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During audience with politically active NY medical group, Pope pays tribute to family doctors

May 27, 2024

Pope Francis paid tribute to family doctors during a May 25 audience with participants in a conference organized by SOMOS Community Care, a Bronx, NY-based network of 2,500 physicians and 800 community health providers.

Jesus “approached [the sick], entered their homes, talked with them, listened to them, welcomed them in their suffering and healed them,” the Pope said. “The family doctor is similarly present and close, offering warmth as well as professional care, because he knows his patients and their loved ones personally and walks with them, day by day, even at the cost of personal sacrifice.”

The presence of the family doctor, in fact, helps to create a network of affection, sharing and solidarity around the sick person, going beyond the diagnostic and therapeutic phases,” the Pope continued. “This strengthens human relationships and transforms suffering into a moment of communion to be experienced together, benefiting not only the patient, but also the caregiver, family members and the extended community.”

Such an approach, the Pope added, “helps to avoid the risk that the person suffering and those close to him or her will be caught within a bureaucratic and overly technical system; or worse, from becoming victims of a market mentality that has little to do with health, especially when it comes to the elderly and frail.”

In November 2023, the Pontifical Academy for Life partnered with SOMOS in launching a campaign to thank doctors. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the 79-year-old president of the pontifical academy, was present with SOMOS leaders at the May 25 audience.

Earlier this year, the Empire Center for Public Policy described SOMOS as a “politically active medical group” that received $29.4M in government grants in 2022.

Most of the funding, according to the think tank, was redirected from a fund that typically assists financial distressed hospitals.

“During the 2022 election cycle, Somos-linked individuals and organizations contributed more than $400,000 to the campaign accounts of [Gov. Kathy] Hochul and her running mate, Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, and another $150,000 to the state Democratic Party,” according to the Empire Center.


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