Matt C. Abbott
Priests react to Rittenhouse verdict
By Matt C. Abbott
November 20, 2021

Two well-known activist priests have very different views on the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. Rittenhouse, 18, was found not guilty of all charges on Nov. 19 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Father Michael Pfleger of the Archdiocese of Chicago posted the following statement (lightly edited) on his Facebook page in response to the verdict:

    This is why people do not trust, deal with, or believe in the justice system. The complete exoneration of Kyle Rittenhouse is a travesty and a reminder how unjust and unfair the justice system is. While the judge may not have done anything illegal, his definite bias to the defense was obvious. While it may be 2021, the scales of justice continue to be unbalanced and broken!

I asked Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, to respond to Pfleger’s statement if he so desired. Pavone’s statement (lightly edited) is as follows:

    Wow, I guess Father Pfleger wanted to be part of the jury! But he wasn’t. And that’s how our system works. We abide by the jury’s decision.

    Our founding fathers knew what they were doing. Many today do not. The media, the enemy of the people, tried to create an environment where a guilty verdict was all but guaranteed. We should not play into their efforts.

    This jury was courageous, working against that pressure, and we should be thankful for that. It is that kind of courage and levelheadedness which, contrary to Father Pfleger’s statement, actually increases the trust the people have in our trial by jury system. Furthermore, when we have a president who pre-judges a fellow citizen of white supremacy, that is the problem.

    Let’s go, Brandon!

Another priest, Father Richard Heilman of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, posted on his Facebook page in response to the verdict: “Praise God!”

And Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee released the following statement in response to the verdict:

    During times like these with severe division among people and the potential for social unrest, it is important for us to remember Jesus’ commandment to Love One Another.

    As Americans, we rely upon the rule of law and our justice system, which ensures the rights of all our citizens.

    We need to remember that every individual is made in the image and likeness of God, and therefore we need to follow the two great commandments—love God, and love your neighbor as yourself. By doing this, we recognize the human dignity in every person and treat each other with respect and love.

© 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 also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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