CHURCH OPENS DOOR FOR DOMINO'S CULT CONNECTION
Domino's founders closely tied to right-wing causes.
For Thomas Monaghan, the path to heaven is paved with mozzarella cheese.
Monaghan is founder and chief executive officer of Domino's, the biggest home
delivery pizza chain in the world. He's also a regular guest of the Vatican,
founder of a controversial Catholic businessmen's group closely linked to an
authoritarian cult, financial backer of the anti-abortion group Operation
Rescue, and a supporter of anti-left counterinsurgencies in the Third World.
The man who has made millions off pizza was in Toronto recently, trying to
expand his spiritual empire into the souls of Canadian businessmen.
It's not clear just how much control Monaghan has over Domino's franchises in
Canada. The manager of a local Domino's francise says he "isn't allowed to
talk about it." He refers inquires to the Toronto Director of Operations, who
does not return calls.
Domino's International has operations in 20 countries. Domino's Pizza of
Canada Limited, a subsidiary of Domino's International, has become King of
Canadian pizzas in a mere 7 years. From a single store in Winnepeg, the company
now boasts 140 outlets across Canada, with 75 in Ontario and 7 in Toronto.
It is known that Canadian outlets buy all their ingredients from Domino-owned
commissaries. At one of the commissaries, located in Kitchener, all questions
are referred to Domino's headquarters in Michigan.
The man behind this secretive fast-food empire came to Toronto to pave the way
for a branch of his equally shadowy club of Roman Catholic corporate kingpins.
The trip, it appears, was a success. The Catholic archdiocese of Toronto has
given a go-ahead for the establishment of a local chapter of Legatus.
To Catholic leaders, Legatus is an elite Catholic club of millionaries trying
to keep god and Christ alive in the cut-throat world of high finance. To
others, the organization is the financial backbone of a destructive cult
called The Word of God, which maintains absolute control of it's followers
through a practice called shepherding.
Legatus first approached the archdiocese chaplain, monsignor Robert
Charlebois, met with then archbishop Emmett Carter and arranged to have
Monaghan address the diocesan hierarchy.
"(Monaghan) flew in in his own plane with three or four others who were
members of Legatus," says Pearse Lacey, bishop for the western district of
the archdiocese and one of three personal advisors to Carter and archbishop
Aloysius Ambrozic. "He spoke primarily to the subject of Legatus and explained
what it was, and expressed the hope that there was a place for another chapter
in this city."
According to Lacey, Monaghan asked the archbishop for permission to setup shop
in Toronto. "it would be very prudent because people would immediately
question his credability" if he did not have the archbishop's stamp of
approval, Lacey says.
To be eligible to join Legatus, a member has to be the head of a corporation
doing at least $4 million in sales.
"What quickley won my favour was the fact that they were basically a spiritual
organization who recognized that people in high positions often times are more
impoverished by the role of leadership they are placed in," Lacey says. "So I
thought, 'Gee, this is a terrific idea.' They are a group of people in society
and because of their eliteness are very impoverished."
Monaghan is indeed elite. As the founder of Domino's Pizza chain, his personal
wealth is estimated to be more than $400 million. He is also owner of the
Detriot Tigers baseball team.
In an interview in his spacious office in Ann Arbor, Monaghan says he decided
in 1987, after a session with the pope, that he would form an exclusive
organization of Catholic CEOs. "Within an hour of meeting him, I came up with
this idea.... I now believe that establishing Legatus is the reason the lord
put me on this earth," Monaghan says.
Each fall, the group holds weeklong meetings in Rome that include an audience
with the pope. In 1989. Legatus held a three-day event in Washington DC, that
included meetings with George Bush and serveral cabinet members in the White
Legatus - whose headquarters are next door to Monaghan's office - has
established chapters in a number os U.S. cities and is organizing chapters
abroad. Monaghan is chair of the group, while a Domino's vice-president is
Despite Legatus's claim of being apolitical, new right leaders such as Phyllis
Schlafy and Paul Weyrich have participated in it's programs. Phyllis Schlafy a
Legatus member, is well known for her campaign against the U.S. Equal Rights
Amendments, which would have guaranteed equal protection for women, as well as
her hard-line support for Star Wars. Weyrich is one of the key leaders of the
radical right in Washington, DC, and a founder of Jerry Falwell's now defunct
In Los Angeles, a key Legatus organizer also heads a local group that
distributes the literature of the John Birch Society, a far right political
Potential members are told that Legatus' purpose is to improve the spiritual
lives and ethical decision-making of it's members. "If there were a political
dimension in (Legatus), it would cause us (bishops and clergy) to question it
credability," Lacey says.
Even more contraversial than Legatus is Word of God (WOG), whose leaders claim
to have recieved divinely inspired prophecies wherein god is to have said, "I
am going to make you my people in a way which I have never before made any
people my people."
