Leadership models for priestly formation in the Roman Catholic church
Throughout the United States today men who are interested in the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church receive various types of training in formation: spiritual discipline, academic study, socialization, and preparation for a celibate lifestyle. The contemporary world no longer offers a safe haven for priests who before the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) were basically unquestioned in terms of their authority. Therefore, the Church is called to respond to the changing times by implementing new ways of forming men for the ministerial priesthood.
This historical study utilized the documents of the Church concerned with priestly formation along with the theological underpinnings of the Church's teaching. The researcher also incorporated contemporary theories of leadership that parallel the Church's writings and theological bases of the formation process. The study recognized that the valuable information shared by contemporary leadership theorists is one of the ways in which the Roman Catholic Church can effectively respond to the present-day candidate for the priesthood. Therefore, three new models of leadership for priestly information were created.
The data from the study revealed the following findings: (1) The servant leadership model for use in seminary formation bids those entrusted with the work of forming future priests with the responsibility of educating and training candidates in the work of service. (2) The transformational leadership model for use in seminary formation requires that those involved in the work of seminary formation communicate to the seminarian the need to rise above self-interest and personal motives. (3) The spiritual leadership model necessitates that those involved in the work of seminary formation lead the seminarian into discovering the person of Jesus Christ. (4) Involvement of the baptized faithful in the formation process of the seminarian is a necessity for the effectiveness of future ministry among the People of God.
The study recommends that seminary rectors and administrators begin to explore new forms of seminary leadership to meet the needs of the present-day candidate for the priesthood.