Answer to the Crisis? Solidarity

Caritas President Points to "Occasion for Growth"

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By Sergio Estrada

MEXICO CITY, FEB. 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Even if the financial crisis is spread throughout the world, this is no time for discouragement, says the leader of Caritas Internationalis.

Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga affirmed this at a conference this week in Mexico, sponsored by the Instituto Mexicana de Doctrina Social Cristiana (Mexican Institute of Christian Social Doctrine).

"The crisis is generalized but we must not be discouraged," the Honduran cardinal affirmed. "The Church isn't a dead organization and she responds in times of crisis. This time of scarcity is an occasion for growth, and solidarity is the solution."

Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga called the Incarnation a manifestation of solidarity. And, he said, the Christian should never take an attitude of "let he who can save himself." Instead the faithful must hear Christ's call to solidarity.

Contending that the crisis is not so much economic as ethical, he said that when the human being marginalizes ethics from life, crises flourish.

What is important, the prelate affirmed, is that society not fall into "Cain's syndrome," which is not to bother about others.

Instead, he encouraged, all must work against this situation as children of God and help one another, thereby avoiding related consequences of poverty, such as the spread of violence and organized crime.

Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga urged the creation of networks of solidarity and mentioned Caritas by way of example.

Helping neighbors

Today, a Knights of Columbus summit in New York City echoed the cardinal's invitation to solidarity. The conference was called "A Nation of Neighbors Helping Neighbors: A Summit on Volunteerism as a Response to the Economic Crisis."

A statement from the men's group cited the invitation of Supreme Knight Carl Anderson: "If greed -- one of the worst aspects of human nature -- helped push us into this crisis, then one of the best aspects of our nature -- generosity -- will be necessary to help pull us out of it."

The summit gathered representatives from about 40 organizations to focus on fostering volunteerism, as the recession has made needs more acute.