Matt C. Abbott
A Catholic priest's unsolved murder and a Church in crisis
By Matt C. Abbott
October 28, 2018

The following is a reprint of a three-part series on the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz that originally appeared at Catholic World Report in August 2018. I combined the three parts into one lengthy article for this column. Thanks to Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, and Joseph M. Hanneman, who wrote the series (and who mentioned me as a contributor), for permitting me to reprint the series in my column.


The Unsolved Murder of Father Alfred Kunz
By Joseph M. Hanneman

'Man's days are like those of grass; like a flower of the field he blooms; the wind sweeps over him and he is gone, and his place knows him no more.' – Psalm 103:15, from the St. Michael church bulletin, Feb. 22, 1998

MADISON, Wis. – Sheriff's investigators are exploring the possibility that the man who brutally murdered Father Alfred J. Kunz in March 1998 is dead, and they are urging the public to come forward with tips and clues needed to break the case and solve one of the most vexing killings in Wisconsin history.

After a 20-year investigation involving more than 50 detectives and thousands of interviews, the Dane County Sheriff's Office has "multiple" persons of interest in the murder of the traditionalist Catholic priest. Dane County Sheriff David J. Mahoney said investigators believe it's possible the killer himself is dead. This has added urgency to law enforcement appeals for the public to come forward with more information.

"We have to look at the possibility that the person responsible, or others who might have been aware, are dead," Mahoney said in an interview with Catholic World Report. "If that's the case, we'll never solve it unless somebody comes forth with evidence."

Father Kunz, 67, was found with his throat slashed on the morning of March 4, 1998, in a hallway of St. Michael School in the rural enclave of Dane, about 15 miles northwest of Madison. He died from blood loss suffered when his carotid artery was cut during a brief but ferocious struggle with his killer. The massive murder investigation is the most extensive in Dane County history, but has yet to yield an arrest or assignment of blame.

"Where we're at today, we have multiple people of interest, where 12 years ago we were concentrating our efforts on one individual," Mahoney said in an extensive interview at the Dane County Public Safety Building. "We have multiple individuals who we would consider to be persons of interest, who either have motive or had a pattern of practices, maybe in the area of burglaries. We've looked at this as a crime of passion, we've looked at this as being a crime of opportunity – a burglary that was interrupted."

New leads developed in the case over the past year have expanded the list of persons of interest. This development comes as one of the early persons of interest, a former St. Michael teacher who found Kunz's body, has now been cleared of involvement in the crime. Mahoney wants members of the public who might have information to take a fresh look at memories from 1998 and in the years after. Investigators are hoping someone comes forward with information that can tip the case to a solution.

"Over the years, some of our witnesses and people with knowledge have died, and with them goes the information," Mahoney said. "That's one of the reasons we pushed more information out on the 20th anniversary. If there were family members of people who passed (away), or friends or associates or even somebody who heard something, we want to try to try to bring them out into the open at this point. Before we lose more people."

Father Kunz was a sign of contradiction; a tradition-minded priest in the shadow of the liberal state capital. He was a 20th century fidei defensor, upholding Catholic teachings amid a sea of post-Vatican-II modernism. He preached the truth, no matter how unpopular. A sharp critic of homosexual corruption in the Church, he worked at the highest levels to expose priestly pederasty in rectories and chanceries. He saw the coming storm of sexual-abuse allegations that would swamp the Church years later and led to more than $3.3 billion in victim settlements and attorney fees in the United States alone. "You will find no justice in the Church today," he told a friend not long before his death. He worried the pederasty scandals would destroy the diocesan priesthood.

His celebration of the Usus Antiquior, or the Traditional Latin Mass, drew congregants from three states. Even though he also celebrated the Novus Ordo Mass, some locals left for other churches. Kunz had a soft pastoral touch and a generous heart. He fixed up old cars and provided them to his cash-strapped teachers. He took no salary. His sister sent him boxes of socks when his became worn. He ran successful fish-fry fundraising dinners to support his parish and school. A typical day for Kunz started at 5:30 am and didn't end until well after midnight. In between, he was a whirlwind of activity at church, in school, at diocesan offices in Madison, at hospitals and among his parishioners. His sudden, violent death left a trail of tears that still flows 20 years later.

Kunz was last seen alive about 10 pm on March 3, 1998, when his friend, Father Charles C. Fiore, dropped him off at St. Michael's. The pair just took part in a recording session in Monroe for the "Our Catholic Family" radio program that aired on Sunday mornings across southern Wisconsin. Kunz fixed himself some dinner at the rectory and spoke by phone with another priest at 10:23 pm. He then retired to his sparse one-room office that doubled as living quarters in the adjacent school. Police believe Kunz encountered his killer shortly after. His body was found the next morning, face down in a pool of blood at the foot of a statue of St. Michael the Archangel. Kunz was barefoot, dressed in dark slacks and a white T-shirt.

