The Impact of Cults on Health in Society

Organized by GEMPPI

Marseilles 2004


European Federation of Centres of Research and Information on Sectarianism

1, rue Proudhon, F 29200 Brest

FECRIS has obtained the agreement of the various speakers before diffusing the texts of their intervention and abstract.

The lectures are included in this work in their original language or have been translated.

The abstracts of the conferences may be found attached to the lectures.


With the support of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Regional Council,the Bouches-du-Rhône General Council and with the assistance of the Espace Ethique Méditerranéen (Mediterranean Ethics Organisation) and the Centre d’Etude et de Recherches en Ethique Médicale – CEREM (Study & Research Centre into Medical Ethics), FECRIS held this conference on 27th and 28thMarch 2004 in Marseilles, on the theme of “The Impact of Cults on Health in Society”. 

The idea and the planning for this meeting, held in four languages, was impeccably carried out by the GEMPPI association, the French member of FECRIS in the Espace Ethique Méditerranéen premises which were generously made available for the conference.

We thank them very much.

We must thank the staff in charge of the Espace Ethique Méditerranéen, and in particular Dr. Perrine Malzac, the Director, as well as her staff, who worked far beyond their professional obligations in order to carry out this project. We would like to send a special thank-you to our technical assistant, Corinne Ignesti.

We would also like to send our heartfelt thanks to the 15 speakers, who gave such high standard presentations leading to passionate debate over the two deeply fulfilling days.

We also extend our gratitude to Claudine Rigal for writing the abstracts based on her handwritten notes taken over the course of the talks and the debates. These extracts were submitted to the speakers and were widely approved. She also made the Analysis and Synthesis of the conferences. 

Thanks to Friedrich Griess for his help in checking of the texts before publication and for his management of the German translation and also to Suzanne Nokin for the carrying out of this document.

This was a chance for the 43 associations from the FECRIS network to exchange their experiences acquired over ten years, to compare their points of view and to learn from their different approaches.

The very lively debates showed just how important it is to look beyond preconceived ideas and beliefs when we are examining whether or not a given medical practice constitutes a cult, or whether such and such a healthcare practitioner respects people’s integrity. 

With its 27 country network of a variety of faiths and beliefs, different socio-political structures and varied cultures, FECRIS is therefore a great asset for a secular Europe, free from false allegations made by groups or false gurus shamelessly manipulating religion and medicine. 

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