Pape François

Memo to Pope Francis

Memo to :                   Pope Francis

Cc:                               Urbi et Orbi

From :                          Line, Clare & Co

Date:                            June 20th 2018 AD

Re:                                Audit


Your Holiness,

Following the resignation last month of the entire board of your Chilean subsidiary, we have carried out an audit of your organisation, summarised hereunder along with our recommendations.


Executive summary

While expanding globally, your organisation has consistently been losing market share in your core European market for over half a century. Once renowned for the clarity of its message (“Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no“), your communications strategy is now often perceived to be confused. We recommend that you focus on your core product, Eternal Life, and that you position it as premium product, not to be discounted.


Offsite (1962-1965)

Even though a minority of your staff and some customers repudiated the decisions taken at your Offsite, most went along with its core findings. Fifty years on though, you need to challenge the way its decisions were implemented and not just blame loss of market share on external factors, however real.


Market share

As a global firm, you need to be present in all markets; Figure 1 below shows how you are positioned in each of them by measuring your market share against its growth rate.

This seemingly well-balanced positioning belies the fact that the current sizes of the European and American markets are much larger than the African one, not to mention the Asian market, still in its infancy.



Experience suggests that your top-down approach to management, tested over 2,000 years, has revealed itself to be robust; with the benefit of hindsight, it proved itself surprisingly well suited to the peak of your global expansion from the 16th to the 19th centuries.



Your organisation used to be known for its crystal clear communications, but no longer. Latin, a crisp, synthetic language, offered a unique way of addressing your client’s spiritual needs that no competitor could match; such was its appeal that even the illiterate wanted to buy your product. Nowadays, coupled with the looser management culture that has prevailed since your Offsite, head office spokesmen come across as garbled, confused and even contradictory. Most recently, this confusion has led local managers, most notably in Germany, openly to oppose corporate policy as described in your policies and procedures.


Product positioning

We strongly recommend that you position your product as a premium brand, as it used to be. Debasing the currency, as it were, has hardly ever been a winning strategy in the long run. The key here lies in making your product feel timeless– something that never looses value, like a Patek Philippe watch; by contrast, make it too trendy and people will soon loose interest. Always remember Coco Chanel’s dictum: “La mode, c’est ce qui se démode”. There is evidence that the abandonment of this premium positioning has facilitated the emergency of budget competitors, particularly in Latin America, offering ever-expanding varieties of cheap religion.

Research also shows that product quality correlates with high recruitment levels, low staff turnover and corporate loyalty while the opposite holds true once the brand is devalued. There is evidence to suggest that this may have been happening.



Demand for rituals is part of human nature – just think of those fútbol fans all over the world, who spontaneously develop their own chants. Drawing upon your rich cultural tradition, a selected use of Latin during your weekly Sunday sessions will lend your product a much needed touch of class and allow you to tap the insatiable demand for ritual and majesty, as the recent royal wedding just reminded us.  (*) Your job is then to ensure the consistency between the packaging and the end product as not to disappoint your customer.

(*) your founder was, after all, himself of royal blood


Code of ethics

No global entity can do without a Code of Ethics these days. You have one at hand, inherited from your predecessor firm, summarised in Ten bullet points, which you should observe at all times; and when it reads “don’t do it”, well, that is exactly what is meant. For, as Groucho Marx might have observed, “Who wants to be part of a club where no membership rules apply?”


Final considerations

There is no doubt that loose marketing and lack of corporate discipline have damaged your brand over the past half-century or so. Though weakened, your market position remains strong, as does untapped demand for your product. As a man close to the people, you will appreciate the common saying that goes, where there is hope, there is (eternal) life.

Focus on your core product, restore and maintain its sacred beauty, keep your eyes on the orbem terrarum at all times and, above all, do not throw the Baby Jesus with the holy water.

Yours faithfully (obviously),

Line, Clare & Co

Management Consultants

Dominique de la Barre

Dominique de la Barre est un Belge de l'étranger naturalisé suisse, amateur d'histoire et du patrimoine culturel européen, attaché aux questions liées à la transmission.

8 réponses à “Memo to Pope Francis

  1. Bravo Dominique,
    Finesse, humor and common sens. Loved the Ten Bullet Points !!
    Perhaps in the Market Share Fig. 1, the arrow pointing downwards could be longer than the other three ?
    Are you sure there were no cyber (of course) attacks ?
    What about GDPR (God Does Prefer Righteousness) ?
    I thought Groucho Marx said “Why would I want to join a club that wants me as a member?” (eyebrows raising).
    Let me know if your Client needs legal advice. Happy to oblige. Eric

  2. BTW I hope you were able to convey your message to His Holiness yesterday in Geneva

  3. Excellent Dominique!
    A pleasure to read a text of such finesse and depth.
    Well done!

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