There were no signs of forced entry, so the killer gained access without leaving evidence behind, had a key, or was let in by Father Kunz. Police said the attack was sudden and unexpected. Kunz, a Golden Gloves boxer in his youth, put up quite a fight and might have gained the upper hand on the suspect before being knocked to his knees by a blow from a weapon, Mahoney said. His throat was then cut with some kind of sharp-edge instrument, severing the artery that carries blood to the brain. No weapons were recovered.

Police believe the killer was a man, who might have been familiar with Kunz and St. Michael parish. While an FBI profile suggested the killer might have had an argument or altercation with Kunz in the 72 hours before the murder, Mahoney said it is possible the priest simply interrupted a burglary. The killer was likely shocked by the amount of blood that flowed when he cut Kunz's throat. When he escaped from the school, the murderer was covered in blood and would have had noticeable injuries to his face, Mahoney said. Based on the wounds on Kunz's hands, police believe the priest landed serious blows to the head of his attacker. An autopsy photo released by the sheriff's office in 2018 shows Kunz's right hand with major bruising along the index finger, bruises on three of the four knuckles, and several small puncture-type wounds across the back of the hand.

"Father Kunz did engage physically with his murderer," Mahoney said. "We believe whomever was in fact involved probably had some significant facial injuries and probably was visibly injured." The assailant would have "looked like he had been beaten up," Mahoney said. "Father Kunz had hand injuries. He knew how to land a punch."

Profilers said the killer likely did not go to St. Michael's that night intending to kill Kunz. Investigators believe the killer felt regret afterward. He went home with clothing soaked in blood that he would seek to wash or destroy. Family or friends would have noticed facial injuries. The suspect might have missed work the next day. The killer could have used a favorite hunting knife, box cutter, or other instrument that he then discarded. Friends or co-workers could have noticed he no longer carried the cutting instrument and that he had a story for what happened to it. In the weeks, months and years afterward, the person could have had mental health issues, or struggled with alcohol abuse, police said.

Could something as simple as a burglary be the answer in this case? Kunz's office was burglarized in 1994. The priest's late-night routine was predictable, a fact that could be crucial if a burglar was watching the property. Kunz was security conscious and the school doors were always locked at night, friends said. Some collection money went missing in the weeks before the murder, police said. It was not unusual for bags of Sunday collection money to sit at the church, undeposited, sometimes for weeks. Large amounts of money had been moved between parish accounts in the months before the murder, and some large checks were cut, police said.

Early in the investigation, detectives questioned two men with ties to Kunz who were involved in burglaries. Jeffrey L. Maas of Pewaukee, Wis., pilfered statues, chalices, candles, books, and artifacts from churches in five Wisconsin counties, police said. He was convicted in 1999 of four misdemeanor and five felony counts of theft and receiving stolen property. Robert M. Pulvermacher of Dane was arrested shortly after the Kunz murder and later sentenced to nearly four years in prison for burglary. He escaped from a prison work camp in December 1998. While on the lam, he attacked a local constable and wrestled his gun away, police said. During a massive search of central Wisconsin, a deputy confronted and disarmed Pulvermacher. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison on escape-related charges. Investigators concluded the men were not involved in the priest's murder. The burglary motive, however, remains an active focus.

The Kunz homicide was the first in the village of Dane since March 1971, when William C. Chambers shot and killed his 22-year-old son, Kenneth D. Chambers, during a long-simmering family feud. The father fired three bullets into the heart, brain, and lungs of his son. He was later acquitted of first-degree murder. Kenneth Chambers was a member of St. Michael Catholic Church. Father Kunz officiated at his funeral Mass on March 13, 1971.

Investigators believe there are individuals who can break the Kunz murder case. Those who mourn Father Kunz say the time for answers is now. The bloodstains don't easily wash away. The injuries remain. Fleeting doubts have only grown. Memories of a bad day in March can't be shaken. Flimsy explanations and a weak alibi hang heavy over someone, somewhere. Does the suspect's bloody clothing still exist? What about the murder weapon? Relatives of the killer might know. In the balance hangs not just the murder mystery but Kunz's legacy and reputation – reverenced by so many, questioned by a few, and tattered by the long investigation. Time could be running short for earthly justice.

"Perhaps you know something that you have been sitting on over these many years, perhaps you saw something back in 1998, or perhaps you have heard something since then," wrote the Rev. Scott Jablonski, a successor of Kunz as pastor of St. Michael, in a Facebook post. "Regardless, please make justice your aim and help us bring closure and peace to this sad situation by contacting the Dane County Sheriff's Office."

