This story is strange on a number of levels. In 2008, two Welsh doctors discovered that going back to 1883, five roman Catholic Popes had died whenever Wales rugby won the Grand Slam. The Grand Slam, of course, is when one team in the annual Six Nations Championship beats all the other teams in a given year. The six nations are England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy. It has happened 37 times since 1908, when Wales won it for the first time.
Wouldn't you know it, but Wales won the Grand Slam again this year. And a Pope dropped dead. Now, obviously it was not Pope Benedict XVI, or you likely would have heard the news from something other than a Welsh Rugby victory. Apparently there are other kinds of Popes.
Dr Edward Snelson, writing in the British Medical Journal, points out this year saw the death of the Coptic pope, Shenouda III, on the same day that Wales won the grand slam.
The paediatrician argues that 2008 research included only Roman Catholic popes in its analysis thus creating ‘a potentially false reassurance'.
‘This year saw the death of the Coptic pope, Shenouda III, on the very day that Wales won the grand slam,' notes Snelson.
‘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.'
If you're like me, this was a nice little Saturday morning surprise. We learned what exactly a rugby Grand Slam is for our (mostly) anglo-friends. We learned of a weird correlation between Welsh rugby and dead Popes. And, finally, we learned there are other kinds of Popes. Not a bad start for the weekend. Unless you happen to be (one of several, apparently) God's liaison with humanity.
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