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Good Shepherd

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"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep."
Jesus, John 10:11-13 (NIV)

The Good Shepherd is a good priest concerned about his community and the people over all, even if this means being Reassigned to Antarctica by the uncaring or corrupt bishop, being terrorized by the local gang, or becoming a martyr sooner than they ever expected...

Besides spiritual guidance, he may also see to medical needs, take care of orphans and foundlings, and attend to the dying and dead.

He may be a Badass Preacher because as the quote says, wolves come and the flock needs protection. If all his fellows are fighters, they are Church Militant. At the other extreme, he may be an Actual Pacifist, (which is no less awesome), and despite Men Are the Expendable Gender, attacks on him are particularly evil. When he is a military chaplain, he can encompass either type; under The Laws and Customs of War, he is a noncombatant and required not to fight.

The Saintly Church is, of course, replete with them, but even the Corrupt Church may have several — usually low-ranking, with the few Good Shepherds in the higher ranks either attempting to reform the church or being totally oblivious to the sins of his coworkers. Indeed some can be found ministering to the unfortunate of the Wretched Hive. Voluntarily. The downside of them acting as the Good Samaritan is that they have many more people who need help, and indeed, The Hero may find himself needing to give more help than he gets. He may also feature as The Missionary, in which case The Hero may find help in even less likely locations — but again, will be limited in resources. He may also assist as the Turbulent Priest. Regardless, expect him to advocate "God Is Good (all the time)".

Because Good is Not Nice, he can also be the Dark Shepherd, whether on occasion or frequently. The Preacher Man and your stereotypical Irish Priest is usually a Good Shepherd. Contrast Sinister Minister and Pedophile Priest for the Evil Counterpart.

The word "shepherd", due to various biblical stories, has definite positive connotations in and of itself.

Not to be confused with The Shepherd, though it's not unlikely that there's some overlap. Also do not confuse with the Matt Damon film The Good Shepherd.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Yun in Simoun. She inspires several of the other sibyllae to start acting like this, from the quietly devout Rodoreamon to the religiously disinclined Aaeru.
  • Abel Nightroad from Trinity Blood is a priest/special agent for the post-apocalyptic Vatican. Abel is very kind, and through a combination of comedic melodrama and sheer feather-brainedness tends to come off as a harmless ditz. If the wolves come, the scythe swings.
  • Father Juliano from Witch Hunter Robin comes off more as this despite the generally dark religious tone. He genuinely thought witches were dangerous but couldn't kill Baby Robin, despite knowing what she was. Instead he raised her as his own and admitted that his fear of witches (the emotion driving the Big Bad) is a weakness of his own heart and no fault of the witches. He blesses The Protagonist and encourages her endeavors.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: According to Kyoko, her father Mr. Sakura (a Japanese Christian priest of unspecified denomination) was brought to tears by the troubles he read in newspapers, and preached about ways to resolve them. It was the widespread scorn he received from others resulting in his family living in poverty that made him undergo Sanity Slippage and eventually kill his family and himself.
  • Trigun: Nicoholas Wolfwood is a heroic character who dresses like a priest, hears confessions, and jokes that his cross Punisher is "full of mercy". The Badlands Rumble movie strengthens this perception because he refers to himself as "a man of the cloth".
  • Hellsing: Alexander Anderson is a humble catholic priest that raises orphans, who adore him. Although he looks down on Protestants, he still considers them part of God's kingdom and worthy of his protection.
  • Sword Art Online: Sasha is a priest-type player who cares for younger players in an orphanage-like setup.
  • Fire Force: Sister Iris is a nun from the Holy Sol Temple. It's her job to pray for the souls of Infernals so they can rest in peace.
  • Goblin Slayer has in his party a lovely girl known as Priestess. She is a cleric of the Mother Earth Goddess, and she decided to become an adventurer so she could help as many people with her miracles as possible. Even after seeing the horrible things that goblins are capable of and hunting them for months, she still feels uneasy using her miracles to kill them.
  • Blue Ramun: Randy left his position as the Guard Captain of the Lezak District and turned to the priesthood because he felt an immense amount of guilt over being unable to stop Garicalege leader Rowan from killing Yuma, the wife of his subordinate Eagle, but Randy wasn't willing to turn his back on the community. Although he day-drinks and blasphemes openly, he always puts the needs of the community first. He took on the role of healer while Lezak was between official Blue Doctors, and he teaches classes on the three gods at the district's elementary school.

    Comic Books 
  • Saint Bro'Dee Walker from Green Lantern. As his world faced imminent destruction, he gave sermons in public as his people rioted and looted in despair. Then a few started listening to him. Gradually, a few became many, and then many became all.
  • Highfather of the New Gods serves as both temporal and spiritual leader of his people. He was originally Izaya, warrior of New Genesis, who grew tired of the constant fighting with the dark god of Apokolips, was contacted by the Source, and ended the war, founded Supertown, and continued to serve as intermediary between the New Gods and The Source. He comes complete with all-powerful shepherd's staff and Abraham Lincoln beard.
  • Sheikh Abdullah in Ms. Marvel (2014) is this. He may be old-fashioned by Kamala's standards, but he's a Cool Old Guy and Reasonable Authority Figure who might also suspect her secret identity but if so, he has made no move to expose it.
  • Nightcrawler was on track to become a priest and almost certainly would have become this trope if that arc hadn't gotten derailed by a new and controversial writer.
  • Kalanthes from the Dark Horse Comics Conan the Barbarian as the counterpart to Sinister Minister (and former best friend) Thoth Amon.