Mahoney agrees. "I'm really hanging my hat on a family member or someone involved whose soul has been troubled for 20 years, knowing they have information that would bring Father Kunz peace, or bring themselves peace," he said.


Julie Howard felt a deep sense of pity in her heart. When she first observed Father Kunz at Mass in 1991, she and two college friends were deeply affected by his homily. "My very first thought was, 'He is going to die a martyr,'" she said. Just recently graduated from Magdalen College, Howard took a job teaching at St. Michael School. Over the years working for Kunz, her admiration grew as she observed the priest's care for others and his fidelity to the Catholic faith. She marveled at his homilies, recalling how he once was so moved when speaking of Christ that he shed tears looking at the crucifix. Howard's initial sense of foreboding never left her. "I remember one day he came into my classroom to tell me that his room had been broken into in the night and his gun stolen," she recalled of the conversation during the 1994-1995 school year. "By the tone of his voice, I felt certain he was trying to tell me his time may be coming soon."


Kunz's life complicates the investigation

From its earliest moments, the Kunz homicide investigation was greatly complicated – by Kunz himself. He was an outspoken defender of sacred tradition in the Catholic Church. While serving on the Diocese of Madison's marriage tribunal, he was a tough, pointed questioner with individuals seeking to have their sacramental marriages declared null. He was an adviser to groups and individuals investigating homosexual corruption in the priesthood and episcopacy – controversial and potentially dangerous work. Associates said he occasionally served as an exorcist. He counseled troubled people, including quite a few fellow priests – some of whom had been accused of sexual abuse. His circle of acquaintances was global. He kept few records, often relying on notes scribbled on scraps of paper to keep track of commitments and to-do items. Police believe Kunz did maintain an appointment book, but detectives did not find one among his belongings.

"These are all things that raise potential suspects and potential motivations," Mahoney said. "Trying to run all of those down is difficult."

In 1996, Kunz became a canon law adviser to the Roman Catholic Faithful (RCF), an Illinois-based group investigating the sexual abuse of boys by Catholic priests and bishops. Kunz was recommended to RCF by the Rev. John A. Hardon, SJ, a widely respected theologian and author who worked for several popes and had deep connections at the Vatican. The group was gathering information on Bishop Daniel L. Ryan of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill. Ryan was accused of sexually assaulting a mentally disabled man, soliciting sex from a 15-year-old boy, trolling area parks for teenage male prostitutes, and having sex with priests in his diocese. In sworn testimony to RCF investigators, one of the teen prostitutes said Ryan once heard his confession and blessed him, then told him, "go and sin no more." Then the bishop winked at the teen and said, "See you later."

With help from Kunz and Father Fiore, RCF developed a dossier on the situation in the Springfield diocese. Father Hardon carried the report to Rome and presented it to Pope St. John Paul II, vouching for RCF and the accuracy of the document. Nothing was done with the explosive information. Hardon told RCF officials that at least a dozen American bishops supported Ryan in his quest to hold onto his bishopric in Springfield, according to RCF president and founder Stephen G. Brady. One of them was the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, then archbishop of Chicago, Brady said. When the group approached Bernardin for help in removing Ryan, he refused, Brady said. Ryan abruptly retired in October 1999, shortly before a lawsuit was filed accusing him of covering up the sexual abuse of a child by another Illinois priest. Sheriff Mahoney said Dane County investigators interviewed Ryan, but have no indication he is linked to the Kunz homicide. Ryan died in December 2015.

"Father Hardon told me to go to Kunz if I needed any contacts anywhere or needed direction in my investigations," Brady told Catholic World Report. "Father Kunz never discussed any other investigations with me except my own. He was tight lipped and you could trust him 100 percent. He had my files and answered any questions I had. He did work behind the scenes for me but kept it private."

Brady said during the 14 years that RCF conducted its investigations, he received three death threats. One was serious enough to involve the FBI. An email circulated claiming a contract was out for Brady's assassination. After Kunz was murdered, Brady bought a bulletproof vest.


Father Kunz laughed until he cried. The man described in media stories as strict and unbending had a great sense of humor that he showed around his teachers, parishioners, and friends. He told a story of a dream he had. He was playing baseball on the pope's team. He was playing outfield when a long fly ball was hit his way. Just as Kunz jumped to make the catch, he woke from the dream to discover he had landed in the bathtub. Another time, when an area parish was having a "polka Mass" (something Kunz very much opposed), his teachers jokingly developed a detailed plan for a polka Mass at St. Michael. He slapped his leg and howled. "I seriously thought he was going to pop something in his gut," one of the teachers recalled. "He laughed so hard – until he cried!"


Uncooperative witnesses slow the investigation?