But to be so chosen, there must be total obedience to "the shepherd," the
spiritual leader of individual WOG groups. Members who challenge the authority
of shepherds can be judged as possessed by demons and are subject to traumatic
exorcism rites by WOG leaders. Exorcism, rarely practised in mainstream
churches, is seen by WOG as a means of countering demons of "rebelliousness,
independence, feminism, isolation, etc..," according to a WOG internal document.
Monaghan says he has no ties to WOG. But former and current Domino's employees
say WOG followers are present in significant numbers in Domino's headquarters
in Ann Arbor and recieve preferential treatment at promotion or layoff time. WOG
members have risen to senior executive levels of the pizza chain.
The interconnections of Domino's, Legatus, and Word of God are most clearly
manifest in the person Franciso Zuniga, who is simultaneously the Central
American coordinator of Domino's Pizza and Legatus. He was trained by the
Word of God to be shepherding leader, so that when Monaghan sent him to
Hondouras, he bacame leader of a branch of Sword of the Spirit (SOS).
SOS is led by the Word of God, which trains leaders of SOS branches in
sheperding methods. Other SOS branches operate in Belfast, Beiruit,
Managua, Johannesburg, Manila and a number of U.S. cities.
While no SOS branches exist in Canada, SOS leaders hold rallies in Canadian
cities, mostly in the name of their Catholic evangelical group - Faith,
Intercession, Repentence and Evangelism (FIRE).
According to WOG documents, Monaghan has given substansial sums of money to
the organization, such as a $100,000 matching grant to WOG leader
Ralph Martin's television program.
Monaghan built a huge headquarters building in Ann Arbor in the early 1980's
that included a chapel where daily mass is held fo Catholic employees. The
priest for the chapel, Patrick Egan, is one of two priests in the Word of God
(about 50 per cent of the 1,600 adults in WOG claim to be Catholic).
It was Egan who interested Monaghan in giving financial support to a priest
in rural Hondouras in 1984. The priest, Father Enrique Sylvestre, was the head
of a WOG-like group that was building a presence in Hondouras. Monaghan setup
a tomato sauce packing plant, Domino's francises and a factory that makes
pants for export that retail for $200 per pair.
All the profits get plowed back into Sylvestre's group, the Fortress of God,
which is one of approximately 50 groups around the world that form an umbrella
Lacey says he isn't worried about WOG. "I would look with favour on it." says
Lacey. "It's very kosher. It's very good. There could be abuses, but essentially
the charismatic movement is a healthy movement. You can find kooks anywhere and
abuses everywhere. If I can generalize and put my finger on what the
Word of God is about, it's about providing a mutual, spiritual support in
living out a Christian life. They have come together in some kind of community
living. It doesn't embrace everybody."
Monaghan's commitment apparently doesn't exxtend to Christian charity. Recently,
he told a Detroit audience that a family of four could get by on an annual food
budget of $300 by buying powdered milk and grains in bulk.
Hostility to the Sandinistas is another common ingredient in the WOG and
Monaghan relationship. In 1983, WOG secretly established the Puebla Institute
to publish material critical of the Nicarauguan government. The first book
published by the institue, Christians under Fire, was partly written and
financed by the CIA, according to sources associated with the contras.
After publishing their CIA-funded book, Puebla sent 400 copies to a
professional anti-communist group in Mississauga to distribute to the Canadian
Klaas Brobbel, director of the Canadian branch, of Jesus to the Communist
World, an international organization dedicated to bringing the dwindling
number of reds to Christ, denies any CIA connection to his organization. "We
sell (the Puebla Institute's) literature because we support what they do."
Jesus to the Communist World, onwhose board of directors Brobbel serves, has
been involved in trying to convert communist guerillas in areas of intense CIA
backed and WOG supported countries, like the Philippines and El Salvador.
Monaghan has also become one of the leading sugar daddies to the anti-choice
forces in the U.S.
In a Michigan referndum on public funding of abortions for poor women,
Monaghan was the largest funder of the effort to cut off state aid,
contributing over $110,000 to various groups who oppose a women's choice on
This action sparked a national boycott by the National Organization of Women,
which has issued press statements and conducted picket lines at Domino's
outlets. The committee to boycott Domino's has been joined by groups opposed
to Monaghan's activities in Central America and by a group of affluent
residents in the area of Domino's headquarters threatened by his land use
Recently, Domino's boycott leaders have discovered that a house owned by
Domino's has been used as the headquarters for a Michigan unit of
Operation Rescue, which attempts to block clinics where abortions are
performed. the house is occupied by Father McGrath, a member of the
Word of God.
But Lacey says Monaghan's activities are merely part of being a good
Christian. "We can't just follow a Christian god, Jesus Christ, without
getting off our backsides, sometimes and taking some action."
Reprinted without permission from Toronto based, NOW magazine June 7-13, 1990
By Russ Bellant, Additional Research by Howard Goldenthal