    Fan Works 
  • Monsignor Ryan in the Angel of the Bat stories is a kindly, compassionate priest and one of main character Cassandra Cain's primary influences in her eventual conversion to Catholicism. In the sequel, when Cassandra initially confesses her attraction to other women, he is more concerned with the thought she might be harming herself with self-loathing than he is with her sin. And, highlighting his occasional struggle To Be Lawful or Good, he admits he doesn't always have the life experience to help his parishioners when they need him and tells Cassandra he will keep her secret and won't deny her communion if she accepts and acts on her aforementioned feelings.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device has Decius, the Lord High Ecclesiarch. Even though the religion he leads is a horrible corruption of the Emperor's actual wishes and would be considered a Religion of Evil in any setting but Warhammer 40k, he's genuinely devoted to the Emperor and acts as the Only Sane Man of the High Lords. Even after the Emperor sets the record straight and abolishes the Ecclesiarchy, he defends the Golden Palace from Fyodor Karamazov's invasion because it's the right thing to do. The Emperor rewards him by reinstating him as the leader of the reformed Ecclesiarchy.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame has the Archdeacon. Besides Phoebus, he really seems to be the only truly accepting authority figure around.
  • Disney's Robin Hood (1973) has Friar Tuck, a kindly old badger and friar of the local church. He supports Robin Hood's efforts to help the poor by redistributing the money Robin steals from Prince John and cares for the people of Nottingham more than his own life.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Père Jean from Au revoir les enfants hides Jewish boys from Nazi Germany in his boarding school. He gives a sermon that sounds suspiciously like this.
  • Padre Silva from Balibo, who refuses to abandon his mission even when it puts him at risk of being killed during the Indonesian invasion so he can stay with his parishioners.
  • The Book of Eli: Eli is a good man who teaches prayer and quotes scripture. The only thing he's lacking is formal ordination.
  • Father Flanagan from Boys Town, who dedicates his life to helping troubled and impoverished young boys, eventually founding the (Real Life) "Boys Town" institution as a home for boys.
  • The Count Of Monte Cristo: Abbe Faria is always kind and keeps up Dantes' spirits when they're in prison. In spite of being unjustly kept there, he unfailingly thanks the jailers each time they bring food. His not thanking one alerts the jailer that he died since it's the first time he'd failed in doing so.
  • Muslim version in Cuties with the imam that Amy's mother brings to their house to examine her. He treats Amy gently and kindly reassures Mariam that Amy's behavior is not due to the Devil's influence. He also counsels Mariam that, if the situation with her husband is causing her and Amy more suffering than they can handle, she should consider divorcing him.
  • Fr. Moor from The Exorcism of Emily Rose is presented as a sincere and caring person who tries to help Emily.
  • Fr. Merrin from The Exorcist casts out demons and teaches Karras to do the same.
  • Father Malone in The Fog. He was horrified to learn that the actions of his Grandfather led to the deaths of a group trying to establish a leper colony. When confronted by the ghost of Blake, the man his Grandfather betrayed, he offered up himself as a Heroic Sacrifice, while at the same time returning to Blake the gold his Grandfather had stolen.
  • Gimme Shelter (2014): Apple is counseled by a kindly priest who refers her to a nice Catholic woman who runs a shelter housing unwed teen mothers. He remains supportive of her from that point on.
  • Fr. O'Malley from Going My Way and The Bells of St. Mary's is a gentle soul who has dedicated himself to helping poor and troubled kids.
  • Guilt by Association: The prison chaplain, Marguerite, sympathizes with the prisoners (especially those serving long sentences for drug offenses due to mandatory minimums) and works on their behalf.
  • I Spit on Your Grave: Father Dimov is a kind Bulgarian Orthodox priest in the second film. He finds Katie stealing food from his church, and reacts by telling her she had no need to. Instead, he gives her food, clothing, and an English-language Bible then calls in a police friend since he quickly realizes she's suffered terrible abuse.
  • In The Living Wake, K. Roth stumbles across a church during a nervous breakdown (one of several he's had that day). He's greeted by three members of the clergy, and they are some of the only people in the film to not treat K. Roth with contempt, reassuring him that God will forgive his mistakes and accept him into Heaven. Their kindness inspires K. Roth to give religion a go... but he's openly dismayed when they tell him the first step is to try and patch things up with his family.
