Catholics & homeopathy 1: four popes

Catholics popes homeopathy piusThe Catholic Church has a tradition of establishing hospitals and working in health care but an overlooked part of its commitment to wellbeing in body, mind and soul is its role in homeopathy.

Catholics and Homeopathy

In this and four more posts to follow I will discuss the contribution to homeopathy by Catholic clergy both in practise and theory. In practise we will look at a great German Jesuit and some Spanish Benedictines. In theory I will suggest St Thomas Aquinas, who refined the thinking of Aristotle, enabled Hahnemann to make his great and still controversial discovery of the hidden powers of substances to be liberated as medicine.

Here I will look at the love of homeopathy and its advocation by Pope Pius IX, among others, who attended a homeopath himself and awarded Church honours to homeopaths.

Rational Basis

The Church has always espoused philosophy and homeopathy and as you’d expect from Hahnemann, who taught the ancient Greek philosophers to his classmates at age twelve, also had a rational grounding. Hahnemann was a friend of the German philosopher Kant and translated the French philosopher Rousseau into German. He also advised the French translator of Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher. Thus, having a strong philosophical pedigree, Hahnemann could subtitle his book, the Organon, “the rational art and science.”

Homeopathy and Catholicism fit like hand in glove, thus the critics of homeopathy are usually the critics of religion.

Pope Pius IX (1792-1878) was the longest reigning Pope in Church history, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death; a period of nearly 32 years. He was a staunch advocate and protector of homeopathy, and a patient of Cesare Mattei.

Pope Pius IX granted Alexandre Charge the Order of St. Gregory the Great for travelling to the South of France to treat a major cholera epidemic with homeopathy, and in 1847, Francois Perrussel received a special apostolic letter from Pope Pius IX in remembrance of his work The Truth in Medicine Found and Demonstrated by the Laws of Universal Attraction.

Pope Pius IX promoted Giovanni Ettore Mengozzi to a Vatican Professorship, Professor of Natural Philosophy, at the University of Rome in 1848. He was an Italian orthodox physician and Professor of Philosophy who converted to homeopathy (see below).

Pope Pius IX defended Jean Paul Tessier senior and granted him the Order of St. Gregory the Great for his homeopathic research, and in 1860, Pope Pius IX awarded homeopath Friedrich Wilhelm Karl Fleischmann the Order of St. Gregory the Great.

Pope Pius IX posthumously bestowed upon Father Augustus Muller the Apolistic Benediction in 1905. Father Augustus Muller (1784-1849) was a German orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy*, he was the grandson of Johann Augustine Muller, a teacher of Samuel Hahnemann. Father Augustus Muller was the founder of the Father Muller Medical College in Mangalore, which is still thriving to this day. (See my post on Fr Muller here)

Pope Pius IX also awarded Josephin Aime Peladan, the brother of Adrien Peladan junior, the Order of Saint Sylvester. Pope Pius IX also granted Absolution to Giovanni Costa for placing himself in the hands of a homeopathic physician (Ladelci).

Adrien Peladan senior (1815-1890) was a French journalist, occultist and Rosicrucian, and student of Samuel Hahnemann. Adrien Peladan junior (1844-1885) was one of the first French homeopaths who worked at the Hahnemann Hospital in Paris. Giovanni Costa (1826-1903) was an Italian landscape painter and revolutionary.

Cesare Mattei (1809-1896) was an Italian Aristocrat and lay practitioner, who developed a form of therapy called Electro Homeopathy, which is widely enjoyed today as Spagyric medicine. Pope Pius IX made Cesare Mattei a Count in honour of his achievements, and also appointed him Treasurer of Bologne.

NB: Electro Homeopathy is not related to homeopathy at all, and at the time, homeopaths were quite upset that these remedies were distributed by the Geneva Electro Homeopathic Institute headed by the pharmacist Albert Sauter (1846-1896), a former collaborator and representative of Cesare Mattei. Nonetheless, these remedies were widely distributed throughout Europe, though true homeopathic pharmacies refused to stock them, and many homeopaths wrote articles condemning them.

Francois Perrussel (1807-1872) was a French orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become a student of Samuel Hahnemann, and he was also the Editor of the Bulletin de l’ Art de Guêrir. Francois Perrussel used homeopathy successfully on the horses in the army, the results were so successful that he was refused permission to continue his clinical trials by the Minister of War!

