whether
I continue to be an instituted reader, since I am no longer a
seminarian. Here I am thinking of Very Reverend McKenna Q5, Very
Reverend Dowling Q6, and Most Reverend Hart Q10.
I want to emphasize, therefore, that my understanding for
the institution was that I it was a ministry I was taking on
for life, that it was no dependent on me being ordained. I believe
the words of the application letter tendered by Very Reverend
McKenna support this understanding: "I appreciate that this
step obliges me to nourish my life constantly with the Word of
Valid reasons for preventing me from functioning as an instituted
reader would be for the penalties of excommunication (in accordance
with Canon 1331), interdiction (Canon 1332), or as a penalty
in accordance with Canon 1336 (where an offender can be punished
with "deprivation of power, office, function, right...").
I would like to have recorded in the evidence the fact that
I functioned as an instituted reader (wearing vestments, in the
entrance procession, and doing one of the readings) for the Mass
at Catholic Theological College on 9 November 2000. Archbishop
Pell was the Celebrant and Reverend Portelli the Master of Ceremonies,
but they made no objection to me reading in this way.
The Readers at the Cathedral
The system of rostered readers at the Cathedral does not seem
to have been rigidly adhered to. Readers from the Seminary were
used for the Mass at which they were instituted on Sunday 27
February 2000, which was organized at fairly short notice. According
to Kairos (28 May - 4 June 2000), page 21:
Show business personality, Bert Newton, will take to the stage
of a different kind on Sunday, 28 May - the sanctuary of St Patrick's
Cathedral. Bert, presently appearing in a leading role in the
musical 'The Sound of Music', will be one of the readers at the
special Mass to mark World Communications Day. Others to assist
in the 11.00 am Mass will be actors Bud Tingwell, Patricia Kennedy
and other media persons who will take part in the Offertory Procession.
The Kairos of 11 - 18 June 2000, page 5, had a picture of
Patricia Kennedy at the lectern with the report:
The 34th World Communications Sunday was celebrated in the
Archdiocese of Melbourne on Sunday 28 May at St Patrick's Cathedral.
In what was an initiative of the Dean, Fr Gerard Dowling and
his committee, members of the Catholic media came together in
a first of what is planned to be an annual event.
I also recall Eddie McGuire reading for the Footballer's Mass,
which I believe took place on Sunday 27 August 2000. So it seems
that when it was considered important, the roster was changed.
But the right of an instituted reader to read was either not
considered important enough, or it was deliberately opposed.
To the best of my knowledge none of the rostered readers are
instituted readers. Some of the readers are women, who cannot
be instituted as readers. The readers hardly ever wear vestments
- the only two exceptions to this I can recall are at the Mass
when the readers were instituted on 27 February 2000 and a Mass
at which Monsignor Elliott was the celebrant.
The Practice of Instituted Readers as Altar
In the past year, instituted readers from Corpus Christi College
have been frequently used in the Cathedral as altar servers.
But despite them clearly being available to read, this has been
done by those who are not instituted readers, who do not wear
vestments. I see this as a further breach of my rights under
Canon 846, that the liturgical books be faithfully observed.
Specific recent cases of this I observed were with Fabian Smith
at the 11.00 am Mass on Sunday 21 January 2001 (at which Very
Reverend Dowling was the celebrant) and Peter Damien McKinley
at the 11.00 am Mass on Sunday 28 January 2001 (at which Very
Reverend Dowling was a concelebrant).
Proposed Questions to Very Reverend Dowling
Very Reverend Waters, in his letter of 13 February 2001 responded
to suggested questions being put to Very Reverend Dowling. While
some of my evidence above discusses issues I raised in QQ 8-10,
I do not insist that they be put to him, leaving that decision
to Very Reverend Waters.
I will point out the ongoing nature of this issue. I continue
to regard myself as being available to read at the Cathedral,
having made myself available by my letter of 4 July 2000. To
date, I have not been permitted to read there, which I attribute
to Very Reverend Dowling.
[Signed] John Lilburne
23 February 2001
A document I received at the seminary before institution,
which includes the homily for the Institution of Readers.
Letter from Bishop Manning, 10 August 2000, with Media Release
of 7 August 2000.
Newsletter of November 2000, of National Conference of Catholic
Bishops/United States Catholic Conference Committee on the Liturgy.
Newsletter of September-October 2000
Kairos (28 May - 4 June 2000), page 21
Kairos of (11 - 18 June 2000), page 5
I have the following books. I intend to leave these with the
Tribunal, but this may be impractical. I could bring them in
if there were any questions about them.
Documents on the Liturgy (Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1982)
Book of Blessings (Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1989)
Rituale Romanum - De Benedictionibus (Liberia Editrice
Vaticana, Vatican City, 1993)
Ceremonial of Bishops (Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1989)
Caeremoniale Episcoporum (Liberia Edritrice Vaticana,
Vatican City, 1995)
Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of the Priest
(United States Catholic Conference, Washington, 1988)
Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration
of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priests
(St Pauls, Strathfield NSW, 1997)
Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani July 2000 - An
English Language Study Translation by the Secretariate for the
Liturgy of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (Washington,
Institutio Generalis (Liberia Editrice Vaticana, Vatican
[This correction is from page 48 of the Acts]:
Correction to Additional Proofs of John Lilburne
in Causa: Lilburne-Dowling 301 00 165
Today I saw Peter-Damien McKinley instituted as a reader at
St Patrick's Cathedral, at the 11.00 am Mass. So I was incorrect
in believing he had already been instituted. Hence I was wrong
in writing in my Additional Proofs, page 9, that a case of an
instituted reader not reading when he was available was: "Peter
Damien McKinley at the 11.00 am Mass on Sunday 28 January 2001".
My belief that Peter Damien was an instituted reader was mistaken.
It was based on him being a seminarian, who was senior to those
in second year. It had been the intention to institute such seminarians
last year, as indicated by the document submitted by Very Reverend
McKenna. It now seems to me that Peter Damien was not available
for the institution ceremony on 27 February 2000.
I regret this mistake in my evidence, and request that this
correction be added to the Acts of the case.
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, revised 2 April 2001. Last
updated 16 October 2001.
Sunday 25 February 2001.