    Pastor: Love thy brother.
    K. Roth: Oh, that won't do. My brother's an asshole.
  • Loving Annabelle: Father Harris, the school's resident priest, is a kind man who often tells jokes and does all he can to help his flock (though he isn't aware of all their troubles).
  • In the church scene in Man of Steel, Clark confides in a priest about his identity and his next move. The priest encourages him to 'take a leap of faith' in regards to trusting humans.
  • Fr. Damien of Molokai, as played by David Wenham, fits the trope. Based on a true story; he was canonized in 2009.
  • Monsieur Vincent is a Biopic about 17th-century cleric Vincent de Paul, who in Real Life was canonized by the Catholic Church for his tireless work in helping the poor and downtrodden of France. He has to fight apathy and class prejudice all the way.
  • A New York Christmas Wedding: Father Kelly is a kind, tolerant Catholic priest who's an extremely progressive and accepting person. He embraces his LGBT+ congregants and even marries Jenni and Gabby when he'd at first refused to while renouncing all homophobia before his congregation.
  • Rev. Spence in One Foot in Heaven is this. He is a caring and conscientious Protestant minister who tends to his flock, helping them with their problems and leading their church, never complaining when they fail to raise his salary over the years or fail to adequately maintain the parsonage that he lives in.
  • Fr. Barry from On the Waterfront uses his position to castigate corruption on the waterfront and help the dockworkers to organize.
  • Reverend Oliver from The Patriot.
    Reverend Oliver: A shepherd must tend his flock... [snatches off wig and puts on black, broad-brimmed hat] and at times, fight off the wolves.
  • Pope Joan:
    • While he has his vices, at his core Pope Sergius II comes off as a decent man wanting to help his people and run the church.
    • Johanna also becomes one when she is named Pope after the death of Sergius, trying to implement reforms and infrastructure projects in Rome to make the lives of her people better.
    • Arnalda, who disgused herself as a man and called herself Arnaldo, travels to Rome from Paris in order to ensure that her mentor Johanna is properly remembered.
  • Red Riding Hood: Father Auguste is a kind man who just wants to help his flock in the village, who are preyed upon by a werewolf. After calling in Father Solomon, who's a professional werewolf and witch hunter, he's increasingly horrified by the tactics he uses. He's eventually killed by Father Solomon after trying to stop him.
  • Don Pietro from Rome, Open City, who works for the Resistance against the Nazis and eventually is killed for his work.
  • Savannah Smiles: Father O'Hara, who makes sure to be there for the Driscolls, and in the last act of the movie, Savannah, while also working to help Alvie surrender peacefully without being hurt at the end.
  • Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty from The Scarlet and the Black, which is Based on a True Story. O'Flaherty exploits the Vatican's diplomatic immunity from Nazi Germany to shepherd POWs to safety.
  • The Shoes Of The Fisherman: Kiril Pavlovich was a Ukranian Archbishop who spent nearly two decades in Siberia as a prisoner of the Soviets. He is released by them and allowed to depart to Rome, where the Pope names him a Cardinal. When the Pope dies, Kiril enters into a conclave. Impressed by his humility and freely admitting his many shortcomings, the Cardinals proclaim him as their new Pope. During his coronation as Pope Kiril sets aside the papal tiara and declares that the great wealth of the church would be used to respond to a famine the Chinese were experiencing, along with various other humanitarian disasters afflicting the world - even though he knows it might not be popular. The world responds with a great deal of enthusiasm over his plans, however.
  • Reverend Field in Silver Lode. He makes several attempts at mediating and de-escalating the situation, though he tends to be ignored, and grants Ballard refuge in the church when the townspeople are looking to kill him.
  • Stealing Heaven: The abbess and the archbishop are kind, tolerant clerics, in contrast to some others we see.
  • Parson Brown in The Strong Man is leading a campaign against the bootleggers and thugs who have turned the formerly peaceful town of Cloverdale into a Wretched Hive.
  • X the Unknown: When the village of Lochside is attacked by a humongous, radiation-hungry blob of sentient mud, the reverend conscientiously steers villagers to the relative safety of his church. He then pulls a small child to safety.

