The physician as priest, revisited

David Barnard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Despite much resistance from the medical profession, the notion persists in our culture that the physician plays a priestly role. Medical resistance must be taken seriously. It stems from legitimate concerns that the priestly role implies an unwelcome broadening of medical responsibilities, expectations of moral expertise, and being on the receiving end of people's most intense existential hopes. On the other hand, the nature of illness and healing makes it inevitable that physicians will take on ministerial functions in their medical work. This essay attempts to recover the notion of the physician as priest on the basis of theological and religious reflection on the nature of ministry and pastoral care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-286
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Religion & Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Religious studies


Dive into the research topics of 'The physician as priest, revisited'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this