Could there be a link between Welsh rugby and papal deaths after all?

There may be some truth in the saying "every time Wales win the rugby grand slam, a Pope dies" after all, despite a 2008 BMJ article dismissing it as an urban myth, claims a doctor in a letter to this week's BMJ.

This year saw the of the Coptic pope, Shenouda III, on the very day that Wales won the grand slam, says Edward Snelson, a at Sheffield Children's Hospital. He was pope for 41 years and succeeded Cyril VI, who died in 1971, in the same month that Wales won the grand slam again.

Snelson argues that the 2008 research included only Roman Catholic popes in its analysis thus creating "a potentially false reassurance" and says it is crucial that this new information be brought to the attention of other doctors.

He concludes: "Although the association between these deaths and the may not be fully understood, this research has created a false reassurance and may be putting the lives of other popes at risk."

More information: www.bmj.com

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pope may embrace intelligent design

Aug 28, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI may reportedly embrace the theory of intelligent design, possibly heralding a fundamental shift in the Vatican's view of evolution.

Vatican kicks off countdown to JP2 beatification

Mar 14, 2011

(AP) -- The Vatican on Monday kicked off the countdown to Pope John Paul II's beatification by posting a YouTube video of his famous first papal speech, when the Polish-born pontiff asked the Roman crowd in St. Peter's Square ...

Pope to call space station in papal first

Apr 22, 2011

(AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI will be in satellite contact with two Italian astronauts aboard the International Space Station in what would be the first papal call to space.

Recommended for you

The human race evolved to be fair for selfish reasons

1 hour ago

"Make sure you play fairly," often say parents to their kids. In fact, children do not need encouragement to be fair, it is a unique feature of human social life, which emerges in childhood. When given the o ...

Non-stop PET/CT scan provides accurate images

Sep 18, 2014

Siemens is improving PET/CT imaging and data quality while reducing radiation exposure. The Biograph mCT Flow PET/CT scanner is a new positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system that, ...

Experts: Chopin's heart shows signs of TB

Sep 17, 2014

The preserved heart of composer Frederic Chopin contains signs of tuberculosis and possibly some other lung disease, medical experts said Wednesday.

The argument in favor of doping

Sep 17, 2014

Ahead of Friday's court ruling on whether ASADA's investigation into the Essendon Football Club was lawful, world leader in practical and medical ethics Professor Julian Savulescu, looks at whether there is a role for performance-enhancing ...

User comments