  • Robin Hood: Friar Tuck is the only holy man that consistently gets good ink. He's just as heroic as Robin's Merry Men.

  • Ayatani Zweil in Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels. He first joined them when they were heading toward the Saint's shrine, declaring that therefore they were pilgrims, and his job was providing guidance to pilgrims.
    • In Blood Pact, Gaunt muses over why the cantankerous old priest was still with them; it was hard to mine his wisdom, but he held the services and faithfully attended to the dying and the dead.
    • Necropolis has another example of one. When Gaunt installs a makeshift command centre in an Imperial cathedral, he clearly expects the local high priest to be enraged with the Guard disturbing the sacred place. The man of cloth calmly answers that active fight against the Chaos has more worth in the eyes of the Emperor than thousands of his prayers.
  • The Bishop of Digne from Les Misérables. Not only does he show Valjean hospitality when everyone else shunned him, he forgives him for stealing the silverware and claims he'd given it to him, preventing Valjean from being imprisoned again for violating his parole. He's personally responsible for Valjean's Heel–Face Turn and all the good he does thereafter.
  • Discworld:
    • Reverend Mightily Oats is a bit short on faith to be exactly this, but he's a priest and one of the Good Guys, so close enough. By the end of Carpe Jugulum in which he first appears, he's gotten over his lack of faith. He appears only in the backstory of Unseen Academicals, but from Nutt's memories of him, he appears to have grown into the role.
    • Small Gods:
      • Brutha, whose unswerving belief in Om makes him the only thing keeping Om from disappearing entirely. He ends up shepherding his own god.
      • The "shepherd" concept is played with, by suggesting the Omnian church might have been different if Om's first encounter with a human had been with a goatherd:
        "For sheep are stupid, and must be driven. But goats are intelligent, and need to be led."
    • Though not religious, Granny Aching of the Chalk was an example of this trope in every other respect, the literal one included.
  • The parson from The Canterbury Tales
    He was a shepherde and noght a mercenarie.
    And thogh he hooly were and vertuous,
    He was to synful men nat despitous,
    Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,
    But in his techyng discreet and benynge.
  • The wandering septon encountered by Brienne in the fourth volume of A Song of Ice and Fire. Mind, given the nature of the setting he'll probably turn out to be evil, or die in a horrible fashion. Winds up head of the church and, as a bonus, gets to put Cersei in her place several times. He could still die horribly though.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, the Space Wolves find Brother Malburius, ministering and acting as The Medic, in the horrors of the Terra underhive.
  • Mercedes Lackey's novel The Lark and the Wren had a venial priest refuse to marry two wandering bards. A few days later the bards found one of these Good Shepherds, voluntarily exiled to a little backwater, who obliged.
  • Don Camillo, the titular character of a series of stories by Giovannino Guareschi, is the hard-fisted, hot-tempered, but goodhearted priest of an Italian village in the '50s and '60s. The local Communist party, especially the village mayor, gripe about him as a reactionary — but they don't want anyone else performing their religious sacraments, thank you very much.
    • Don Camillo is also very much a Badass Preacher. He and the mayor often settle their differences with their fists. (At one point the mayor leaves an unexploded WWII bomb outside Don Camillo's door with the words "Eester Gift" written on it. Don Camillo picks it up by himself and leaves it outside the mayor's door with a note that the mayor needs to work on his spelling of "Easter".)
    • Some of the earlier stories make pretty clear that the local bishop at the time is also a Good Shepherd, a wise and kindly old man who, for instance, can see that the Communists in Camillo's village are basically good people even if they do claim to be atheists (except when it's time for baptisms, marriages, funerals, and the non-commercial aspects of Christmas, Easter, etc.). The Communists speak to him with respect ... and when they talk about the trouble Don Camillo gives them, it's hard to tell if they're complaining or bragging.
    • In one arc, the communists manage to talk the bishop into reassigning Don Camillo to another parish. The bishop replaces him with a total wimp. The communists are so disgusted with the new priest that they beg the bishop to give them Don Camillo back.
  • Rebbe Saunders in The Chosen is this in some ways, though he is hard to understand and something of a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • In The Dresden Files, Father Forthill. Doubles as attorney for his parishioners and is a Church Militant as part of the Ordo Malleus, though more a Non-Action Guy to Michael's Knight In Shining Armour. Also a Retired Badass, as his backstory includes him and a group of other seminarians hunting down and killing a vampire plaguing the town they were visiting.
  • In Connie Willis's Doomsday Book, the priest faithfully ministers to the dying until he succumbs to the Black Death himself.
  • In Steve Parker's Warhammer 40,000 novel Gunheads, Confessor Friedrich. Wulfe trusts him with his confidences — and is particularly moved by his retrieving the bodies of the dead from tanks.
  • Maikel Staynair, Archbishop of Safehold's Church of Charis, radiates a strong but gentle aura wherever he goes, which only the most bigoted can deny. A common habit of his, as he walks down the altar to his pulpit, to stop and speak to people, bless those in need, and see their children, and he continues to do this even after it almost gets him assassinated. Also of note is Paityr Wylsynn, a member of the Inquisition who discharges his duties in full fairness, in stark contrast to nearly all the other members of the Inquisition.
    • As of the fourth book, A Mighty Fortress, Vicar Rhobair Duchairn is making a sincere effort to become this in the wake of Grand Inquisitor Clyntahn's latest crossing of the Moral Event Horizon, largely because it's all he can do without becoming a victim of the Inquisition himself.
    • Zhaysyn Cahnyr qualifies, though his actions have been off-screen until he's had to flee his archdiocese.
  • In 1634: The Galileo Affair, a young man who isn't even Christian at all notes that Father Larry Mazzare "could have served as a poster model for Priest, Catholic, small town, finest example thereof.". It is also frequently pointed out that while Father Mazzare is a good, but not unusual priest by 20th-century standards, by 17th-century standards he is a living saint.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Space Cadet, when persuading the hero that an apparent accident was a real one and not a put-on job to scare the candidates, someone asks him whether he has ever heard of St. Barbara, explains that she is the Patron Saint of those in dangerous occupations, and tells him that if he goes to the chapel dedicated to her, he will find that the priest is saying Mass for those who died in the accident. This convinces him, because of course the priest would not fake such a thing.
