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Magisteri Um and Psyche

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image of Journal of Empirical Theology

This exploratory study investigated the relative emphasis on formation directives and developmental psychology of young adulthood, in the thinking of seminary faculty about certain aspects of the education of candidates for the priesthood. The respondents held faculty appointments in Roman Catholic major seminaries in North America. As basis for the survey instrument the following elements were used: 1) a content analysis of Church documents on the formation of priests, and 2) literature of male psychodynamic developmental theory and psychopathology. The study focused on two key male developmental needs which seemed most likely to conflict with seminary formation activities: 1) intimacy/sexuality, and 2) autonomy/mastery. Selected by cluster sampling, 124 respondents (N=124) from 39 theological institutes participated in this study. Analysis of the data, using Factor Analysis and Multiple Analysis of Variance (MANOVA), showed a valuing among the respondents of religious sublimations for intimacy/sexuality and autonomy/mastery, as handed down by the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. In addition to this 'traditional-religious' factor, the research showed varying degrees of psychological awareness among the respondents with regard to 'personal and ministerial integration' within the candidate for the priesthood. This awareness was significantly greater in seminary faculty with some training in psychology.


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