New wine, old wineskins: is a shortage of priests re-shaping catholic identity in Australia?

PhD Thesis


Ryan, Regina Patricia. 2012. New wine, old wineskins: is a shortage of priests re-shaping catholic identity in Australia? PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

New wine, old wineskins: is a shortage of priests re-shaping catholic identity in Australia?

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorRyan, Regina Patricia
SupervisorLamb, Lara
Lee, Chris
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages361
Year2012
Abstract

The Catholic Church globally is facing a declining number of priests, whose remaining numbers are ageing and for whom there are insufficient seminarians to provide replacements. This thesis seeks to examine the consequence of this situation for Catholic identity in the context of the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba in regional Australia. Such circumstances necessitate new forms of day-to-day leadership in parish faith-communities, especially an increasing reliance upon laypeople to fulfil roles once the domain of clergy. In examining this phenomenon, this thesis draws together anthropological discourse on identity and theological insights into the particular importance of Catholicism’s ordained ministers in an anthropology of theology. In doing so, the liminality of the diocese’s parishioners and their experiences of communitas are identified and examined. Applying the analytical framework of the emerging anthropology of theology to the findings of fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, this work addresses the question ‘Is a shortage of priests re-shaping Catholic identity in Australia?’ concluding that this phenomenon is re-shaping the identity of Toowoomba’s Catholics

Keywordscatholic church; priests; catholic identity; catholic diocese; toowoomba; clergy; declining numbers
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020500405. Religion, society and culture
500402. Comparative religious studies
509999. Other philosophy and religious studies not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Arts
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