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

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

Jul 30, 2014

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients ...

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

Jul 30, 2014

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal ...

Key element of CPR missing from guidelines

Jul 29, 2014

Removing the head tilt/chin lift component of rescue breaths from the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines could be a mistake, according to Queen's University professor Anthony Ho.

Burnout impacts transplant surgeons (w/ Video)

Jul 28, 2014

Despite saving thousands of lives yearly, nearly half of organ transplant surgeons report a low sense of personal accomplishment and 40% feel emotionally exhausted, according to a new national study on transplant surgeon ...

User comments