The best, most easily obtainable, and most impressive data for the inductive method of reaching the truth as regards the relation of the Popes to medical science and (because of the fact that physicians were the scientists par excellence of the Middle Ages) to all science, will be found in a brief consideration of the lives of the men who occupied the position of Papal Physician during the last seven centuries…If the Popes had been interested only in the miraculous healing of disease, and had wished to teach the lesson that men should depend solely for their recovery from serious symptoms and ailments of all kinds on prayers and relics and pilgrimages, then they would either have had no physicians at all in regular attendance on them, or at least their physicians would not have been selected from among the men who were doing most to advance the cause of practical and scientific medicine and of medical education. The very opposite of this is the case. The Papal physicians were as a rule the most scientific medical men of their time. This is not a pious exaggeration, but is literally true for seven centuries of history.

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)


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