  • In Mary Doria Russell's novel The Sparrow, the Jesuits send linguist and priest Emilio Sandoz to minister to a newly discovered civilization in the Alpha Centauri system. Sandoz is a model clergyman — kind, intelligent, curious, idealistic — to the point where he is widely considered as a candidate for sainthood. Too bad he ends up undergoing one of the worst cases of Break the Cutie EVER.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "Jewels Of Gwahlur" Conan the Barbarian is astounded by one.
    "No. He believes in his gods, and is incorruptible. He knows nothing about this. He will obey the oracle. It was all Thutmekri's plan. Knowing the Keshani would consult the oracle, he had Zargheba bring me with the embassy from Zembabwei, closely veiled and secluded."
    "Well, I'm damned!" muttered Conan. "A priest who honestly believes in his oracle, and can not be bribed."
  • In Lord Dunsany's The Charwoman's Shadow, the priest frees the hero from his false shadow, explains what the Evil Sorcerer did, and after the hero succeeds, provides shelter for the Love Interest until such time as her lowly birth will not be an obstacle to their marriage.
  • Abbot Radulfus from Brother Cadfael series. Actually both abbots qualify, but in addition to being genuinely caring about people, Radulfus is very, very competent. Brother Cadfael would be an example too.
  • Prior Philip who eventually becomes Bishop in Ken Follet's The Pillars of the Earth. Unlike many of the other churchmen and authority figures in the book, his religious beliefs motivate him to help the poor, forgive his enemies, and inspire others to do likewise.
  • Common among medicine cats in Warrior Cats.
  • In Rick Cook's Limbo System, Father Simon, whose sage advice is valued among the humans and who accidentally starts converting aliens to Christianity while prisoner.
  • Song at Dawn has many Christian clergy but the character that best fits the description of 'caring for the flock and fighting off the wolves' is the rabbi Ravaad. Other examples include:
    • A nameless monk in a Templar base wants to stop the killing of the Crusades and establish a metaphorical Holy Land in western Europe. He warns Dragonetz against his paper mill idea because he knows how the Church as an organization will respond.
    • Marcabru is better called a 'Good is Not Nice Shepherd' as he's a sourpuss that can't open his mouth without making clear his disdain of everyone, but he preaches self-discipline, doing God's work and never steps into Knight Templar territory.
    • The archbishop can play this role to perfection as the most benevolent, paternal, and understanding man in the world, but he's actually a Sinister Minister.
  • Harry Potter has the Fat Friar, ghost of Hufflepuff House. He's the only one to suggest giving Peeves the trouble-making Poltergeist another chance (again, and again, and again). Pottermore reveals he died because he was too nice for his own good - "senior churchmen grew suspicious of his ability to cure the pox merely by poking peasants with a stick". That, and an ill-advised habit of pulling rabbits out of the communion cup. As a result, he was executed for witchcraft.
  • The minister of St Ogg's, Dr Kenn, from The Mill on the Floss, who donates most of his income to charitable causes and who takes Maggie into his home and employs her after she falls victim to a scandal and is ostracized by the town.
  • Pete the Vicar, a minor character in The Laundry Files novel The Apocalypse Codex. Bob Howard, despite being a Nay-Theist posing as an atheist, genuinely respects the work he does for the community; Pete, conversely, respects Bob's apparent lack of belief. Contrasts sharply with the Corrupt Church baddies, to the point that a look through their Apocrypha-heavy version of the Bible is enough to convince Pete they're not even really Christians.
  • Stephen Kumalo from Cry, the Beloved Country, the humble, gentle, and trusting protagonist of the novel, and his friends Theophilus Msimangu and Father Vincent, Anglican priests who are devoted to spiritual and social work among the poor of Sophiatown, as well as to building friendship and reconciliation between the white and black peoples of South Africa.
  • The Hakham Dawid in A Wolf in the Soul is the spiritual guide for the five students of his tiny yeshiva. He almost certainly has some sort of psychic abilities that help him seek out the people who need him most, and he is also likely the most patient person on Earth.
  • Journey to Chaos: A running total of benevolent clergy:
    • There is only one priestess to welcome Eric at the Temple of Zaticana because the others are busy volunteering. Vesta herself is friendly and helpful.
    • Abbot Tolis is the leader of the international protest of Latrot's use of ordercraft to brainwash sapients note  and has maintained this stance despite several attempts on his life.
    • An unnamed priest from the Circle of Noitearc lives in Ceiha helping the locals to eek out a living by sheltering them from their oppressive government.
    • Neuro is a member of the Brotherhood of Death and he is introduced tracking a criminal necrocraft user. He compensates this criminal's victims as best as he can and blesses Tiza and Nolien's not-quite-there relationship.
  • The kind and wise imam Sheikh Bilal in Alif the Unseen is an Islamic version of this trope.
  • G. K. Chesterton's Father Brown is an embodiment of Chesterton's optimism and Catholic faith, in the form of a short, unremarkable-looking priest from the English countryside. Father Brown sees plenty of evil in his role as an Amateur Sleuth, but he remains kind and steadfast in his faith. His early stories are largely focused on his attempts to rehabilitate the Gentleman Thief, Flambeau.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Saint Francis of Assisi is compared to a prince, a seraphim, and a husband faithful even in the face of death in his dedication to his vow of poverty. By founding the Franciscan Order and agreeing to be laid low, Francis avoided the arrogance of his wealthy compatriots and earned the praise of the choirs of Heaven.
  • Father Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov is regarded as a living saint by just about everyone who knows him, and he is indeed a deeply kind and wise person. Sadly, the people's fickleness is demonstrated when, after he dies, his body does what dead bodies do and starts to stink. According to local superstition, a saint's body should not decay, so people start gossiping horribly about what secret sins Zosima must have been hiding.
  • Norah the sheperdess from Spice and Wolf is a very nice and devout girl who used to work at a convent caring for the poor.
  • Alpha and Omega: The pastor of a church as well as a televangelist, Lester Stark is a paragon of traditional Christian virtue. He married his high school sweetheart, to whom he has been faithful ever since; he is honest about how he spends his money, and he is even embarrassed about fundraising.
