Here comes the cavalry. Will it be enough, and in time?

It remains to be seen whether the rescue plan offered by the Bush Administration will pull America back from the brink of a widespread economic catastrophe. As it is, these are tough times for people of lesser means than the Wall Street bank types currently in the news.

As CS&T staff writer Christie Chicoine documents in this issue, the Church’s social ministry, specifically through archdiocesan Catholic Social Services and parishes, faces rising needs of people pinched by the sluggish economy.

While we wait for the resolution of the financial crisis and pray for the best, we can take action today as perhaps we should have been doing during the boom times. Supporting the well-managed system of Catholic Social Services in the Archdiocese is as simple as donating to Catholic Charities at Helping the needy at home is as easy as placing a gift in your church’s poor box.

It’s also a good time to examine the cause behind our current troubles. Greed, in the seductive guise of a desire for a better standard of living, is the deep taproot of many of the troubles the United States faces today, the financial crisis being just one.

Greed drove bankers and other lenders to issue risky mortgages, sacrificing tomorrow’s security for today’s quick profit. Closer to home, greed caused middle-class homeowners to buy more than lay beyond the means of salary but attainable through easy credit.

Of course one may spend one’s money as one wishes. But how does one justify spending lavishly when one fails to give generously in order to help other people, even while food shelters close their doors due to lack of much-needed food? This actually happened recently at a St. Vincent De Paul site in Darby.

At about the time that some investment banks and insurers were collapsing, Pope Benedict XVI was celebrating Mass in Paris Sept. 13. In his roles as teacher and pastor, he held up a mirror to our country and Western society. The Holy Father called “money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even knowledge” pagan idols that constitute a plague on modern society.

Idols spanert humanity from our true destiny and from the truth about ourselves, Pope Benedict said, and they prevent us from “recognizing that Christ is the sole, true Savior, the only one who points out to man the path to God.”

The sin of greed has spawned the current economic unrest. But with the eyes of faith we see the opportunity for a change of heart, a renewed conversion to our Savior with the help of the Holy Spirit. As we remember that money and possessions never satisfy, we also pray, “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.”