One-Sided Doctors (Part 1)

by Marco Corvaglia

Introduction

Joyeux a Medjugorje, 1984

Prof. Joyeux applies electrodes on Marija, October 6, 1984

The doctors who examined the Medjugorje visionaries seem to have resorted to some questionable scientific protocols and, when interpretating the data, to truly forced conclusions, as we tried to highlight in the article Medical Tests on the Seers: Science Demonstrates Nothing.

Did some kind of bias in favor of the visionaries or in favor of the "extraordinary", in the broadest sense, act in them?

There are some facts to consider.


In fact, some of these doctors were already devotees of Our Lady of Medjugorje, while others carried out (and, as we will see, continue to carry out) practices inspired by New Age mysticism but rejected by mainstream science. 

 


It must be added also that, with very few exceptions, they were completely inexperienced in the type of investigation at issue.
The parish priest of Medjugorje himself, Ivan Landeka, who took the initiative to form a new study group in 1988, noted:

 

During our difficult search for a team of scientists capable of an up-to-date technical assessment of the Seers' claims, we eventually asked theologician and psychologist Father Andreas Resch, Redemptorist, professor of clinical psychology and paranormology [...], to coordinate the desired research group. Even Father Resch was unwilling to accept, since there is a paucity of researchers in this field of religious phenomena.
[I. Landeka, in A. Resch, G. Gagliardi, I veggenti di Medjugorje. Ricerca psicofisiologica, Resch Verlag, Innsbruck, 2000, p. V]


 

 

Prof. Henri Joyeux

 

In 1984, Father René Laurentin decided to assign the task of conducting a scientific study of the six seers to a physician who was close to the Charismatic Renewal movement. This person was the oncologist Prof. Henri Joyeux.
Prof. Joyeux was particularly close to Dr. René Lejeune, one of the most notable Charismatic Renewal leaders in France, author of "The angels, secret army of the Heavens" [René Lejeune, Les anges armée secrète du Ciel, Parvis, Hauteville, 1998] and of "Fasting, healing and feast for the body and the soul" [René Lejeune, Jeûner, guérison et fête du corps et de l'esprit, Parvis, Hauteville, 1988)]. Joyeux actually wrote the preface to the latter.

 


Joyeux (co-author of the book Scientific and Medical Studies on the Apparitions at Medjugorje [Veritas, 1987] with theologian Laurentin) elaborated and internationally promoted the (unproved) thesis of the "scientific inexplicability" of the Medjugorje apparitions.

 


A disciplinary proceeding has been ongoing on Dr. Joyeux since 2016. He still risks removal from the French National Medicine Board due to the spread of pseudoscientific claims about vaccines, as reported by the important French periodical Le Point.

 

In September 2019, the Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des Produits de Santé (ANSM) banned the continuation of the illegal experiments conducted on 350 elderly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients by oncologist Henri Joyeux and pharmacologist Dr. Jean-Bernard Fourtillan (the founder of a medical-religious association called Fonds Josefa) in the abbey of Sainte-Croix near Poitiers. The experiments were (literally) called "quackery" by the French Medicine Border [see: Essais cliniques "sauvages" : l'Ordre des médecins poursuit le Pr Joyeux pour "charlatanisme", Sciences et Avenir, 4 October 2019].​

 

Patients were required to spend a night in the abbey after patches were applied containing substances whose effectiveness had not been scientifically proven. This efficacy, however, had been allegedly mystically revealed to Dr. Fourtillan through God's will (according to Fourtillan himself). On 19 September 2019, the leading French newspaper, Le Figaro, wrote in an article entitled, Un essai clinique «sauvage» mené dans une abbaye sur 350 malades a été interdit:

He [Jean-Bernard Fourtillan] and Henri Joyeux are known for having positions not accepted by the medical community, especially with respect to vaccines. The Josefa Fund was named after a nun from the early 20th century, Maria Josefa Menéndez. On the foundation’s website, Jean-Bernard Fourtillan indicates, using a very mystical vocabulary, that the “Sleep-Wake System” was “unveiled to him in April 1994”. (The hormone) Valentonine “revealed itself to me within seconds, when I was in exceptional circumstances. I was undoubtedly the right person at the right time (...), in my insignificance as a man of faith, loving and listening to God […]. I understood that the Sleep-Wake System had been revealed to me to treat the many patients suffering from the dysfunctions of this system,” he says.

