A study of organisational climates and patterns of participative style in seven parish councils : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
Even to the casual observer, there is evidence that, in the last ten to twelve years, the Catholic Church has undergone and is undergoing a process of rapid and considerable change. While there is clearly a basis of continuing belief and unchanged "essentials", the Catholic Church now experiences new forms of theology, new attitudes, new expressions of authority, new styles of worship, new teaching methods; and among the fruits of this change has been the growth of new forms of shared responsibility. In a society accustomed to a vigorous and vertical rule of law, the emergence or re-emergence of such bodies as the College of Bishops, Diocesan Councils, Priests Senates and the Parish Pastoral Councils has produced new possibilities - and naturally enough, new problems. It would be misleading to suggest that the existence of these bodies amounts to a total democratisation of the Church, but the change from single to shared responsibility in many fields is a significant reality and one which provides a fascinating field of research for the social scientist. It is the purpose of this thesis, therefore, to examine one of these new bodies, the Parish Pastoral Council, to assess, through objective research, some of its possibilities and some of its problems.