Posted May 11, 2006
Sociologist offers solutions
to growing divide among U.S. priests
MINNEAPOLIS (CNS) -- The priest shortage, generational and cultural gaps and
differences in leadership styles are contributing to a growing divide among
U.S. priests, according to a noted sociologist.
James Davidson, a Purdue
University researcher who studies the sociology of religion, spoke at a
workshop preceding the April 24-27 annual conference of the National
Federation of Priests' Councils. In his talk on "Understanding Divisions,
Building Community," Davidson asked the priests to identify particular
challenges within the priesthood that obstruct their ministries.
included a widening cultural and political divide, power struggles among
fellow priests and between priests and bishops, and differing models of
priesthood. Davidson defined two opposing models of priesthood: cultic,
which sees the priesthood as above the laity, and servant-leader, which
involves more of a team approach with the laity.
"That's where I hear the
greatest clash," he said.