[Soline Roy, Un essai clinique «sauvage» mené dans une abbaye sur 350 malades a été interdit, Le Figaro, 19 September 2019 (updated on 24 February 2020)]

In another leading French newspaper, Le Parisien, on 20 September 2019, we can read:

This Friday, the minister of health, Agnès Buzyn, interviewed on France Inter, said she was “shocked and horrified" by the scale of of these illegal clinical trials.

Florence Méréo, Essais cliniques illégaux : 1 500 € demandés à un malade de Parkinson, Le Parisien, 20 September 2019]

On October 25, 2019, Joyeux wrote in a communiqué:

 

MY ROLE AS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE JOSEFA FUND

I had a friendly supporting role and spread scientific data made available to the general public.

[Communiqué du professeur Henri Joyeux, 25 October 2019]

The leading Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, on 21 September 2019 stated:

"The causes and treatment of Alzheimer's have finally been discovered!" This is the title of a video published on YouTube by the Josefa Fund during Christmas of 2016. If it were true at this time, we would know it. Yet on the website of the “non-profit” Josefa Fund, the notorious professors Jean-Bernard Fourtillan and Henri Joyeux, known and opposed by the scientific community for their battle against vaccines, continue to insist that they have identified the mechanisms of neurological diseases linked (according to them) to the sleep-wake system. They speak of a "science bomb" and of clinical testing on chicks and dogs. What they do not say is that they have already begun human trials, in secrecy and in violation of all health rules. [...]

"Discovering a wild clinical trial of this type is very rare, especially if we consider its size,” says Bernard Celli, Director of Inspections at ANSM (the national agency for drug safety). We are talking about charlatans who have abused the trust of the sick.”

[Stefano Montefiori, Alzheimer, scandalo in Francia. «Test illegali su 350 malati», Corriere della Sera, 21/9/2019]

On September 20, 2019, Professor Joyeux, interviewed by France 3 Occitanie, sarcastically replied to the Minister of Health (below is the video with the original statement):

 

I'm worried, because the minister is "shocked". She's losing her cool, she'll have to be resuscitated! What's the problem? This is a scientific study which is, by no means, a clinical trial.

[Le controversé professeur Henri Joyeux, de Montpellier, au cœur d'un essai clinique "sauvage", France 3 Occitanie, 20 September 2019]

 

And here’s the video, published on December 24, 2016 on the Josefa Fund’s YouTube channel, in which Vice President Joyeux, conducting a promotional interview with President Fourtillan, tells him, "You have just made a fundamental discovery regarding the sleep-wake system" (Tu viens de faire une découverte fondamentale sur le système veille-sommeil) [0: 06], and "This discovery is a real scientific bomb” (C'est une véritable bombe scientifique que cette découverte) [1:29]: 

 

 

In 2020, documentary evidence emerged of the money that Professor Fourtillan had collected and continued to collect illegally, soliciting his patients to make donations to the Josefa Fund. For example:

 

On March 20, 2020, a new request for donations arrived in patients' inboxes. It would be the last one, promised Marianne Fourtillan [the pharmacologist's wife]: "Jean-Bernard asks you to make a single and final donation to the Josefa Fund, in the highest amount possible.”

[Laetitia Cherel, Mis en examen après des essais thérapeutiques sauvages, le professeur Fourtillan persévère, France Inter, 12 February 2021]

 

 

At this point, Professor Joyeux starts backtracking:

 

When asked if he had ever suspected that experiments in which he participated in 2018 were not legal, he [Joyeux] exclaims, “It’s evident now, but actually, no, I didn’t.”

[Laetitia Cherel, Mis en examen après des essais thérapeutiques sauvages, le professeur Fourtillan persévère, France Inter, 12 February 2021]

 

 Joyeux added:

Jean-Bernard Fourtillan had a tendency to think that his discovery would cure a great number of diseases: Alzheimer's and Parkinson's among many others. I absolutely disagreed with this because there was no evidence. I said to him, “About sleeping, yes. As you have demonstrated it on animals, it must be present in humans, but be careful!"

[Laetitia Cherel, Mis en examen après des essais thérapeutiques sauvages, le professeur Fourtillan persévère, France Inter, 12 February 2021]

 

If this were really the case, Joyeux's responsibilities would be even greater. He, in fact, openly propagated the method, although he was aware that its effectiveness was to be demonstrated and that, in addition, volunteers were encouraged to pay significant amounts of money. Joyeux himself wrote in his 2019 communiqué:

 

Those who contributed donated according to their financial means, knowing the real cost for each patient (from 1,000 to 2,500 euros, depending on the duration of the treatment), as Professor Fourtillan himself explained to the people willing to test the patches.

