Who Do We Think We Are?: How Catholic Priests Understand Themselves Today 9780567664327, 9780567656940, 9780567671844, 9780567656957

This empirical study explores how the sampled priests understand their priesthood. Chris A. Fallon reviews Liverpool

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Table of contents :
Cover
Title
Copyright
Contents
Figures
Abbreviations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Personal background
Chapter 1 The historical context for this study
Chapter 2 The evolution and methodology of the project
Chapter 3 Five theories emerging from the qualitative data: interviews, diaries, focus groups and case study
Chapter 4 Confirmatory data from the survey
Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations
Chapter 1: The Historical Context for This Study: A Story of Survival, Revival, Expansion and Decline
Catholics in Lancashire during penal times: Survival or revival?
Industrialization, immigration and expansion
From expansion to decline
The Worlock years
The Kelly years
Conclusion
Chapter 2: The Evolution and Methodology of This Project
Initial research plan
Elements of the research plan
The interviews
The focus groups
The clergy in-service groups
The case study
The diary exercise
Early stages of the research
Changes to the initial research plan
Literature review
Demographic trends and social history of the Catholic community
Recent diocesan strategies in England, France, Holland and North America
Theological context and trends in the theology of ordained ministry
Methodology for qualitative research in practical theology
Previous studies of priests’ perceptions of their ministry
Conclusion
Chapter 3: Five Theories Emerging From the Qualitative Data: Interviews, Diaries, Focus Groups and Case Study
Servant leader and cultic models of priesthood
Words, images or models used to describe priestly ministry
Activities prioritized
Hopes and concerns about the challenges facing priests today
The case study
Views on recent developments in the life of the Church
Complex views of ontology, magisterium and theology
Two views of Catholicity
Personality traits
Religious and diocesan priests
Clarity about charism and mission
Structures of support and accountability
Close relationships with superiors
Collaborative processes for decision making
Frequent changes of responsibility
Communal living
Complex sense of identity
Summary of views on the different experiences of religious and secular Priests
Formation for ministry
Conclusion
Chapter 4: Confirmatory Data from the Survey
Description of survey design and process
Survey Table 1 Background information
Survey Table 2 Models of priesthood
Survey Table 3 Theological worldviews or views of Catholicity
Personality types: NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI)
Distribution and response rate
Seven hypotheses
Description of responses
Models of priesthood
Summary of responses on models of priesthood
Views of Catholicity
Summary of responses on views of Catholicity
Personality types
Summary of personality scores
Correlations and findings
Probability
Servant leader and cultic model correlations
Correlations between models of priesthood and views of Catholicity
Correlations between personality type, models of priesthood and views of Catholicity
Summary of correlations between personality traits, models of priesthood and views of Catholicity
Generational differences
Comparison of priest interviewees’ responses with those of ‘others’
Conclusion
Chapter 5: Conclusions and Recommendations
Summary and discussion of the evidence
Concerns about workload
Concerns about change in society and the Church’s response
Concerns about the experience of the presbyterate in the Archdiocese of Liverpool
Recommendations
Recommendations relating to workload
Recommendations relating to change in society and the Church’s response
Recommendations relating to the experience of the presbyterate in the Archdiocese of Liverpool
Progress towards implementing some of the recommendations
Avenues for further research
Beyond polarization: Getting behind the labels
Appendix 1: Leaving Safe Harbours DVD script
Appendix 2: Leaving Safe Harbours implementation process
Appendix 3: Archbishop Kelly’s address to permanent deacons
Appendix 4: Survey sent to all participants in the study
Bibliography
Index
Recommend Papers

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ECCLESIOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS

Series Editor Gerard Mannion

Volume 22 WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE? HOW CATHOLIC PRIESTS UNDERSTAND THEMSELVES TODAY

Other titles in the series: Receiving ‘The Nature and Mission of the Church’ Christian Community Now Comparative Ecclesiology: Critical Investigations Church and Religious ‘Other’ Ecumenical Ecclesiology Globalization and the Mission of the Church Friendship: Exploring its Implications for the Church in Postmodernity Agreeable Agreement Being Faithful Communion, Diversity and Salvation Dumitru Staniloae: An Ecumenical Ecclesiology

Who Do We Think We Are? How Catholic Priests Understand Themselves Today

Christopher A. Fallon

Bloomsbury T&T Clark An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc LON DON • OX F O R D • N E W YO R K • N E W D E L H I • SY DN EY

Bloomsbury T&T Clark An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc Imprint previously known as T&T Clark 50 Bedford Square London WC1B 3DP UK

