Looking to the future: the development of a new partnership between priests and people in the Catholic Church in Scotland

Cullen, Mary Josephine (2017) Looking to the future: the development of a new partnership between priests and people in the Catholic Church in Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

The Second Vatican Council set out a new vision of the ecclesial relationship between ordained and lay people in the Roman Catholic Church within its understanding of the church as the people of God. This is an important issue for the church’s self-understanding and mission; it also has practical implications for the Catholic Church in Scotland as it faces a sharp decline in vocations to the ordained priesthood, raising questions about the relative roles of priests and lay people. Dioceses are developing plans for closing and merging parishes based on projected numbers of priests, in an effort to maintain traditional patterns of church life. This study explored a different approach, based on the development of a partnership between ordained and lay people which reflects the theology of Vatican II. To investigate this possibility, the study drew on research carried out in two Scottish dioceses between 1998 and 2000. It found evidence that a new partnership between priests and people was developing in some parish communities, but it also found that diocesan commitments to collaborative working between ordained and lay were not reflected in the church’s practice and structures. These tensions between commitment and practice, which undermined efforts to create a new partnership, were analysed with the help of Receptive Ecumenism and Catholic Learning, a strategy for ecumenical engagement which addresses tensions in the church’s performance of its vocation by a critical appraisal of its own tradition and openness to the insights of others. By bringing together the experience of those who took part in the archived research with the theology of Receptive Ecumenism and Catholic Learning, the elements of a new ecclesial partnership between ordained and lay were identified. They open up the possibility of a different kind of future for the Catholic Church in Scotland.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Scottish Catholic Church, Ecclesial relationship between ordained and lay people 1998-2000, development of a clerical culture; implementation of the Second Vatican Council, responding to institutional decline, receptive ecumenism and Catholic learning.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Clague, Ms. Julie
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Ms M J Cullen
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-7981
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2017 15:48
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2017 08:33
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7981

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