Brand values are reflected throughout everything the organization does. The author sees the Vatican as a sort of a competitive disadvantage for the Catholic Church compared to other churches, because these other churches do not have anyone to "impose additional restrictions" on their practitioners. Yet any organization beyond a certain size needs to have some kind of central body to clarify and maintain its core values.
But the problem here -- the cause of the current scandal -- is of people not behaving in accordance with Catholic values, not the values themselves. Zarafe proposes that the Church change its values, and eliminate the governing body that helps maintain them, instead of changing the behavior of those who are not in alignment with those values.
Great brands are managed by someone senior enough in the organization to have authority across all dimensions -- typically the CEO himself/herself or a direct report. The main reason that the Catholic Church does not need a brand manager is that in effect it already has one: Pope John Paul II. One of the most dynamic popes in recent history, John Paul II is in many ways the ideal brand manager, in that he has the authority needed to manage a vast global organization, and the intelligence, charisma and holiness to go with it.
While the values remain consistent, non-core elements are constantly evolving. Throughout his pontificate, the current pope has been leading the Church through the difficult work of implementing the changes developed in the Second Vatican Council. In terms of style of worship, approach to evangelization, and inter-religious dialogue, these changes are momentous and challenging. Some have had difficulty accepting them, while others think they are inadequate. Through all of this, Pope John Paul II has presented a clear vision and direction for the Church in the third millennium, in a series of homilies, letters, and other communications; he has met face to face with individuals and groups of all sizes to share this vision, both in Rome and around the world on a 20-plus year travel schedule that would exhaust the most energetic CEO.
As an institution peopled by human beings, the Church is almost constantly in need of reform. But the objectives are not those of other institutions. As theologian Martin Buber once said, "Success is not one of the names of God." While the Church wishes for all to find happiness that is everlasting, and strives toward that, it does not measure success by annual growth rates, and still less by public opinion.
The Catholic Church does not need a brand manager because it already has one, perhaps one of the most effective ever. What the Church does need, has always needed and has always endeavored to foster are more saints: people who are so filled with the love of God that they are willing to put themselves in the service of others, for God's sake.