Monastic regime at Banyo Seminary: an oral and social history of the Pius XII Seminary, Banyo (1941 - 2000)

PhD Thesis

Madden, James John. 2010. Monastic regime at Banyo Seminary: an oral and social history of the Pius XII Seminary, Banyo (1941 - 2000). PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

Monastic regime at Banyo Seminary: an oral and social history of the Pius XII Seminary, Banyo (1941 - 2000)

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorMadden, James John
SupervisorConnors, Libbie
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages402

This history of the Pius XII Provincial Seminary (1941 – 2000), frequently called Banyo, discusses the preparatory training of Catholic priests. In the strict rule-regulated regime of 1941 – 1964, priests trained in a monastic setting for a traditionally cultic role based on the celebration of the Eucharist. In the years 1965 – 2000, following the Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965), Banyo reoriented its training to preparing priests as presbyters or ministers, emphasising their roles in the proclamation of God‘s word and a ministry of service as well as presiding at Eucharistic gatherings. This thesis shows how Erving Goffman‘s construct of a ‗total institution,‘ pervaded the monastic structure of the preparation of priests through the seminary system in the 1941 – 1964 period; it then examines the attempts to modify seminary training for preparing presbyters, an adaptation that destabilised but did not destroy the ‗total institution‘ character of the seminary.

During changing times before Vatican II, the ability of a restrictive seminary system to provide appropriate preparation for cultic priests in the conditions of the local church was questioned. After Vatican II, attempts were made to develop an effective preparation program for the emergent model of presbyter as priest, prophet, and servant leader for the Queensland Church. When the new training program emerged, only a few students benefited.

This research focuses on how students, in the recollection of their seminary experiences, evaluated Banyo‘s spiritual and personal formation, theological education, and preparation for sacramental celebration and pastoral ministries. This information was collected through interviews of former students of Banyo from 1941 to 2000 and supplemented with interviews of priest-lecturers, including rectors, who had been former students, as well as through other oral and documented sources.

While originally the isolated and regulated monastic seminary life with its ‗total institution‘ structure only partly prepared students for the life and work of priests, later efforts to relax this isolated and regulated life and to facilitate closer contact with social and Church life encountered difficulties that became obstacles to the development of more appropriate seminary training. An effective preparation for priestly celibacy was a notable shortcoming in those 60 years.

This research provides information for understanding students‘ experience of the Pius XII Provincial Seminary, one of the most influential and prestigious religious institutions in Queensland. More specifically, the dissertation assists in comprehending their experiences of the institutional life of the seminary and of those who directed the seminary.

KeywordsPius XII Provincial Seminary; Banyo Seminary; Banyo
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020500401. Christian studies
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Arts
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