[Communiqué du professeur Henri Joyeux, 25 October 2019]

*****

 


On April 22, 2002, the world-famous French newspaper Le Figaro published an article by Laurence de Charette, entitled “Families of France: A president called into question” [“Familles de France : un président contesté”].

The president is Prof. Joyeux himself, who was the head of Familles de France, a French association devoted to supporting and protecting families.

 


About Joyeux, the article reads as follows:

 

His opponents see in his writings connections with the thesis espoused by certain sects, such as instinct therapy and crudivorism (eating raw food). Henry Joyeux, they stress, has written the preface to many books on these topics by Bruno Comby, who personally showed up at the Castle of Montrâmes, which has been labeled as a “sect” by the [parliamentary] committee for the defense against sects.
[Laurence de Charette, Familles de France : un président contesté, Le Figaro, 22 April 2002]

 


The article also notes that Joyeux also authored a preface for a book by Jean Seignalet, another figure with connections to the world of instinct therapy. The book's title is "Nutrition, or the Third Medicine" [Jean Seignalet, L’alimentation ou la troisième médecin, O.E.I.L., Paris, 2001], and in his preface Joyeux defines it as "well documented, and truly scientific" [très documenté, réellement scientifiquelink]. In his book, Jean Seignalet claims that a crudivorist diet (and, in particular, a method known as Burger) can treat a huge number of ailments.

 

 

Such a food regimen has been qualified as a “pseudo-scientific theory” by Dr. Jacques Frexinos, professor at the School of Medicine of the University of Toulouse, France, and head of the Gastroenterology department at the local hospital. In his article, Dr. Frexinos points to the crudivorists’ claims that their diet can be successfully applied “to dozens of disorders, from rheumatoid polyarthritis to cancer and leukemia, and also to ankylosing spondylarthritis, autoimmune rheumatologic diseases, autoimmune thyroid diseases, multiple sclerosis, active chronic hepatitis, myasthenia, tendinitis, osteoporosis, cephalgia, manic-depression disorder, schizophrenia, endogenous nervous depression, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, functional colon diseases, colitis (RHC and Chron’s disease), acne, eczema, psoriasis, asthma, bronchitis, and so on. There is not even enough room to quote them all! In fact, it would be easier to make a list of those pathologies that are not treated by this diet."

 

 

Dr. Philippe Loron

A collaborator of Prof. Joyeux during his Medjugorje investigation (although he joined the group only at the end of the 80s), and, as Joyeux, fellow adherent to Charismatic Renewal, is the neurologist Dr. Philippe Loron.

 


He himself stated, in a November 11, 1990 letter addressed to the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Damascus, Ignatius IV Hazim:

 

I am working together with Prof. Joyeux and Father Laurentin on the ecstasies experienced by the young seers of Medjugorje.
[Philippe Loron, Constat médical et analyses scientifiques des evénements de Soufanieh, ("Medical Report and Scientific Analyses of the Events in Soufanieh"), F.X. de Guibert, Paris, 1992, p. 73]

 


In his book Le Mystère de la Royauté Sacrée (“The Mistery of the Holy Royalty”) [Resiac, 2000], Dr. Loron states that the French monarchy will be restored, and "this French Great Monarch [...] will make it possible to relaunch France’s true mission” [P. Loron, Le Mystère de la Royauté Sacrée, p. 126]. The “true mission” consists of no less than “restoring the true Catholic faith” [ibid., p. 99]. Dr. Loron adds what follows:

 

In my view, it is not a matter of being a royalist, and even less to support one or the other candidate to the throne. These events will simply take place by means of divine will, according to the many prophecies that have been already published on these matters.
[Philippe Loron, Le Mystère de la Royauté Sacrée, Resiac, Montsûrs, 2000, p. 100. Original text: Il ne s'agit pas pour moi d'être monarchiste , et ancore moins de prendre parti pour tel ou tel prétendant actuel. Ces événements surviendront uniquement par volonté divine selon les nombreuses prophéties publiées sur ce sujet.]

 


In the same book Loron gives credit to a story (which originates in the Early Middle Ages) according to which the Gospel figure of Mary Magdalene introduced the Christian religion in Provence, and had her body completely covered of body hairs, a characteristic that she shared with many Old Testament prophets.

