Department

Leadership

Date of Paper/Work

2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Dissertation

Advisors

Karen Rogers, Sarah Noonan, Massimo Faggioli

Abstract

This qualitative research study examined the lived experiences of fifteen married, Latin Rite, U.S. Catholic priests who were ordained through either the Pastoral Provision or the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The purpose of this study was to understand the unique experiences these men share, differentiated from that of their celibate brethren. Data were collected through semi-structured phone interviews. Questions focused on leadership, celibacy, a priest shortage, the abuse crisis, homosexuality and same-sex attraction in the priesthood, priestly identity, the priest/parishioner relationship, alienation, the Pastoral Provision, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and the roles and effects that married priests might have on the U.S. Catholic Church. Analysis was crafted through the lens of postmodern American culture and role theory, including frames of Collective Consciousness, Complex Religious Systems, Symbolic Interactionism, and Presentation of Self. Themes that emerged were identity, role and career limitation. The more salient findings of this study are that these men are institutionally disadvantaged due to barriers of identity construction and their prescribed roles within the Church, both of which hinder career development within the Latin Rite, U.S. Catholic Church. Married priests tend to fully respect and admire those men called to the priesthood and who have accepted the vow of celibacy. They often struggle with financial hardships, particular to answering the call to the Catholic priesthood while supporting a spouse and family. This study highlights frustration with their limited roles in the Church and the effects those roles have on their identities and careers. Additionally, this study identifies necessary areas of support for this unique cohort of Catholic priests

Keywords

married Catholic priests, Pastoral Provision, Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, priestly celibacy, priestly identity

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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