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Durham e-Theses
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Who do we think we are?
A study of the self-understandings of priests
in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool

FALLON, CHRISTOPHER,ANTHONY (2013) Who do we think we are?
A study of the self-understandings of priests
in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This mixed-methods study compares the self-understandings of a sample of priests in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool with the findings of an influential study in the United States. It reviews Liverpool's history of expansion and decline which has left fewer and older priests serving fewer active Catholics and an undiminished number who still expect the provision of baptisms, first communions, marriages and funerals. Through interviews, focus groups, a case study, a diary exercise and a survey, the study examines the models of priesthood which the priests adopt, their theological standpoints or views of Catholicity and their personality types and finds complex correlations between these factors. It concludes that the polarity revealed by the American study between the cultic and servant leader models of priesthood is present among this sample of priests, but less sharply and with more complex attitudes to ontological change, hierarchy and theological orthodoxy. It suggests a complex relationship between these models of priesthood and two views of Catholicity: a more world-affirming view commonly associated with Rahner and a more world-judging view commonly associated with von Balthasar. It reports some correlations between model of priesthood, view of Catholicity and personality type as measured by the NEO-FFI personality inventory. It argues that certain factors in the experience of religious order priests serving in parishes may tend to make pastoral ministry less stressful for them than it is for diocesan priests. It reports the priests' views on developments in the Church since the Second Vatican Council, details their hopes and concerns and makes recommendations to address those concerns.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Priest, Priesthood, Catholic, Catholicity, Personality, Liverpool, Servant Leader, Cultic.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Apr 2013 16:00

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