It is no wonder, with all this activity of the hospital foundation movement, that Virchow should have been unstinted in his praise of the Pontiff and of the Church responsible for the great charity. He said: “It may be recognized and admitted that it was reserved for the Roman Catholic Church, and above all for Innocent III., not only to open the bourse of Christian charity and mercy in all its fulness, but also to guide the life-giving stream into every branch of human life in an ordered manner. For this reason alone the interest in this man and in this time will never die out.”

Even this was not all that he felt bound to say, and in his admiration he quite forgot the constant opposition he manifested toward the Papacy on all other occasions. This happened to be the one feature of Papal influence and endeavor that he had investigated most thoroughly, and one is tempted to wonder if like investigation in other directions would not have shown him the error of prejudiced views he harbored with regard to other phases of the beneficent influence of the Popes in history. More knowledge is all that is needed, as a rule, to overcome all the anti-Papal prejudices founded on supposed historical grounds.

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


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