The relation of the Popes to these advances in medicine may be best appreciated from the interest which they took in the hospitals. It was only in hospitals that cases could be properly studied, and the medieval hospitals were conducted with very nearly the same relations to the universities of that time as those that exist at the present day. In the chapter on the Foundation of City Hospitals we show that these institutions are all, as Virchow, who is surely an authority above suspicion in any matter relating to the Popes has declared, due to one great Pope. This is the best possible demonstration of supreme humanitarian interest in human ills, and their treatment. Innocent III., as we shall see, at the beginning of the thirteenth century summoned Guy from Montpelier, where he had been trained in the care of patients, and where the greatest medical school of the time existed, to come to Rome and organize the Hospital of the Holy Ghost in the Papal City, which was to be a model for hospitals of the same kind in every diocese throughout the Christian world. Literally hundreds of these hospitals were founded during the thirteenth century as the result of this initiative. Patients were not left to die, with only the hope of prayers to relieve their sufferings, but they were cared for as skilfully as the rising science of the time knew how and with the tenderness that religious care has always been able to give. For added consolation in the midst of their sufferings and as a fortifier against the thought of death, they had religion and all its beautiful influences, for which even Virchow, himself utterly unbelieving, cannot suppress a tribute.

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


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