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Microlending: no longer just a third world thing

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Last August, I wrote a story about how micro loans represent a healthy and constructive alternative for the poor versus the voracious payday loan companies.

The recession-depression we are in has accelerated microloans for small businesses in the U.S. and it's making a difference, as reported in NPR's story on All Things Considered, "Coming To America: Third World Microlending."

The story focuses on a small business entrepreneur named Ryan Fochler who took out a microloan from the Latino Economic Development Corporation, a nonprofit microlender based nearby in Washington, D.C. Because of the small loan, Fochler has been able to expand his business from 75 customers in 2004 to 2,300 today.

Fochler is now urging Congress and the Obama administration to get behind microlending.

Crisis Mis-Management

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They troll the halls of power, ride in speeding elevators to the top floors of corporate influence, and mix among the elites everywhere – everywhere, it seems, except the Catholic church.

They are the grey-suited men and women who, since at least Watergate and the growth of high-speed mass media, have practiced the precision art called “crisis management.”

I was in the news business long enough to know more than a few of them, and know that what they taught to titans in trouble was the truth. It worked. And the people who did not heed their advice generally did so because the truth to was too hot to handle.

Crisis management in our age boils down to two simple Golden Rules:


  1. Get all the bad stuff out there.

  2. And get it out there as fast as you can.

It sounds counter-intuitive, against the basic human survival instinct. When something goes wrong, we circle the wagons, protect the clan, and wait for the danger to blow over. But crisis managers know that nothing blows over anymore. They understand that in modern times the truth will always come out – the best you can hope for is to control it and label it.

Fr. Lombardi: church commitment against child abuse

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VATICAN CITY, 27 MAR 2010 ( VIS ) - Given below is the text of a note released by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., entitled "Vigil of Holy Week".

"The question of the sexual abuse of minors by members of the Catholic clergy has continued to receive wide coverage in the communications media of many countries, especially in Europe and North America , coverage which has continued over recent days following the publication of the Pope's Letter to the Catholics of Ireland.

"This is no surprise. The nature of the question is such as to attract the attention of the media, and the way in which the Church deals with it is crucial for her moral credibility.

"The truth is that the cases that have come to public attention generally took place some time ago, even decades ago, although recognising them and making amends with the victims is the best way to restore justice and to achieve that 'purification of memory' which enables us to look to the future with renewed commitment, with humility and trust.

'Emergency bishops' synod' in the offing?

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According to a report in a British paper, Pope Benedict XVI is under mounting pressure to call an emergency synod of bishops from around the world. The purpose? To hammer out a new strategy to deal with the worsening child abuse scandal.

Writing in the Independent from Rome, John Phillips cites unnamed Vatican sources as saying that a number of Roman Catholic prelates have strongly urged the the Vatican that such an extraordinary synod be held "on the grounds that the German pontiff and the Vatican evidently cannot cope effectively on their own with the spiralling image crisis."

Women's ordination advocates bring message to Vatican embassy

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The Vatican embassy in Washington D.C. probably has other matters on its mind with the publication in The New York Times of articles drawing into greater question the pope's role in the handling of clergy sex abusing priests while he headed the Munich archdiocese and while he headed the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

Nevertheless, embassy staffers looking out the embassy window yesterday had to contend with some 20 supporters of the Women’s Ordination Conference who were there with signs to celebrate the 16th Annual World Day of Prayer for Women’s Ordination.

WOC members made the point that this year’s day of prayer coincides with the Vatican declared "Year of the Priest" - a year of honoring the priesthood that ends with a jubilee celebration at St. Peter's this June.

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October 24-November 6, 2014

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