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Pastoral Medicine
(1,831 words)

1. Origin and history. This vague expression, coined approximately a century ago, needs to be defined, chiefly because medicine over the past century has reached the level of a methodical science. All the older material is outdated and of interest now only for historians and ethnologists. The figure of the priest-doctor found at the beginning of the development was a result of the conviction that man in his birth (heredity) and death was especially subject to higher powers, which even medicine had …

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Werner Schöllgen, “Pastoral Medicine”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 30 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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