About John Lilburne


Cardinal Pell

The man who instituted me as a lector, George Pell, has been made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

In his Sunday Telegraph column he wrote about the office of cardinal:

"The role of cardinal is not based in the Scriptures, like the offices of bishop and priests (or presbyters) are. It is a creation of the Church and it could be adapted or indeed abolished by the Pope. The Church could never abolish the offices of pope, or priest, or bishop."

I agree and I think the same can be said of the role of instituted lector and instituted acolyte. My concern is that many act as though these offices have been abolished, when they have not been.

At his press conference on 21 October Cardinal Pell spoke about the translation of the Roman Missal:
´"... it's my ambition that I still will produce beautiful and faithful translations of the Roman Missal and I hoped we'll have translation of the Roman Missal closer to two years rather than three or four or five."

There is more about this from the Vox Clara committee which he chairs. According to a press release of 21 November 2003:

"... The Committee, likewise, made numerous recommendations to the Congregation in regard to specific strategies by which all parties might focus more closely on the completion of the Roman Missal for the English speaking world. These strategies involved processes for the review of translations of the Roman Missal in segments by Conferences of Bishops and the Holy See, the development of explanatory materials, the timetable for the completion of the Roman Missal, and the relationship of the Roman Missal to other ICEL projects."

This is welcome news. But what is to happen for the years until there is a translation? Forty years ago the Second Vatican Council said: "when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration ...". Which laws are to be observed? According to the Code of Canon law, 846: "The liturgical books, approved by the competent authority, are to be faithfully followed in the celebration of the sacraments. ...". The approved book is the 2002 Roman Missal.

There is an interesting letter in the November Bulletin at adoremus.org. A couple believe they should follow the 2002 Roman Missal and stand to say: "May the Lord accept the sacrifice ...". However their bishop said not to do this until the first Sunday of Advent. A response to the letter is that the Roman Missal says to stand, but:

"... diocesan bishops are allowed reasonable discretion as to the date these new rules are put into effect in their dioceses, in order give them time to prepare the people for the changes."

I am not aware of anything that justifies this. The Code of Canon Law and Roman Missal make it clear that a diocesan bishop does not have the authority to change the posture.

Julian Porter was ordained as a bishop earlier this year and is now on the Australian Catholic Bishop's Conference Liturgy Committee. He is the rector at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd. According to the web site :

"The Ministry of Lector is offered to seminarians in their first year of formation within the Seminary of the Good Shepherd. The installation into the ministry is celebrated by a bishop during the second semester.

The Ministry of Acolyte is offered to seminarians in their second year of formation within the seminary community. The installation into the ministry is celebrated by a bishop during the second semester."

I hope that in his new position he tries to have these ministries respected. I hope he recognises the damage that will be done to the seminarian's formation if these ceremonies are treated as meaningless.

By J.R. Lilburne, 3 December 2003. I give what I have written on this page to the public domain.

Other sites:

Sunday Telegraph Column of 5 October 2003

Vox Clara Press Release of 21 November 2003

Cardinal Pell's Press Conference of 21 October 2003