What specific accountability is there within the organization you are discussing?
Is there a democratically elected board that can reprimand and potentially dismiss the leader?
What financial transparency is there? Is there an independently audited financial statement or budget published and made public that discloses in detail all salaries, compensation and expenses of the group?
When leaders don't have meaningful accountability they can be seen as totalitarian.
Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who wrote the definitive book about thought reform (often called "brainwashing") also wrote a paper about cult formation. Lifton defined a cult as having the following three characteristics:
1. A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power.
2. A process [is in use] call[ed] coercive persuasion or thought reform.
3. Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.
The Roman Catholic Church does not fit the criteria of a "cult." Actually, though there are many cults very few religious groups fits that definition.