1385 Broadway New York NY 10018 USA

www.bloomsbury.com BLOOMSBURY, T&T CLARK and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published 2015 Paperback edition first published 2016 © Christopher A. Fallon, 2015 Christopher A. Fallon has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as Author of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. No responsibility for loss caused to any individual or organization acting on or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by Bloomsbury or the author. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN: HB: 978–0–5676–5694–0 PB: 978–0–5676–7184–4 ePDF: 978–0–5676–5695–7 ePub: 978–0–5676–6258–3 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Fallon, Christopher Anthony. Who do we think we are? : how Catholic priests understand themselves today / Christopher Anthony Fallon. pages cm. -- (Ecclesiological investigations) Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-0-567-65694-0 (hardcover) 1. Priesthood--Catholic Church. 2. Pastoral theology--Catholic Church. I. Title. BX1913.F25 2015 262’.142–dc23 2014031414 Series: Ecclesiological Investigations, volume 22 Typeset by Fakenham Prepress Solutions, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 8NN Printed and bound in Great Britain

This research project has led me to wonder at the depth of generosity and faithfulness in the lives of the priests who have afforded me the privilege of sharing their reflections, their hopes and concerns. It is dedicated to the presbyterate of the Archdiocese of Liverpool, in gratitude for the past, in recognition of the present and in the hope that it may be helpful in facing the uncertain future.

CONTENTS Figuresx Abbreviationsxii Acknowledgementsxiii Introduction1 Personal background 3 Chapter 1 The historical context for this study 5 Chapter 2 The evolution and methodology of the project 7  ive theories emerging from the qualitative data: Chapter 3 F interviews, diaries, focus groups and case study 8 Chapter 4 Confirmatory data from the survey 10 Chapter 5 Conclusions and recommendations 10 Chapter 1 THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT FOR THIS STUDY: A STORY OF SURVIVAL, REVIVAL, EXPANSION AND DECLINE11 Catholics in Lancashire during penal times: Survival or revival? 11 Industrialization, immigration and expansion 16 From expansion to decline 23 The Worlock years 36 The Kelly years 41 Conclusion44 Chapter 2 THE EVOLUTION AND METHODOLOGY OF THIS PROJECT45 Initial research plan 46 Elements of the research plan 48 The interviews 49 The focus groups 51 The clergy in-service groups 52 The case study 53 The diary exercise 54 Early stages of the research 54 Changes to the initial research plan 55 Literature review 56 Demographic trends and social history of the Catholic community57

viii Contents

Recent diocesan strategies in England, France, Holland and North America 59 Theological context and trends in the theology of ordained ministry60 Methodology for qualitative research in practical theology 68 Previous studies of priests’ perceptions of their ministry 71 Conclusion78 Chapter 3 FIVE THEORIES EMERGING FROM THE QUALITATIVE DATA: INTERVIEWS, DIARIES, FOCUS GROUPS AND CASE STUDY79 Servant leader and cultic models of priesthood 80 Words, images or models used to describe priestly ministry 80 Activities prioritized 83 Hopes and concerns about the challenges facing priests today 86 The case study 95 Views on recent developments in the life of the Church 101 Complex views of ontology, magisterium and theology 122 Two views of Catholicity 123 Personality traits 126 Religious and diocesan priests 127 Clarity about charism and mission 128 Structures of support and accountability 130 Close relationships with superiors 132 Collaborative processes for decision making 134 Frequent changes of responsibility 136 Communal living 137 Complex sense of identity 139 Summary of views on the different experiences of religious and secular Priests 142 Formation for ministry 143 Conclusion144 Chapter 4 CONFIRMATORY DATA FROM THE SURVEY145 Description of survey design and process 145 Survey Table 1 Background information 146 Survey Table 2 Models of priesthood 146 Survey Table 3 Theological worldviews or views of Catholicity 148 Personality types: NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) 149 Distribution and response rate 154 Seven hypotheses 155 Description of responses 157 Models of priesthood 157 Summary of responses on models of priesthood 162