 


Dr. Loron notices that body hairs share "the same embryological origin (ectodermal) of the nervous system" [ibid., p. 93]. Thus the doctor asks himself:

 

May hairiness be a sign of sensitivity, of sharp intuition?
[Ibid., p. 94. Original text: Une abondante pilosité sarait-elle le reflet d'una sensibilité, d'une intuition exacerbée ?]

 


Body hairs, one reads in Loron’s book, should be studied thoroughly and very soon, that is:

 

... before culture, fashion, social conditioning, and rational and skeptical education choke this vital tendencies. In fact, we do witness the rejection, culturally acceptable in so-called ‘evolved’ societies, of body hairiness on women, who, with the excuse of elegance and hygiene, shave their legs and their armpits. One poll has shown that in 1995 67% of French women admitted to shaving, while they were only 48% in 1981.
[Ibid., p. 83. Original text: ... avant que la culture, la mode, le conditionnement sociétal, le type éducationnel rationaliste par le doute et la critique n'étouffent de telles propensiones vitales. Nous constatons en effet bien souvent le refus, admis culturellement dans les sociétés dites évoluées, de la pilosité chez les femmes qui, sous prétexte d'élégance ou de propreté, se rasent jambes et aiselles. Une enquête montre qu'en 1995, 67% des Françaies s'épilaient, alors qu'elles n'étaient que 48% en 1981.]

 


We should also mention Loron’s defense of Vassula Ryden [P. Loron, J’ai vu écrire Vassula. Analyse scientifique de la Vraie Vie en Dieu, F.-X. de Guibert, Paris, 1994)], who espouses an eccentric mixture of Christianity and New Age, who claims to receive, through a procedure akin to automatic writing, messages from Jesus Christ.

 


Dr. Loron also investigated Myrna, a supposed mystic of Soufanieh (a neighborhood of Damascus, Siria). He actually authored a book on the subject, Constat médical et analyses scientifiques des événements de Soufanieh (Medical report and scientific analyses of the events in Soufanieh) where, for example, two pages are devoted to a “study” on the “Morphopsychological profile of Myrna, based on a dozen pictures taken during the Easter Week by a morphopsychologist not involved in the case”.

The “study” contains astonishing passages, like the following excerpt:

 

Myrna possesses an instinctual dominant trait […] betrayed by her well developed jawbone, which reveals «grounding» into material reality, joy of living. […] Her second dominant trait is affective: her downward nose reveals a tendency to devote herself to others with a very spontaneous trust. However, she also shows a latero-nasal retreat (compression of the cheeckbones), which causes her to interiorize her generosity and avoid social interaction.
Therefore, she possesses a basic extroversion (large face) and a need to interact with others, together with a morphology that pushes her towards interiorizing her feelings. This condition might result in a conflict, whose roots can be found in her childhood relationships (a impediment in relationships, or one of affective nature, which she probably encountered during her childhood) […]. It is possible that she did not feel sufficiently appreciated in her childhood or teenage years; the latero-nasal retreat on her face denotes a serious emotional frustration. […] Her big eyes, open over the world, testify to her imagination, her intuition.
[P.Loron, Constat médical et analyses scientifiques des événements de Soufanieh, F.-X. de Guibert, Paris, 1992, pp. 80-81]

 

 

Dr. Loron is also a follower of Hildegard medicine, a holistic therapeutic approach based on the theories of the XII century nun Hildegard of Bingen. This medical system is claimed to derive from Hildegard’s own divine revelations. It depends on the usage of medicinal herbs and stones, which are applied on different parts of the body.

 

 

On the website of the association Les Jardins d’Hildegarde ("The Gardens of Hildegard") one can find a catalog of Hildegard medicine products. Among those, on pages 23-26, is a list of “therapeutic stones”.

It should also be noted that Dr. Loron, in an article published on Chrétiens Magazine (“Christian Magazine”, a periodical close to Father Laurentin) has made the following statement about Hildegard medicine treatments: "They can certainly offer important contributions (certain gems in particular, which Hildegard indicates as bearing a tri-dimension divine impression). This has nothing to do with magic, since everything is related to Faith and Hope in God and His Word [Peuvent certes être des appoints d’importance (en particulier certaines pierres précieuses, dont Hildegarde spécifie qu’elles ont une signature divine à triple dimension). Il ne s’agit pas ici de magie, puisque tout est relatif à la foi et à l’espérance en Dieu et en Sa Parole]."

