Find a way out

‘We believe, obviously, a mistake was made there’

Kiernan: “As Pope Paul VI said, violence only begets violence.”

Kiernan: “As Pope Paul VI said, violence only begets violence.”

SN&R Photo By Anne Stokes

“We believe, obviously, a mistake was made there’Father Michael F. Kiernan is the director of the office of Social Service Ministry for the Catholic diocese of Sacramento. This ministry provides social services to individuals and families in need in Sacramento.

SN&R asked him what he tells his parishioners about God and the war, as well as the Church’s role in opposition.

Kiernan: We have, in the Catholic Church, for a long time believed that violence and war does not solve the world’s problems. We can recognize occasional situations—maybe short term or extremely serious situations—where you’ve got to do something to protect yourself. But all other means aside from war should be adopted, and the pope at that time did not believe that had been done. We believe, obviously, a mistake was made there.

But once we’re in it, right now, the challenge is to get the politicians to find a way out.

We believe economics play a huge role in the world, and the whole financial arrangement of the world has to be looked at. Pope Benedict XVI talks about that on many occasions. He did say, in one of his big addresses about a month ago, that nothing good comes out of Iraq, and he is always praying for peace and reconciliation and that a political solution can be found.

The Church is, obviously, not a political party, and I suppose there are always Catholics, just as in other religions—some will see it that way and others will see it another way. But in general the Church has been saying, all the bishops have been saying, that we need to find a way not only out of this unfortunate situation, but to learn from this for the future.

You just keep working at it: encouraging decency and justice, and praying that people will come to their senses and see that violence is not the answer. As Pope Paul VI said, violence only begets violence.