All of this so far would be merely an academic curiosity, another example of zany religious clerics making odd declarations based on ever odder historical precedents. But The Catholic Church is also a heavy activist, and has caused uncountable numbers of poor people in South America and Africa to become infected with HIV and other STD s, contributed to the dangerous population explosion, and undermined charity organisations that support birth control, such as when the Birmingham Catholic Church boycotted Comic Relief because money raised might go to a family planning clinic that gave access to contraceptions to street children. The Catholic Church causes very real suffering amongst very poor people as a result of its impractical policies.
According to anthropologists John Monaghan and Peter Just, "Many of the great world religions appear to have begun as revitalization movements of some sort, as the vision of a charismatic prophet fires the imaginations of people seeking a more comprehensive answer to their problems than they feel is provided by everyday beliefs. Charismatic individuals have emerged at many times and places in the world. It seems that the key to long-term success – and many movements come and go with little long-term effect – has relatively little to do with the prophets, who appear with surprising regularity, but more to do with the development of a group of supporters who are able to institutionalize the movement."