It is all the more surprising under the circumstances, and very greatly to their credit, that the Popes should have had as their physicians a list of men whose names are the brightest on the roll of great contributors to medical literature and some of the most distinguished among the great discoverers in medical science.
This fact alone constitutes the most absolute contradiction of the declarations as to supposed Church opposition to medicine that could possibly be given. No better means of encouraging, fostering, and patronizing medical science could be thought of than to give the prestige and the emoluments of physician to the head of the Church to important makers of medicine in every generation. The physicians to the rulers of Europe have not always been selected with as good judgment, and, as I have already said, there is no list of physicians to any European Court, nor indeed any list of names of medical men connected together by any bond in history–no list, for instance, of any medical faculty of a university–which can be compared for prestige in scientific medicine with the Papal Physicians.
James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)