Yesterday, HELEN posted a document from

ICSA (International Cultic Studies Association, formerly AFF), is a secular, nonprofit, tax-exempt research center and educational corporation.

Here are the characteristics suggested for recognising a cult:

1. The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

2. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

3. The group is preoccupied with making money.

4. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

5. Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

6. The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth).

7. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).

8. The group has a polarized us- versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.

9. The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

10. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

11. The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.

12. Members’ subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.

13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.

14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.


1. RCs are focused on a living religious leader – the pope

2. The RCs evangelise and convert.

3. The RCC is preoccupied with making money.

4. The RCC prohibits and punishes questioning, doubt, and dissent.

5. The RCC has always used techniques to stop people questioning it and its leaders – Counter Reformation, Spanish Inquisition, burning at the stake, excommunication, suspending priests cancling priests.

6. The RCC tells people how they should live and think.

7. The RCC is elitist, claims an exalted position for itself, and its leader is God’s representative on earth.

8. The RCC is us versus them – anti world and anto society.

9. The pope is not accountable to anyone on earth.


Can. 331 The bishop of the Roman Church, in whom continues the office given by the Lord uniquely to Peter, the first of the Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, is the head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church on earth. By virtue of his office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.

Can. 332 §1. The Roman Pontiff obtains full and supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with episcopal consecration. Therefore, a person elected to the supreme pontificate who is marked with episcopal character obtains this power from the moment of acceptance. If the person elected lacks episcopal character, however, he is to be ordained a bishop immediately.

§2. If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.

Can. 333 §1. By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power over the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power over all particular churches and groups of them. Moreover, this primacy strengthens and protects the proper, ordinary, and immediate power which bishops possess in the particular churches entrusted to their care.

§2. In fulfilling the office of supreme pastor of the Church, the Roman Pontiff is always joined in communion with the other bishops and with the universal Church. He nevertheless has the right, according to the needs of the Church, to determine the manner, whether personal or collegial, of exercising this office.

§3. No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 334 Bishops assist the Roman Pontiff in exercising his office. They are able to render him cooperative assistance in various ways, among which is the synod of bishops. The cardinals also assist him, as do other persons and various institutes according to the needs of the times. In his name and by his authority, all these persons and institutes fulfill the function entrusted to them for the good of all the churches, according to the norms defined by law.

Can. 335 When the Roman See is vacant or entirely impeded, nothing is to be altered in the governance of the universal Church; the special laws issued for these circumstances, however, are to be observed.

10. The RCC believes the end justifies the means – i.e., a baby can not be aborted to save the life of the mother.

11. The RCC engenders guilt in members in order to control them.

12. The RCC insists that everything else is subservient to the God they describe and promote.

13. The RCC expects people to give a great deal of time and money to it.

14. The RCC encourages people to associate with other RCCs and avoid enemies of the RCC.

For instance, the RCC used to have two types of excommunicated:

A. TOLERATI” – the excommunicated with which RCCs could have social (not spiritual) intercourse with.

B. “VITANDUS” – the excommunicated who should be totally and absolutely SHUNNED.

You could not even by a loaf of bread from them.

What do the readers think?

Is the RCC a cult?