  • Horus Heresy: Uriah Olathaire, the last Christian priest on Terra. And, tragically, the last good shepherd in the setting for a long, long time.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Historical Fantasy novel The Spirit Ring, Abbot-and-Bishop Monreale (two offices—the Abbot of Saint Jerome and the Bishop of Montefoglia—one man) is a devout but humane man of God, who genuinely does his best at every step to look out for all the people of Montefoglia (and is Christian enough to be sincerely concerned for the salvation of the souls of even his most dangerous enemies).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fr. Hugh O'Flaherty in The Scarlet and the Black, which is based on the story of the real cardinal working at the Vatican, who took in Jews and POWs, hiding them from the Nazis.
  • Vedek Bareil in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He allowed himself to be blamed for a massacre, so as not to destroy the people's faith in Kai Opaka, and brokered peace between the Cardassians and the Bajorans. (Word of God says that this was why the showrunners didn't have him become Kai, as he wouldn't have generated any real conflict with The Sisko.) Ultimately, he proved too good for sinful Bajor and was killed.
  • The Rev. Adam Smallbone in Rev.. He may be flawed, but when it comes to it, he always does the right thing.
  • Mark the hospital chaplain in Being Human. He's a man of genuine faith and courage, including standing his ground when faced with vampires - and holding them off. Twice.
  • Shepherd Schlag from Seventeen Moments of Spring is a rare example of a Good Shepherd in the Soviet media because being religious at all made your life difficult in the Soviet Union, let alone being a cleric.
  • DS James Hathaway from Lewis. Cambridge Theology graduate who was training to be a priest before he changed careers and became a policeman. He still shows signs of being very spiritual but has hinted at religious doubts several times.
    Lewis: Maybe there is a God.
    Hathaway: If I was sure of that, I wouldn't have joined the police force.
  • A first episode Mr. Show sketch has Father Jim (played by Bob Odenkirk). Unfortunately, he's also a bit of a pushover, he ends up doing whatever a Jerkass party guest tells him to do even though no one agreed to his stupid bet.
  • Father Mulcahy from M*A*S*H. Catholic, of Irish descent, and endlessly compassionate, providing religious services, last rites, averting There Are No Therapists for the unit, and helping out at a local orphanage in his off-hours. He plays poker with the staff regularly - and donates allnote  of his winnings to the orphanage. He also taught boxing in the CYO, has a right hook that can stop a truck (not that he'll use it, being a pacifist), and once administered a tracheotomy while under enemy fire with nothing but a pocketknife and an eyedropper tube. His views on the mixed religious makeup of the locals and the unit can be (and have been summed up on this very wiki) as "it's more important that you have faith than what that faith is in." A very ecumenical sort, he once stepped in to perform a bris for a Jewish US soldier's son while instructed by a rabbi on a ship over the radio (none was available nearby).
  • Vikings: Athelstan takes his vocation seriously; his 'greatest treasure' is an unadorned Bible, and he refuses to join a threesome with Ragnar and Lagertha because of his vow of celibacy. Ragnar is so impressed with his character that he puts him in charge of the family farm while he's gone. And despite Athelstan's gradual integration into Viking society, he continues to exhibit the best traits of both the Catholic priesthood and Christianity itself, eventually becoming a Morality Chain to Ragnar and several of the other Vikings.
  • Tyrant (2014): Sheik Abdullah, despite seeming pretty ambiguous at first, appears to be shaping out as this. He tells his supporters not to use violence and manages to defuse a confrontation with the military. Despite being Islamist, he thinks the Army of the Caliphate's actions are absurd and barbaric.
  • Father Giles Joly, from Canada's Worst Driver, and by all accounts he was much better at his job than he was at driving. He even ministers to Crystal when her brother-in-law dies in a car accident in the middle of rehab.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Corner of the Eye", Catholic priests Anton Jonascu and John Royce both minister regularly to homeless people, giving them food or clothing. However, Jonanscu has grown very disillusioned because of how many people in need there are, with so little they can do for them. After he is given a healing ability by some alleged messengers of God though Jonascu regains his faith and travels the world to heal people. Once he learns these messengers are really malicious aliens, he saves Father Royce (along with everyone else) from their designs at the cost of his own life.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Crossing", Father Mark Cassidy is extremely dedicated to his parishioners. When he arrived at St. Timothy's Church, it was on the verge of closing down but it managed to survive because of his efforts. Father Mark has spent the last two years fundraising for a new children's wing at the local hospital, getting the necessary $2 million from every available source. When the wing is finally opened, it is named in his honor.
  • Cursed: Abbess Nora, though stern and strict toward her nuns, is a caring woman who unlike the Church doesn't believe all Fey are evil, allowing Nimue shelter in the abbey.
  • Spoofed (as always) in Father Ted, wherein the titular priest is a literal good shepherd and not at all a metaphorical one, possessing "an intuitive understanding of sheep" that he certainly doesn't have for humans.
  • Two Sentence Horror Stories: In "Manifest Destiny" the pastor in the reenactment acts as the peacemaker, making the Sheriff accept his daughter marrying a Blackfoot. Even in reality, the pastor tried to stop the Sheriff from massacring the Blackfeet — he was then murdered for it though. The Sheriff, possessing his reenactor, murders the preacher's reenactor as well, seeing him as a traitor as he sided with the Blackfeet.
  • City on a Hill: Father Doyle is a kind-hearted priest who tries to do right, and even goes against Church teachings when he feels they're wrong, in a God Before Dogma manner. Zigzagged however as he also embezzles money for the IRA, which at the time was frequently involved with deadly bombings.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "In Throes of Increasing Wonder...", Father Matthias is a kindly priest who's attentive to his parishioners. It's even more notable that he's white with a mostly black parish, and shows no signs of racism toward them in 1910 Louisiana.
  • Equal: Early gay rights activists enlisted sympathetic clergy to support them, not only forming a committee but publicly attacking police harassment.
  • Call the Midwife: Spirited, saintly Sister Julienne, the sister-in-charge and spiritual leader of Nonnatus House. She personifies God Before Dogma and treats everyone in her charge — her Sisters, her staff, her patients, and the entirety of Poplar — with kindness, gentle counsel, and selfless compassion.

