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February 2, 1970

Medicine and ReligionAn Overview

Author Affiliations

From the Catholic Student Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.

JAMA. 1970;211(5):815-817. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170050049011

The respective professions, medicine and religion, are so distinct from one another that in the past they have been sometimes mutually incommunicative. This has warranted an American Medical Association department designed specifically to promote mutual understanding.

And yet both professions are deeply concerned with the welfare of the sick, and thus meet in the object of our solicitudes. Moreover, we share certain characteristics in common—certain professional mantles, if you will. And how we bear them very much affects ourselves, and consequently our relationships with each other, and hence our relationships with the patient.

To enumerate some of these common characteristics, let me point out that together we share a position of privilege in society and a hierarchy of service. Each of the professions has a moral code and a dogmatic turn of mind. Each of us, with our colleagues, has a responsibility for protecting and enriching the lives of others.