 The “Les Jardins d’Hildegarde” website contains references to many speeches given by Dr. Loron. For example, on April 26, 2008, Dr. Loron gave a speech about Hildegard medicine, and also about “France’s divine mission”: link.

 

Le pietre ildegardiane e le loro presunte qualità terapeutiche
Il programma del convegno a cui Loron partecipò nell'aprile 2008

Those who are "charmed" by the visionaries...

Vicka con l'ortopedico Luciano Cappello

December 1984: Vicka with Dr. Cappello 

The study group of the A.R.PA. (Associazione Regina della Pace [Queen of Peace Association]) was founded on March 28, 1985 by a few Italian doctors belonging to the movement of Communion and Liberation (a few "outsiders" joined them, such as Dr. Marco Margnelli). This does not appear accidental, since "Il Sabato", the weekly magazine of Communion and Liberation, had published seven articles in support of Medjugorje in the period from 17 October 1981 to 6 December 1983.

 

The following video interview with Vicka was performed in December 1984 at the home of the seer, by a member of the A.R.PA., orthopedist Luciano Cappello, from Varese. He had only witnessed, as a simple pilgrim, three apparitions during that very year (see Frigerio et al., Dossier scientifico su Medjugorje, Associazione Regina della Pace, 1986, p. 18).

 


What everyone can see is that the doctor addresses Vicka not as a researcher interested in doing a critical investigation, but as an "admirer" of the seer and a devotee of Our Lady of Medjugorje (besides, cardiologist Mario Botta, from Milan, collaborator of the same study group, already in March of 1983 used to observe [cf. R. Laurentin, H. Joyeux, Scientific and Medical Studies on the Apparitions at Medjugorje, Veritas, Dublin, 1987, p. 16] fasting on Wednesday and Friday, as requested by the Gospa, and the head of the group, gynecologist Luigi Frigerio, had gone on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in April 1983 [cf. Frigerio, Dossier scientifico, p. 7] two years before starting medical tests on the visionaries).

 

As an example, Dr. Cappello (addressing the interpreter) says [at 0:49]:

In May, when we were here, we were very surprised because she [Vicka] told us that she prayed at least four hours a day. So, after much discussion and after much effort, we figured out how we can get it. We would like that our engagement really lasts for our whole life, with greater intensity.

Or [at 6:24]:

 

We know that she and her companions had the extraordinary visions of hell and heaven. We know, for example, that Ivanka saw her mother in heaven.

 


In that period Vicka claimed that Our Lady was dictating her life to her. The doctor says [at 4:25]:

 

We know that she’s receiving the account of the Madonna as Mother of the Savior, and many times we see her smiling in the videos, but we know that the story of the mother of the Savior wasn’t only pleasure, joy, satisfaction: there were moments of great suffering. But we see her smiling. Why?

Vicka answers (at 5:57):

 

When I am with the Madonna, I always smile. I think, no matter what she narrates, I always smile. Whether it is something good or something ugly, I always smile.
[Original version: Kad je uz Gospom, uvik se smijem. Mislim, bez obzira šta pričala da pričala, ja se vazda smijem. Ili dobro ili loše, isto.]

 


And the doctor says with a smile:

 

It 's very beautiful.

 

*****

The third study group (1998) produced a dossier in which a member of the team, Dr. Giovanni Li Rosi, gynecologist at the hospital of Varese and hypnosis expert, wrote:

 

I had never been to Medjugorje nor had I planned to go there. But, as reported by colleagues and other people, who had gone several times to the place of the apparitions, and from the numerous press reports, I had the idea that something very particularly significant was happening in that land.
[Resch, Gagliardi, I veggenti di Medjugorje. Ricerca psicofisiologica, p. 17]

 


The opinion the doctor had already formed, based on anecdotes, clearly influences the way in which he sees the visionaries. Here is the lyricism with which he describes Marija’s apparition of April 23, 1998 (that took place in Capiago Intimiano, Italy):

 

A few tens of seconds and everything ends. Marija comes back to reality. We open the doors of the hall and her children run towards her. She looks happy. She is happy. She looks around and looks at us with a smile. She see us busy and seems almost willing to apologize for all the work, for our discomfort for an incredible experience completely hers.
But it is so.
[
Ibid., p. 25]

Marco Corvaglia

Last update: 27 January 2021

 

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