    Mythology and Religion 

  • Twilight Histories:
    • Minako and the other Shinto priestesses from the episode “True Aztec” are this. They welcome and help all people regardless of ethnicity during the invasion of Tenochtitlan.
    • The Catholic priest from the episode “Mask of the Plague Doctor” also counts. He attempts to put down rumors that the plague is caused by Jews.


    Video Games 
  • Father Raul in The Longest Journey is a catholic priest who operates a church in the worst slums of the cyberpunk metropolis Newport, doing his best to give guidance to the lost souls in the neighborhood. He is also secretly a Sentinel — member of an Ancient Tradition that protects the Balance — and when April inquires how his faith in Christ meshes with knowledge of the parallel, magic-driven world of Arcadia, he simply points out: "The Balance was created by someone, was it not?"
  • Priest Bruno in Dark Chronicle. As a support character, he can revive you from death once and sell you status recovery items.
  • Daleyon in Ys SEVEN more or less fits this description. He is a kind man who genuinely cares for other people.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Revered Mother Dorothea in the Dragon Age: Origins DLC "Leliana's Song" is a kind mentor who manages to simultaneously give hope to Leliana, convince her to turn her back on her violent past, and use Leliana's skills to retrieve state-sensitive intelligence stolen from Dorothea earlier. Later on, she becomes Divine Justinia and almost manages to prevent Thedas from descending into chaos before her untimely death in Inquisition (even then, it is her final orders that establish the eponymous organization that ultimately succeeds in restoring order).
    • Grand Cleric Elthina of Dragon Age II is a kindly old lady who advocates peace above all else and is a mother figure to party member Sebastian Vael. On the other hand, she prefers to put her faith in the Maker's plan instead of taking any direct action - you can warn her about the Sinister Minister under her nose twice and not get anywhere. Her death sets off the civil war of Kirkwall for the final act.
    • Mother Giselle in Dragon Age: Inquisition is presented as one of the moderate clerics from the start and becomes the Chantry's liaison with the reformed Inquisition — even before the Chantry officially recognizes it. When you first meet her, she is organizing relief operations for the Fereldan refugees of the Mage-Templar war, and later on moves to Skyhold to provide the voice of reason and moderation to the Inquisition's leaders.
    • Also in Inquisition, if a softened Leliana becomes Divine Victoria, she'll end the tyranny of the Circles, rededicate the Chantry to the cause of charity, and admit other races to the priesthood. And then when she faces resistance to her reforms, she'll talk to the leaders of the would-be splinter sects and get them on board with her message with no loss of life, becoming a figure of peace, justice, and unity just like her mentor. If hardened, she'll still reform the Chantry for the better, and drown the resistance in blood.
  • Pastor Carter of Harvest Moon: Back to Nature and Friends of Mineral Town is pleasant, kind, and not above a good laugh, and he gives decent advice now and then. Same thing can go for any clergyman or woman in the series.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In Morrowind, nearly all of the lower-ranking priests of the Tribunal Temple count, despite the Temple itself having numerous Corrupt Church traits. Nearly all of the quests they offer involve healing the sick, delivering supplies to the poor, escorting pilgrims, and/or eliminating legitimate threats to the people of Morrowind. It isn't until you get up into the higher ranks, particularly the leadership of the Church Militant/Knight Templar Ordinators, that the corruption becomes evident.
    • A lot of the priests encountered in Skyrim tend towards this archetype. Runil is a priest of Arkay first encountered giving last rites over the grave of a child and comfort to her parents. Maramal is a friendly, community-oriented priest of Mara who will officiate your wedding, and his wife Dinya Balu is also a priestess of Mara who sends you on a quest to spread the love across Skyrim. Erandur is another priest of Mara who used to be a follower of the Daedric prince Vaermina who takes it upon himself to rid Dawnstar of its nightmare plague in the name of his goddess to atone for helping to cause it in the name of his Daedric prince. The various priests of Talos take this in a different direction, ministering to the populace as usual in open defiance of the infamous ban on Talos worship (which could result in their deaths by torture if the Thalmor catch them). Even the Vigilants of Stendarr, no matter how you feel about them, do what they do in the name of protecting humanity from the Daedra.
  • Octopath Traveler: Several members of the Order of the Sacred Flame:
    • Ophillia Clement, one of the heroes, takes the pilgrimage to take the Embers of the Sacred Flame to different locations. Along the way, she is kind to anyone she first meets, cares about the sick and injured, helps children who had a falling out with each other, and through remembering lessons of her adopted father, Archbishop Josef, is able to convince her adopted-sister Lianna from her grief-induced madness to draw on the powers of the Fallen God to revive the now deceased Josef.
    • Archbishop Josef takes in the orphan Ophillia and raises her like his own child. He is a kind and loving man to any who come into his life and imparts to his daughters key lessons to help guide them in their lives.
  • Overwatch: The Shambali Monastery is full of these.
    • Zenyatta is a monk working on a mobile ministry of helping others, be they flesh or mechanical. Part of his skillset is healing his allies.
    • Tekhartha Mondatta is a benevolent holy (robot) man preaching coexistence between humans and omnics.
  • The High Sequencer is Sunless Skies is a particularly unusual example: he's the high priest of a cruel and angry Mechanical Abomination, the mere sight of which can drive you to madness and transform flesh into polished glass. Yet he himself is a kindly priest and one of the very few elites in Albion who's trying to do something to help the horribly oppressed working class.
  • Tales Series:
    • Ion from Tales of the Abyss is the figurehead of a rather Corrupt Church, so his power is limited. He is, however, very kind, willing to help the heroes at every turn, does not hold grudges, and believes that adhering to the Score religiously is not the only course of action.
    • Ange from Tales of Innocence has a reputation as a holy woman who will cure any malady or disability. She is able to make cripples walk, restore people's eyesight, and rescue people at the brink of death. She is also self-sacrificing, kind to children, and offers assistance to anyone in need. At the end of the game, she is seen taking care of orphans.
  • Pastor Karen from Night in the Woods. She's a very kind woman, is trying to open a homeless shelter, and gladly strikes up a friendship with Mae, despite Mae's religious beliefs (or lack thereof). She uses her faith as a tool to help people of all backgrounds, creeds, and lifestyles. She privately admits her own faith in God is wavering, and she hopes that, by convincing other people to believe, she can convince herself, too.
  • Father Sean Hampton in Vampyr (2018) serves as the pillar for the Docks District, and is extremely protective of its people. He gets infected with vampirism in the first place because he offered his arm for one desperate Skal to feed on. He becomes a weird combination of this trope and a Sinister Minister after turning into a Skal, since he still clings to his faith as a vampire but proceeds to feed on raw human flesh. Depending on the Player Character's choice, he can become a proper Friendly Neighborhood Vampire and remain firmly in Good Shepherd territory, since he will only feed on rats and keep protecting the Docks.
  • Clergymen encountered in Kingdom Come: Deliverance run the whole gamut from saintly to "decent but flawed" to outright monstrous. The ones that could be considered "good" are:
    • Father Fabian of Sasau is a good priest, continent in his vows, and a role model to his congregation.
    • Father Godwin of Uzhitz is a brawler and drunk who has been too hungover to preach on several occasions and has a live-in concubine who is his wife in all but name. That said, he is also a strong advocate of clerical austerity (he notes that while he lives in sin, he allows himself nothing that his parishioners can't also enjoy), an advocate for peaceful solutions, and a skilled mediator.
    • Inquisitor Jaroslav from the A Woman's Lot-DLC is a harsh but fair judge, willing to give even a suspected heretic a fair, non-judgemental witness examination and is equally unhesitant to spare the innocent and punish the guilty.
    • Father Simon of Rovna is another near-saint, but there are several indications that he is attempting to atone for something in his past.
    • The monks of Sasau are stand-offish (though, given that they are a cloistered order, this is understandable), overly occupied with their own internal affairs (more specifically, the upcoming election of a new abbot), and given to punishing misbehaving novices harshly. Otherwise, though, they are all pretty decent people.

