Pope Francis vs Corporations

Pope Francis Thumb's Up
Pope Francis Thumb’s Up

Pope Francis seems to be moving the Catholic Church forward into the new millennia with what some see as controversial but progressive propositions. The first of these for us to examine is the proposition that the church should not have leaders for life, as reported in a Reuter’s News Release:

The Roman Catholic Church should not have “leaders for life” in its ranks, otherwise it would risk being like a country under dictatorship, Pope Francis said on Friday.

“There should be a time limit to positions (in the Church), which in reality are positions of service,” he said in an address that was in part prepared and in part extemporaneous.

It is convenient that all (positions) in the Church should have a time limit. There are no leaders for life in the Church. This occurs in some countries where a dictatorship exists.

Elsewhere he said:

The Pope has issued a strong warning against those tempted by personal charisma to be authoritarian leaders in the Church, describing such leaders as “servants of the devil” … He warned against the temptation for leaders to believe themselves essential to all tasks and described such leaders as “peacocks”… Such people would be drawn by this temptation into considering themselves irreplaceable, and would draw power and domination over others to themselves.

He compared such abuse of leadership in the church to dictatorships.

He asked the crowd present: “Who is the only irreplaceable in the Church?” They responded en mass: “The Holy Spirit!” He repeated the chant: “And who is the one Lord?” They replied: “Jesus!”

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church has just proposed a mandate for expiration dates for those in religious power when their shelf life is exhausted.

Now this is not a problem for at least one of the Armstrongist churches which has as its charter the leader is to retire at 70 years old. The deadline is early October this year. We will have to wait and see if the charter is changed by that time to allow a convenient extension. Nevertheless, a term limit is an excellent idea for religious leaders. Unfortunately, though the Pope probably doesn’t know one thing about any of the 700+ Armstrongist churches (in spite of the claims of some of the Armstrongists), he has just made a proposition which will result in collateral damage to such people as Roderick Meredith, David Pack, Gerald Flurry and Ronald Weinland because these are the sort of people who want to retain control of the church cult corporate for their own purposes of power and money.

Pope Francis
Pope Francis

There’s more bad news for the Armstrongist leaders — Pope Francis is on the attack against corporations:

Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the “dung of the devil.” He does not simply argue that systemic “greed for money” is a bad thing. He calls it a “subtle dictatorship” that “condemns and enslaves men and women.”

He says that the poor have been tossed aside by a “throw away culture”:

Francis has such a strong sense of urgency “because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas,” Mr. Schneck said. “That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff.”

Francis made his speech on Wednesday night, in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, before nearly 2,000 social advocates, farmers, trash workers and neighborhood activists. Even as he meets regularly with heads of state, Francis has often said that change must come from the grass roots, whether from poor people or the community organizers who work with them. To Francis, the poor have earned knowledge that is useful and redeeming, even as a “throwaway culture” tosses them aside. He sees them as being at the front edge of economic and environmental crises around the world.

In Bolivia, Francis praised cooperatives and other localized organizations that he said provide productive economies for the poor. “How different this is than the situation that results when those left behind by the formal market are exploited like slaves!” he said on Wednesday night.

In a previous post, The wonderful world tomorrow — what will it be like… under…, we described the life of Benjamin Dickmann as he demonstrated just what it’s like to be in an abusive corporation run by the Armstrongist leaders. What most people absolutely do not get is that the Armstrongist churches are corporations and are the very picture of the abuse Pope Francis is talking about.

While we covered Moral Mazes in The Corporation of God™, there is so much more evil to the modern corporation, particularly the modern church cult corporation of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia. The underlying problems as touched on by Pope Francis are explored in much greater depth in The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan:

The CorporationBy exploring the material, we can see exactly what is wrong with the Armstrongist churches of God because they have chosen the worst of the Corporate Model and implemented it badly.

The first thing we learn is that the Corporation exists solely to make a profit. There is no social responsibility attached. There is no conscience attached. There is no empathy. The Corporation, though it is fictionalized as being ‘a person’, the Corporation is an ‘it’ — a ‘thing’. The Corporation is positioned to break the law, pollute the world, even kill people (as was the case with the Ethyl Corporation) as long as the maximized profit is more than any penalties. In an ideal world, the Corporation is beholden to no one. There is no real accountability and limited liability for the stakeholders. The Corporation as a ‘legal person’ is a psychopath with all that is attached to that appellation. Moreover, the Corporation externalizes costs to maximize profits, which means that the Corporation does as it can to make others pay for its operations. In many cases, this externalization pushes costs outward to tax payers. For the church cult corporate, the externalization of the costs of Herbert Armstrong’s divorce from Ramona in the amount of $5 million (and court fees) was laid upon the rank and file tithe payer.

People don’t get this is ugly stuff. People don’t want to get that this is ugly stuff. They want to believe that the leadership of their cult is the hero of a spiritual organization. This is sadly evident in the annals of the PKG as Ronald Weinland continues to con them from prison where he is incarcerated as a felon who committed felony Income Tax Evasion. Roderick Meredith externalized the expenses (both monetary and emotional) by wrecking the Global Church of God, yet people continue to follow him as their spiritual guide because he has the best (false) prophecy. We’ve already seen how callous David Pack was in his treatment of low level employees in the Restored Church of God. Gerald Flurry is a malevolent force creating havoc for members, particularly for single young women. There’s no accountability. The Corporate executives shrug off detractors because as far as they are concerned it just doesn’t affect their bottom line of profit and power. In that, there is little difference between their innate behavior and that of Enron.

Returning to Pope Francis, it is likely that the Pope is especially sensitive to insensitive corporations because of the incident in Bolivia:

It all began when the Bolivian government, under pressure from the World Bank to privatize water utilities, contracted with Aguas del Tunarim, the major shareholder of which is Bechtel subsidiary International Water Ltd., to run the water system of Chchabamba, a water starved region in central Bolivia. At the time, Chochabamba, was served by an old and decaying system that did not reach areas of the countryside where many peasants lived. Aguas del Tunari, when it took over the system, raised rates, to up the three times what they had been, and began charging peasants for water they drew from their own wells. The government, in compliance with its contract with the company, passed a law that prohibited people from collecting water from local lagoons, rivers, and deltas, and even rainwater. the company confiscated people’s alternative water systems, without compensation, and placed them under its control. All of these actions, including the rate increases — which imposed sever hardships on many people, according to Oivera — were justified by the company as necessary to meet contractually mandated profit levels.

People organized in the city and in the countryside, with the help of Olivera and others, and demanded that the compoany leave, which it did, eventually, byut only after bloody confrontations between citizens and the police and military. “We started to see many injured youths, young people at sixteen or seventeen years old who lost arms, legs, were left paralyzed, had brain and nervous system injuries, had one young man, Victor Hugo Daza, Killed … there had been five people killed in the countryside,” recalls Olivera. “It was a victory at a real great cost.

The Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia is a corporate entity, split between the two factions of the hierarchical patronage of the bureaucracy: The headquarters elite, represented by Roderick Meredith and the Regional Pastors, represented (originally) by Dennis Luker. If one understands the church cult corporate bureaucracy, the governance of the original WCG was irrational and chaotic at the regional level and above with contentious competition among and between the various centers of power and authority. The two major divisions left with the worst of the corporate model representing the preponderance of the philosophies of each of the entities respectively. This left each faction with severe problems with the ethics, morals and legality of its own.

Why should any of this be a surprise? It’s the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia after all.

The CoHAM has always attracted the evil, vile, the psychopath, the sociopath. Why wouldn’t it? It is the hotbed of all sorts of scams; an opportunity that is irresistible.

This should all so very clear after reading “Snakes in Suits” by Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Babiak, “Moral Mazes” by Robert Jackall (read the twentieth anniversary edition) and “The Corporation” by Joel Bakan.

Why should any of this be a surprise? It’s the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia after all.

The CoHAM has always attracted the evil, vile, the psychopath, the sociopath. Why wouldn’t it? It is the hotbed of all sorts of scams; an opportunity that is irresistible.

This should all so very clear after reading “Snakes in Suits” by Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Babiak, “Moral Mazes” by Robert Jackall (read the twentieth anniversary edition) and “The Corporation” by Joel Bakan.

  1. Each of the sects of the CoHAM are corporations with the “middle management” (read regional pastor and above) living the lies of situational ethics, abstract morality, patronage bureaucracy, networked authority, self-promotion and abject compromise;
  1. Each of the sects of the CoHAM is a cult replete with distorted perceptions and outrageous beliefs, not to mention the bootlicking devotion to “authority” where people are comfortable with letting others do their thinking for them;
  1. Each of the sects of the CoHAM is high maintenance demanding an excess of resources from the ‘membership’ through great sacrifice;
  1. Each of the sects of the CoHAM require absolute loyalty, no matter how immoral, illegal or unethical the leadership may be;
  1. Absolute secrecy is required to cover up misdeeds;
  1. There is constant internal chaos as various parties of the upper echelons of the bureaucracy vie for ascendancy — it is this instability that provides vast opportunities to the narcissist, sociopath and psychopath to scam and manipulate those in the CoHAM;
  1. It is a dysfunctional environment of insanity where fantasy is sold as reality: Anyone remaining in the venue will not be able to be rational for very long;
  1. The CoHAM screws with your priorities so that you do all the wrong things for the wrong reasons while causing you to believe that you are ‘holy’, ‘righteous’ and ‘doing a great work’;
  1. The CoHAM fosters divisions, pitting members against members, often manifesting itself in spying (such as the recent revelations about “The Amazon.com Way” of management.

The structure is highly efficient to induce people to compromise their morals and ethics while making them believe that they are just fine.

It’s disgusting and repulsive.

Just ask yourself (seriously, in those rare moments of honest insight): “Do I really want to associate with members of a cult”?

And the answer to that is extremely telling by revealing what sort of person you are and how much crap you will tolerate to prevent the discomfort of perceived loss in terms of dysfunctional relationships.

It is also how attractive Armstrongism is to the marginal. Denis Michael Rohan was only one of many. David Ben Arial (Chuck Hoover) springs to mind: Apparently he didn’t cause the same damage as Rohan, but he was ejected from Israel and permanently banned.

It should give people pause to realize that by making the utterly ridiculous seem plausible, the stage is set to attract all sorts of darkly insane people.

And so it is, Pope Francis has declared corporations as “dung of the Devil” with a “subtle dictatorship”, decrying their enslavement of people for profit.

It should be clear that the Armstrongist churches of God fit this profile, and, what’s more, each of the fiefdoms have their very own dictator for life.

It isn’t just the doctrines that are worthless, it’s the social order.