Matt C. Abbott
April 4, 2004
Murdered Catholic priest knew too much?
By Matt C. Abbott

The Rev. Alfred J. Kunz was a priest known and consulted by many in the Catholic Church. He was a canon lawyer, meaning he had thorough expertise in the laws of the Church the Code of Canon Law, as it is known. And he was a friend of the late eminent theologian Fr. John Hardon, S.J., the late Fr. Charles Fiore, and the late Catholic author Malachi Martin.

In March of 1998, Fr. Kunz was found brutally murdered. And his murder remains unsolved. For a little background of the case, I give you the following text, provided by Detective Kevin Hughes of the Dane County Sheriff's Office:

"On March 4, 1998, at 7:00 a.m., the body of Fr. Alfred J. Kunz, DOB 4/15/30, was found in the hallway of St. Michael School. The school is in the Village of Dane, population approximately 600, located in rural Dane County 5 miles northwest of Madison, Wis., the state capital.

"Fr. Kunz was the victim of a homicide. His throat was cut with an edged weapon severing the carotid artery. He died as a result of blood loss. The body was discovered by a teacher arriving at the school and was found lying in the hallway near the door to the father's living quarters in the school. All the doors to the school were locked and there was no sign of forced entry.

"Fr. Kunz was a traditional Roman Catholic priest, who had served at St. Michael Church for 32 years. He had strong traditional orthodox Roman Catholic views that were evidenced by the fact that he conducted Latin Masses as well as English Masses. He was an expert in canon law, the law of the Church, and as such many people nationwide consulted with him.

"On the night prior to the homicide, Fr. Kunz participated in the taping of a religious radio talk program, which was to be aired at a later date. After the taping, at 10:00 p.m., he was dropped off at St. Michael Church/school by another priest. Subsequent to that, at about 10:30 p.m., he had a phone conversation with another priest.

"Investigators believe the killer is someone that Fr. Kunz knew and is familiar with the village and St. Michael's. Fr. Kunz was probably not fearful of the killer. The attack was cowardly, unprovoked, and unexpected. The particular motive is unknown but may be related to jealousy, revenge, betrayal, or any other issue which was personal to the killer...."

There are, of course, theories about who might have been behind Fr. Kunz's murder. The prominent theory is that he was killed because he "knew too much." About what? About the misconduct of some of his fellow clergy, whom he dealt with extensively.

In fact, Fr. Kunz was an advisor to the Illinois-based Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF), an organization headed by lay Catholic activist Stephen Brady and dedicated to promoting orthodox Catholic teaching and fighting heterodoxy and corruption within the Catholic hierarchy. RCF investigated the misdeeds of the now-former bishop of Springfield, Ill., Daniel Ryan. (For more information about RCF's work, visit www.rcf.org.)

The police are, understandably, very tight-lipped about the status of their investigation into the Fr. Kunz homicide an investigation that reportedly has included the interviewing of over 2,000 people. But, to my knowledge, it does continue.

Hopefully, this case can and will be solved.and sooner rather than later.

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He has been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR and WLS-TV in Chicago, and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.

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