Contents

ix

Views of Catholicity 162 Summary of responses on views of Catholicity 167 Personality types 168 Summary of personality scores 173 Correlations and findings 175 Probability175 Servant leader and cultic model correlations 178 Correlations between models of priesthood and views of Catholicity179 Correlations between personality type, models of priesthood 186 and views of Catholicity Summary of correlations between personality traits, models 189 of priesthood and views of Catholicity Generational differences 190 Comparison of priest interviewees’ responses with those of ‘others’192 Conclusion193 Chapter 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS197 Summary and discussion of the evidence 199 Concerns about workload 202 Concerns about change in society and the Church’s response 203 Concerns about the experience of the presbyterate in the Archdiocese of Liverpool 203 Recommendations205 Recommendations relating to workload 207 Recommendations relating to change in society and the Church’s response 207 Recommendations relating to the experience of the presbyterate in the Archdiocese of Liverpool 208 Progress towards implementing some of the recommendations 208 Avenues for further research 210 Beyond polarization: Getting behind the labels 211 Appendix 1 Leaving Safe Harbours DVD script Appendix 2 Leaving Safe Harbours implementation process Appendix 3 Archbishop Kelly’s address to permanent deacons Appendix 4 Survey sent to all participants in the study

215 225 229 233

Bibliography237 Index245

FIGURES 1.1 Growth and decline of Liverpool Archdiocese 1930–2010 1.2 P  opulation changes 2004–2008 in Liverpool, Merseyside, North West England and the UK 1.3 UK Mass attendance estimate A 1.4 UK Mass attendance estimate B 1.5 Mission foundation dates in Liverpool Archdiocese 1.6 Irish-born and other ordinations for Liverpool 1931–1960 1.7 Liverpool Archdiocese priests by age at 1 January 2010

26

2.1 Initial research plan 2.2 Cultic and servant leader models of priesthood in Hoge and Wenger 2.3 Two views of Catholicity

48 61 65

3.1 Two views of Catholicity

28 29 30 31 33 43

123

4.1 Cultic and servant leader models of priesthood, expanded version 147 4.2 Two views of Catholicity 148 4.3 Nettle’s tabulation of the Five-Factor Theory 152 4.4 Ontological status of the priest: man set apart or pastoral leader 158  ntological status of the priest: sees priesthood as a matter of life and 4.5 O being or as a matter of role and function 158  ttitude toward the Church magisterium: values strict hierarchy or 4.6 A values flexible structure 159 4.7 A  ttitude toward the Church magisterium: values vertical accountability or values mutual accountability 159 4.8 Liturgy and devotions: follows established rules or allows creativity 160 4.9 Th  eological perspective: defends ‘orthodoxy’ or allows for theological differences161 4.10 Th  eological perspective: values strict adherence to established expression of faith or values renewal of theological language and understanding161 4.11 A  ttitude towards celibacy: essential to the priesthood or optional for 162 the priesthood 4.12 Grace at work everywhere 163 4.13 World in crisis, Church the ark of salvation 164 4.14 God’s saving work served by all people of goodwill 164 4.15 Explicit Christian witness essential to God’s saving work 165 4.16 Gaudium et Spes expresses heart of Church’s mission 165

Figures

xi

4.17 Gaudium et Spes overly optimistic about human nature and culture 166 4.18 ‘Catholic’ as focused on the world 167 4.19 ‘Catholic’ as conformed to Christ and confronting evil 167 4.20 Neuroticism 169 4.21 Extraversion 170 4.22 Openness to experience 171 4.23 Agreeableness 171 172 4.24 Conscientiousness 4.25 NEO-FFI mean scores 173 4.26 Illustration of probability ratings 176 4.27 Key to probability codes 177 4.28 Internal correlations between aspects of models of priesthood 178 4.29 C  orrelations between models of priesthood and first view of Catholicity179 4.30 Correlations between models of priesthood and second view of Catholicity180 4.31 C  orrelations between means of responses on models of priesthood and views of Catholicity 181 4.32 D  istribution of participants by models of priesthood and views of Catholicity183 4.33 S catterplot of mean positions of participants in relation to model of priesthood and first view of Catholicity 184 4.34 S catterplot of mean positions of participants in relation to model of priesthood and second view of Catholicity 185 4.35 S catterplot of mean positions of participants in relation to model of priesthood and both views of Catholicity 186 4.36 Correlations between personality traits and models of priesthood 187 4.37 Correlations between personality traits and first view of Catholicity 188 4.38 Correlations between personality traits and second view of Catholicity 189 4.39 Correlations between ordination year and models of priesthood 191 4.40 Correlations between ordination year and first view of Catholicity 191 4.41 Correlations between ordination year and second view of Catholicity 192 4.42 C  orrelations between ordination year and mean scores on models of priesthood and views of Catholicity 192 5.1 Cultic and servant leader models of priesthood, expanded version 5.2 Two views of Catholicity 5.3 Nettle’s tabulation of Five-Factor Personality Traits

197 198 198

ABBREVIATIONS CAFOD CATH1 CATH2 DMin EPI EPQ EPQ-R FMS LACE MPI MORI nfpSynergy NEO NEO-FFI NEO PI-R NVIVO p