Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Counseling

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology | Psychology


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Counseling and Educational Psychology

Thesis Adviser

Estesa Xaris Que Legaspi

Defense Panel Chair

Aime T. Guarino

Defense Panel Member

Maria Cristina E. Saldivar
Washington C. Garcia


This study explored the experience of role transition in the lives of former Diocesan priests in Mainland China. Twelve participants of the study were within the age bracket of 35 to 55 and came from different dioceses in Mainland China. This study employed qualitative case study design and data were collected using in-depth interview. Thematic analysis method was applied for data analysis. A cross analysis among cases was employed to attain a clearer understanding of the role transition experience of former Chinese diocesan priests. A number of areas were explored such as motivations for becoming a priest, experience from being a lay to becoming a priest, reasons for leaving the ministerial priesthood, experiences after they left the ministerial priesthood and coping strategies they used for adapting to a new role in life.

Findings of this study reveal that the reason for Chinese diocesan priests to leave the ministerial priesthood is not caused by one single factor, but rather a combination of many factors including their improper motivation for becoming a priest, their experience of unstandardized formation in the seminary, challenges related to their pastoral ministry and personal issues. Prominent challenges encountered by former Chinese diocesan priests are loss of privileges, having difficulties to cope with the negative reaction from the Church members, feeling inadequate to cope with unexpected changes, lacking professional skills and knowledge to develop an interesting career. However, their supportive social network, strong religious faith, good personality and positive attitudes helped them in coping with the challenges and difficulties associated with the role transition.

Abstract Format






Accession Number



Catholic ex-priests—China—Psychology; Catholic ex-priests—China—Social conditions

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