A study of the "resigned" priest from the perspective of Levinson's psychosocial theory of adult development
Tramonte, Michael R.
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This qualitative study investigated the reasons why American priests resigned their ministries. Two separate analytical lenses were used. One lens included a thematic analysis of reasons for resignation, and a second lens involved a developmental study of the men applying Levinson's psychosocial theory of adult development. Regarding the developmental analysis, the intent of this study was not to confirm or refute Levinson's theory but to understand the development of the sixteen men by applying his theory. Nevertheless, the results of the developmental analysis seemed to support Levinson's postulation of alternating structure-building and structure-changing periods but appeared to question his construct of age-linked periods especially for men in middle adulthood. Although this study supported his reported developmental tasks, it found that the men in the study dealt with some of them at a later age than postulated. Consequently, the writer concluded that Levinson's theory may need to be modified when applying it to men who have committed themselves to a Catholic professional religious life-style. The men developed differently than Levinson's sample because of the unique structure of the institutional Church and priesthood that seemed to delay the men's attainment of responsibility and independence. Several implications and recommendations for further research were suggested. [TRUNCATED]
Dissertation (Ed.D.)--Boston University, 1986
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The following third party content was reprinted with permission from the publisher: "Specimen of Rescript of Laicization" from Canon Law Digest, volume IX, pp. 99-101.