Matt C. Abbott
Father Pavone's mention of Cardinal Bernardin
By Matt C. Abbott
July 26, 2018

Below is a thoughtful email (slightly edited) sent to me by "Jane Doe" in response to my July 23 column:
    I am closing in on 77, and as best I am still able, support 'pro-life' but mostly 'anti-abortion' causes. Always enjoy your columns, your fairness and especially your remembrance of the Father Alfred Kunz situation. We belonged to St. Mary's Oratory in Rockford, Illinois for many years, and a number of his devotees came down from the Madison area for Sunday Mass after he was murdered. I was able to attend the funeral Mass of Father Kunz's great friend, Father Charles Fiore, who, although he died in Wisconsin, requested his Requiem be said at our parish by our pastor, Canon Brian Bovee.

    I am writing because I am disappointed in Father Frank Pavone quoting Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, as there are so many, many others he could have used to make that same point. Since the cardinal also stood for, was complicit or silent about, many issues that have harmed the Church, I don't see the advantage of furthering his memory or his statements to new generations that will now remember more favorably the many issues where his judgment was so questionable.

    While almost no one is all bad, I would guess that everyone who has tolerated or ignored evil has also said many good things. While a scholar should study these things, promoting them to the general public is debatable. This mixture of good and questionable seems to be often true by the hierarchy of the Church. Perhaps an example would be many statements by the USCCB. What purpose did it serve the abortion issue to be once again associated with a cleric who was associated with so many questionable things? I don't understand. It would be sinful for me to deal in assigning motives.

    I am sorry you published this. I know your determination to always bring to light much of our Holy Church's recent shameful failings. I am surprised you would send this out unless you have a very good reason. I will always presume your good will, and perhaps someday I will know why you printed this. In the meantime, I am respectfully disappointed.

    I am old, tired and beaten down by many years of protest at the outrageous Rockford abortuary. Personally, I have spent enough time there to have been hit by the car of abortionist Ragsdale's wife, been in jail, and spent countless hours with unwed moms and the children they did not abort. I regret none of it, although the satanic atmosphere at 10th and Broadway was often palatable and has left its mark. I feel like I may be jaded as Rockford was a particularly vicious atmosphere in which to peacefully protest, compared to other areas where I have lived and been active, e.g. Colorado Springs, Indianapolis and others.

    Outside any abortuary, you are standing where God's children are being destroyed a few yards away, so it is always heartbreaking and never easy. But the threats, the pornographic filth endured there for years with the almost total lack of clergy support, has left me jaded as well as weary. So if I am wrong about this, perhaps it is my past personal experiences that shade my opinion. I see nothing helpful in praising and promoting Cardinal Bernardin. I am old enough to remember well his style of supporter and how it influenced the clergy and then trickled down to manifesting disdain for those of us on the street.

    I sincerely ask that you not use my name if you choose to debate my thoughts in your column. Thank you for your years of good work and especially, thank you for keeping Father Kunz's memory alive. I pray you are not offended by this letter of disagreement.
© 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 MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 'Unsolved' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and other media outlets. In 2005 and 2006, he was among the first writers to expose former cardinal Theodore McCarrick's abuse of power with and sexual harassment of seminarians. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome thoughtful feedback and story ideas. If you want our correspondence to remain confidential, please specify as such in your initial email to me. However, I reserve the right to forward and/or publish emails that are accusatory, insulting or threatening in nature, even if they're marked confidential. Also, if you give me permission to publish a quote of yours, please do not contact me at a later time to request that I delete your name. Only in limited circumstances will I quote anonymous sources. Thank you and God bless!)


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