In 1854 Francois Perrussel attended a cholera epidemic in the South of France amongst the poor. His mortality rate was 5-7 per cent, whilst the allopaths’ mortality rate was nearer 90 per cent. In 1863, he was named Chevalier of the Order of Charles III. Sue Young also tells us,

When the sweating sickness and cholera appeared in Champagne in 1854, Perrussel and Dr. Petit obtained a special commission from the Minister to carry medical aid to unhappy victims. Both were rewarded with gold medals. In 1847 he received a special apostolic letter from Pope Pius IX in remembrance of his work The Truth in Medicine Found and Demonstrated by the Laws of Universal Attraction.

Young tells us Giovanni Ettore Mengozzi (?1811-1882) was an Italian orthodox physician and Professor of Philosophy who converted to homeopathy and was appointed by Pope Pius IX as Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Rome in 1848. Giovanni Ettore Mengozzi founded the Royal Homeopathic Institute of Naples in 1864, and he was the founder and President of La Scuola Italica in 1862. Mengozzi wrote to Charles Darwin to praise his works, and on 15th December 1880, Charles Darwin accepted membership of Giovanni Ettore Mengozzi’s La Scuola Italica.

Pope Gregory XVI 1765 – 1846
Pope Gregory XVI, born Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari, who took the religious name Mauro as a member of the religious order of the Camaldolese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1831 to 1846.

Pope Gregory XVI was favourably impressed by the ability of homeopathy to combat the cholera epidemics sweeping Europe at this time, and he awarded the Grand Cross to Settimio Centamori for his work in combating these terrible epidemics,

Pope Gregory XVI issued the official permission that allowed Johann Wilhelm Wahle to practice homeopathy in the Vatican, where he became the homeopathic physician to the Vatican Jesuit Convent.

In 1845, Pope Gregory XVI awarded Comte Sebastien Gaeten Salvador Maxime Des Guidi the Order of Saint Sylvester. He converted to homeopathy to become the first homeopath in France, and one of the founders of the homeopathic hospitals in Paris and in Geneva, and the President and founder of the Société Lyonnaise Homeopathic. 

Pope Gregory XVI awarded Charles Ozanam, a French orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, the Order of Saint Gregory the Great, and he also awarded homeopathy the privilege of a Papal Bull, allowing the administration of homeopathic remedies by priests in emergencies, in the absence of a doctor.

Pope Gregory XVI sought to open a homeopathic hospital at this time, but opposition from the allopathic physicians, and the decline of cholera all coincided to prevent this happening. (click here)

Pope John Paul II, born Karol Jozef Wojtyla 1920 – 2005 served as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death over 26 years later. Pope John Paul II was a homeopathic patient of Francesco Eugenio Negro.

Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa, who had a special interest in homeopathic medicine because of its effectiveness and low cost. Mother Teresa opened her first charitable homeopathic dispensary in Calcutta in 1950. She even prescribed homeopathic medicines herself sometimes.

Pope John Paul also beatified Antoine Frederic Ozanam, the brother of homeopath Charles Ozanam, who was himself awarded the Order of Saint Gregory the Great by Pope Gregory XVI in 1862. (click here)

Pope Paul VI (1897 – 1978), born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, reigned as Pope and Sovereign of Vatican City from 1963 to 1978.

Pope Paul VI was the homeopathic patient of Antonio Negro, Pope Paul VI awarded him the Order of St. Gregory for his work in homeopathy. (click here)

For the biography of Dr Antonio Negro (pictured below with Pope Paul VI) visit Sue Young’s histories click here

Antonio Negro Pope Paul VI homeopathy medicine

Paul VI and Antonio Negro

*Fr Muller wasn’t an allopath (see my post on him here).

Further Reading (click on the links below)
Pope Pius ix

Cesare Mattei and Mattei’s electro-homeopathic treatments, Bologna, Italy, 1871-1885. His reference in the science museum’s Brought to Life click here. Mattei’s The Mattei Cancer Cure: A Victorian Nostrum is free to read on JSTOR Visit the Cesare Mattei Museum here
Mother Teresa

Francois Perrussel
Giovanni Ettore Mengozzi
The Muller surname and homeopathy
Adrien Peladan

On Catholics and Medicine: “Why Conscience Matters” – nun and doctor, Mary Diana Dreger, explains three faulty models of medicine Sr Mary Diana Dreger OP, MD video

From homeopathy in the Amazon to the homeless of Belfast – Irish nun used homeopathy in the Amazon

Posted in Philosophy of Medicine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .