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Chris Hodel

A friend told me of your blog. I thought I'd come take a look. Interesting reading.

Apple is not God. One can change Apple to be more appealing to the customer, but you can't Change God. What can be changed is how the Faith is presented, and it can be improved.

Interesting that you profess that Benedict XVI would prefer fewer but more devout Catholics. I'm quite certain that he would much prefer greater numbers of more devout Catholics.

I don't know what knowledge you have of Benedict XVI but it seems that you judge him to be "extreme" and "doctrinaire". My reading of him produces an image of a patient, humble, extremely modest man, not at all Teutonic or harsh.

The product is God, the customers are all humans that ever were or will be. He must be presented as He is to those who are as they are. The challenge is in the fact that we are fallable, willfull, self-centered, in other words, human.

The Church Listens, but it's desire is to hear Truth.

Bob Kaufman

Chris makes an interesting point.

As we used to say at Bain, we may have a business definition problem. Is the Pope in the business of interpreting truth, or is he in the business of amassing followers?

Why do people go to church? It's probably to find truth and the word of God. If that's NOT what they're after, then they probably have better things to do on a Sunday morning. So paradoxically, he may be providing a better product to the faithful by not watering down his message.

However, I'm a big believer that truth encompasses tolerance, understanding, and plurality. Anyone who claims to be interpreting "Truth" had better see that we all see God in our own way. The real question is whether the pope feels he has a monopoly on God's word, or whether other religions also have valid interpretations of God's Truth. This Pope isn't supposed to represent Jews or Muslims, just Catholics. So he can be as purist as he wants to be, as long as he's not judging the customers of other market segments.


Interesting that yesterday's NYTimes headline reads, "Benedict XVI promises dialog and reconciliation". (Only in the paper version, not the online version.

The truth is that the biggest growing market for Catholicism is in Africa and Latin America. There the main issues are ones of social justice, not abortion, birth control, euthanasia, divorce. The Vatican's main competition in Africa is Islam, in Latin America it is the evangelical Christians. So from a market growth perspective, the Vatican is going to get more new members from these markets than from the stagnant Western markets.

I think that at one level of personal development people really really want to believe in the absolute - they want to cling onto something solid. Both Islam and E-C are way more fundamentalist than Catholicism. If you look at the core teachings of the Catholic church you'll see where a lot of the attitudes of the Vatican come from. The West has become more secular. It has embraced relativism. The church emphasizes God over all. The number one commandment is to love God with all one's heart, soul, mind and being. So, they are going to press for more absolutism in the face of Western secularism.


You have some interesting points. Remember though that the reformation occurred because 'the brand' had become watered down. Luther's call was to restore the church to its historical beliefs. The reformation occurred partly becuase the church was not willing to allow itself to be renewed. The rise of German nationalism was another cause.

Also, in today's world the Catholic Church has major competition from the 'evangelical brand'. In Guatemala 25% of the people have switched brands. Why do they switch. They see a vitality of faith they are not seeing in their existing brand.

This is what the previous pope and the new pope are trying to deal with.

There brand has been too liberal and weak and they are attempting to return to the heart of their faith (brand).

That is my take.

Dan Guy

I think that Pope Benedict XVI believes that the best way to grow the brand is to increase quality. This means going to the factories which are rolling out product that does not meet minimum standards of quality and bringing them up to standards or shutting them down entirely. It also means shutting down product lines which do not fit with the overall company direction, and which may have proven distracting to the public.


I have to disagree with your statement that "Ratzinger would prefer to have fewer, but more devout followers." If that were true, he would start excommunicating folks left and right. Given the church's response to the sexual scandals, I just don't see that happening.


Interesting information about Gloss.Com -- we stock some Estee Lauder brands (Darphin is our main one, which they recently took over), and we're facing a growing body of "elite consumers" that order the products online at discount rates from grey/black market retailers.

The quality of service (meaning professional skincare recommendation) that clients receive is probably reduced to near nothing on a black market transaction, but the bottom line is, given an internet connection, Gloss.com is just as accessible as a "poor source."

Our internet-connected clients are increasingly revising and downgrading their notion of prestige skin care, and that's eroded our profits and goodwill.


Great post. Thanks.


Great summary! This is just such exciting stuff. There are so many reasons for nonprofits to blog that it's hard to boil them down to a few, but you've done a great job. The key to all of them -- the nugget of information I think all nonprofits should take away from your post -- is that a blog is about connecting very intimately with the unique audience you're trying to reach. It's so much more than a traditional website, which functions largely as a "billboard" for information. A blog is a place where you can create a community that centers on exactly the issues you want to discuss, with the people you want to have a discussion with. It's like throwing a big dinner party where all the people are interested in exactly the same conversation as you!


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