Hospital Chaplains

By Kevin Dowling with contributions from Will Yetvin

Throughout America, there is a new recognition, on the part of many, of the concept that man is a whole being. He is physical, he is spiritual, he is mortal, and he is social in his total health…. The faith of the individual patient is a vital factor in total health. The patient must be treated and cared for within the scope of that faith….
—Paul McCleave, Director of the American Medical Association's Department of Medicine and Religion

 The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a chaplain as “a priest or other Christian religious leader who performs religious services for military group (such as the army) or for a prison, hospital, etc.” Yet this definition is an inadequate representation of the realities of modern hospital chaplaincy.