As children, we were taught that there were two positions in our community who demanded respect: the parish priest and the family doctor. On this day, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Philadelphia newspapers had the same front page headline: “They Hid It All”. This reference to the superiors of the Catholic Church tolerating and hiding sexual abuse of children by clergy is beyond understanding.
This past Saturday, a recently published book arrived in my mailbox. It was the eagerly awaited and critically acclaimed book by Beth Macy titled “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America”. Just who did they get addicted? Not senior citizens, who are taught that taking a countless number of pills daily is the only path to staying alive. They addicted our kids, particularly teens in many cases, who suffered routine injuries associated with being active, especially in sports. In both cases, parents bought into our institutions without questioning their intent to better our lives.
The Catholic Church was expected to be our conduit to experiencing a relationship with God. In too many cases, however, it was a conduit to the devil. Medical doctors were thought to be a conduit to a healthier future. Instead, it was a straight shot to an early and painful death that tortured many family members and friends along the way.
Institutions that were cornerstones of our society go through changes. Even the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper that delivered the “They Hid It All” report is struggling to avoid extinction as it shifts to becoming paperless. Do the Catholic Church and the medical doctor face extinction as well? Most likely not; however, big change is needed. As more people access information that can help them create a better future for themselves and their family, hopefully better and safer alternative choices will be made.