Leadership Styles in Catholic Parishes Headed by Married Deacons and Lay Men

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Mon, 01/01/1996

In recent years, Roman Catholic lay persons have been appointed to administer parishes without resident priests. With the assistance of funding from the Lilly Endowment, George Washington University sociologist Ruth Wallace conducted a pioneering study of this growing phenomenon. Dr. Wallace reported the results of her research on female parish administrators in her widely acclaimed 1992 book, They Call Her Pastor. Now, with additional funding from the Lilly Endowment, Dr. Wallace has launched a study of Catholic parishes headed by married deacons and lay men. During 1996 and 1997, she visited twenty such parishes and interviewed administrators, their families, priests, bishops and parishioners. Some of her findings are presented in her paper entitled, "The Rectory as "Home": An Expansion of Goffman's Regional Concepts," delivered at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion in November of 1997. In the future, Dr. Wallace plans to present the results of her research more fully in a book accessible to a wider audience.