    Visual Novels 

  • Goblin Hollow: the local minister suppresses the Witch Hunt by discussing what is appropriate for church-sponsored organizations, is perfectly pleased by the rules of no gory costumes or fortune-telling (though Ben doesn't tell him those were the rules all along), and listens when he talks about D&D.
  • Tales of the Questor: Brother Linnaeus heading out into the dangers of the swamp because Quentyn tells him that the Gragum want to know why God has not come to them.
  • Dissonance: Pastor Peter.
    Peter: The most important thing I've learned as a preacher... It's that it's not as important to remember people's names so much as what they have to teach you.
  • Larriki the hawkfolk priest from Nahast: Lands of Strife. In addition, he's a priest of the goddess of dawn and so likes to remind people that dawn always comes, even when it seems that there's no hope left.
  • Marble Gate Dungeon: The Friar of Colleen's village and Colleen herself have both shown themselves to be good, kind, and compassionate people. It's somewhat literal in Colleen's case as not only is she a priestess of a god with sheep motifs but a literal former shepherdess.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Durkon from the Order itself definitely counts. He is The Reliable One in the party, who is respected for his honesty even by paladins from a different sect in a different land. He invokes the power of his god to heal his party and smite his foes.
    • Redcloak is this for the goblin species; spiritual leader and connection to their deity. Failing to live up to this for all goblin races is part of his My God, What Have I Done?.
    Redcloak: I'm the high priest of the Dark One! I'm supposed to shepherd the goblin people — all goblins!''
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The long-deceased Lutheran pastor whose spirit lingers in the present day is a sweet old lady who serves coffee and cake to unexpected guests. Near the end of her lifetime, her church served as an impromptu hospital for victims of The Plague and she invoked Greater Need Than Mine when said church got a supply of an experimental cure that was nowhere near big enough for all of its patients. When Reynir led Sleipnope, an amalgamation of lost spirits, to her, she guided them to the afterlife.
  • Whale Star: The Gyeongseong Mermaid: Geon is a Korean Christian and knows a church in Seoul that is willing to harbor Yeongyeong and her son Jingyu after the rebel cell is discovered. Even when it becomes apparent it could put them in danger the priest does not even think of ratting them out to the Japanese, because the Lord preached sanctuary. Five years later, the church's orphanage has raised Jingyu happily and they are still on good terms with Geon.

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania (2017): There is one good priest left in Gresit. He does not speak, but his good nature is assured when he joins Trevor in rallying the villagers and is able to make Holy Water.
  • Ivanhoe: The King's Knight: The Archbishop of Canterbury is a fair, neutral man in the conflicts between the followers of King Richard and Prince John and even chews out the latter when his schemes have been revealed to all.
  • Father Maxi from South Park started out as The Fundamentalist, but was eventually changed into a genuinely decent person with the best interests of his congregation at heart, as well as the only Catholic priest in the world who doesn't molest children.

    Real Life 
  • As a rule of thumb, all the saints qualify for this trope. Being canonized basically means they were very good shepherds.
  • Fred Rogers was known for being so inexplicably kind, good-hearted, loving, tolerant, and generous to all people, regardless of their faith or past actions, that he's been often thought of by many people as being more Christ-like than even some literal saints.
  • During WWII, on the Greek island of Zakynthos, the Nazis ordered the local bishop, Bishop Chrysostomos, at gunpoint to go to the mayor's office and come back with a list of all the Jews on the island. The bishop came back with a list that had only two names: the mayor's name and his own, and told the Nazis "Here are your Jews. If you choose to deport the Jews of Zakynthos, you must also take me and I will share their fate."
  • Another World War II example, Father Maximillian Kolbe was a prisoner in Auschwitz. Father Kolbe volunteered to replace one of the men, who had a wife and children, who was condemned to die after one of the men from the barracks went missing. He was canonized as a saint in 1982; the man whose life he saved was present.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi dissident. He expressed vocal opposition to Hitler's euthanasia program and the Jewish persecutions. Arrested in 1943, he was later convicted of being tied with the 20 July Plot against Hitler, and eventually executed less than a month before Nazi Germany's surrender in 1945.
  • Father Damien, after being assigned to a Catholic mission in Hawai'i, chose to live with the people of Molokai Island that were exiled for having leprosy (AKA Hansen's disease) so he could help them however he could. This was significant for the time since it was when leprosy disease was still assumed to be extremely contagious, incurable, and a waste of resources in respect to those afflicted with it, but nevertheless Father Damien still dressed their wounds, built homes, provided emotional support, organized infrastructure in the town, and much, much more. In 2009, he was canonized as a Catholic saint and is thought of as the spiritual patron of outcasts and leprosy in Christian denominations.
  • Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty was the head of a massive operation to hide Jews and escaped POWs in Rome and the Vatican.
  • Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Baptist minister and civil rights activist. Nothing would deter him from battling segregation and poverty in the USA, and always non-violently.
  • Pope Francis has been called "The People's Pope" because of his message of tolerance and ministering to the poor.
  • The Reverend Wilbert Awdry - creator of the books that would later serve as the basis for Thomas & Friends. Not only did he live a modest lifestyle in spite of the £7 million in royalties that the series earned (it was reported that he had given the majority of it to his seven grandchildren, a railway society, and various other charities), he also refused to serve in the Second World War due to his staunch Christian pacifism.
  • After MC Hammer became a Pentecostal minister around the Turn of the Millennium, the "M.C." changed from "Master of Ceremonies" to "Man of Christ". Even before that, a line in U Can't Touch This praises God for blessing him with "a mind to rhyme and two hype feet".
  • During the German occupation of Europe, many Catholic priests helped Jewish fugitives against Nazi persecution by handing them forged baptism certificates. Many Orthodox and Protestant clergy did the same or similar things.
  • Father Peter Whelan was a Catholic priest who, though apparently loyal to the Confederacy, ministered for a few months to the Union prisoners in the hellish Andersonville prison. Even after leaving the prison, he took out a loan for $16,000 worth of Confederate money, used the money to produce a large amount of bread, then donated the victuals to the prison hospital at Andersonville.
  • Pope John Paul II, as a Polish priest, he held underground sermons and assisted others, including Jews, during The Nazi occupation in WWII. During the Cold War, it was John Paul II Who began the nonviolent Solidarity Movement that was pivotal in the fall of the Iron Curtain Countries, hell he even forgave a Muslim for shooting him and almost killing him (the man was quite impressed, and even temporarily became a Catholic).