VATICAN CITY—In the sternest papal edict against the endocrine system in over 150 years, Pope John Paul II added the adrenal, pineal and pituitary to the Catholic Church's list of condemned glands Monday, decrying them as "sinful hormone producers which encourage and incite the human body to commit all manner of unholy acts."
The edict raised the total number of condemned glands to 25.
"It has come to my attention that the adrenal, pineal and pituitary glands perform a great many immoral functions which God could have never foreseen or intended when He created the human body," the Pope said. "In addition to secreting such suspicious-sounding fluids as norepinephrine, prolactin and aldosterone, these glands are guilty of working directly with the testes and ovaries in the process of sexual development."
While the Pope approved of most of the adrenal glands' functions, including their regulation of blood-glucose levels, heart rate and blood pressure, he strongly took issue with their production of gonadocorticoids—sex hormones which influence sperm production in men, as well as the distribution of body hair and menstruation in women.
"The adrenal glands are surely not the work of God," the Pope said. "God created man in His image, and the Lord does not secrete gonadocorticoids."
The Pope then announced his decision to posthumously excommunicate Bartolommeo Eustachius, the Italian anatomist who discovered the adrenal glands in 1564. He also excommunicated Dr. Russell Halloran, chief endocrinologist at UCLA Medical Center, widely considered the world's top adrenal specialist.
As with the adrenals, the Pope approved of several of the pituitary gland's functions, including its role in the regulation of metabolism and blood-vessel contraction, but strongly denounced its other purposes.
"The pituitary is a most foul and indecent gland," the supreme pontiff said. "While, on the surface, it gives off the air of innocence, regulating various body functions of genuine value and import, behind the scenes this devious gland controls such evils as the secretion of testosterone and estrogen by the testes and ovaries, uterine contraction, and something called spermatogenesis."
"I do not know what spermatogenesis is, but I am certain it is not moral," the Pope said.
In addition to his glandular condemnation, the Pope lashed out against hormones, particularly for their involvement with birth control.
"Hormones are a key component of contraceptive drugs, deceiving the female body into thinking it is pregnant and stopping the sacred ovulation process," the Vicar of Christ said. "This is a great sin."
With Monday's edict, the only remaining endocrine gland sanctioned by the Holy See are the parathyroids, which increase calcium levels in the blood and decrease phosphate levels. "As far as we can best judge, there is nothing wrong with the parathyroid glands," the Pope said. "But we will keep a close eye on them."
All exocrine glands have been banned since 1764, when Pope Clement XIII condemned them for producing such substances as milk, mucus, semen, saliva and sweat.