The murder investigation was hampered by witnesses who police said refused full cooperation with detectives. The Dane County Sheriff's Office singled out former St. Michael School Principal Maureen (O'Leary) Schultheis. The principal "was very close with him (Father Kunz), yet she was uncooperative with detectives throughout the investigation," read the department's Facebook post on March 7, 2018. "She even suggested that DCSO call off the investigation and mark it 'unsolved.' She knew a lot about him. Could something she knew have been a motive for the killer?"

A witness who was on scene the morning Kunz's body was found said Schultheis made perplexing statements. "I remember standing on the hill looking down at the sight of all this going on on the day of the murder," said the witness, who asked not to be named. "She walked up to me and she said, 'They'll never figure it out,' or, 'They'll never solve it.' That's what she said: 'They'll never solve it.' I was like, whoa, that's pessimistic."

In her first media interview in 20 years, Schultheis said she does not recall that exchange. "If I did, I was thinking this is so much bigger than our local police, because he (Kunz) had such a worldwide sphere of influence," she said. As for telling the detectives to mark the case unsolved, Schultheis said she was frustrated with what she felt was gossip being spread publicly by police, harming Father Kunz's good name. "I did make that statement, not to obstruct justice but to stop the scandal," she said.

Although the school was off limits because it was a crime scene, teachers were eventually allowed into their classrooms to retrieve items for themselves and their students. A detective visited each classroom to interview the teachers. As staff members were leaving, Schultheis scolded one of the teachers, saying, "You know you don't have to talk to them!" according to a person who witnessed the exchange but asked not to be named. The teacher replied, "They're trying to solve the murder. Why would I not want to talk to them?" according to the witness.

Mahoney said his detectives are well aware of those incidents. "That's all true," he said. "To this day, she [Schultheis] has never been cooperative with our investigation. We believe she probably has some information that could have assisted with the direction of the investigation and chose not to share it." Mahoney said Father Fiore also had more information that would have been useful to detectives. "We truly believe that he was a confidant of Father Kunz and wasn't as forthright with all of the information he would have had," Mahoney said.

Schultheis said she spent countless hours meeting with investigators. "At this time, my mother was dying and they seemed to have no respect for my time. They wanted me at their beck and call – and I cooperated," she said. "Every time they asked, I responded in kind. I went to the sheriff's office in downtown Madison, even late at night one time." She said the questioning was repetitive, "or checking out these little innuendos, pieces of gossip they got from people."

Schultheis said after she left St. Michael's to take a job in Wausau, Dane County detectives showed up at her new job to conduct another interview. After she moved to Ohio, Schultheis said she was compelled under subpoena to return to Madison and testify under oath. "They decided they had to interview me under oath in front of a judge," she said. "I have been through grueling interviews, where I answered everything to the best of my knowledge."

Schultheis said her dealings with investigators could be contentious, but that was because she felt gossip was being treated as fact. St. Michael altar boys faced "horrible questions" from detectives, she said, that planted seeds of doubt about Father Kunz. "I was told by the parents, who were outraged," she said. A detective came to interview her one day and told her to "vent" her frustrations with the investigation, she said. "It went in one ear and out the other, because they continued to do all of those things that were upsetting me." Eventually, these frustrations caused Schultheis to stop talking to detectives, but she said it is unfair to say she never cooperated. "I think people assumed I knew things I didn't know and they would tell (detectives) that," she said. "Maybe I didn't give them anything new. I certainly spent time with them."


They named him Raphael. Father Kunz was determined to provide a solemn funeral for a tiny, preborn child, who was aborted and then stored in a pathology laboratory at the now-defunct Northwestern General Hospital in Milwaukee. "We had a beautiful funeral for that child," Kunz said on his radio program.

Raphael was one of nine aborted children smuggled from the hospital lab and provided to Dr. Monica Migliorino Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. On a Saturday in 1996, Fathers Kunz and Fiore held a Solemn Requiem Mass for Raphael outside St. Michael Catholic Church. Placed in a tiny casket, the child was buried at the foot of a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Father Malachi Martin was an exorcist, bestselling author, former aide to Pope St. John XXIII, and onetime professor at the Vatican's Pontifical Biblical Institute. He was also a friend of Father Alfred J. Kunz, and he believed the Wisconsin priest's 1998 murder bore the marks of satanic evil.

"He was found at 7 o'clock in the morning with his throat cut from ear to ear," Martin said on a national radio program in May 1998. "In his own blood, face down into it and with various acts of desecration of his body which are normally associated with satanist-inflicted death."

The author of Hostage to the Devil, The Keys of This Blood, Windswept House, and more than a dozen other books said Kunz consulted with him on exorcisms. The country priest was "picked off" by someone who wanted to permanently silence him, Martin said. He referred to the murder as the "assassination of Christ's hero."

Father Kunz's efforts to battle evil became a significant part of his still-unsolved, 20-year-old murder case. Some friends and associates were convinced that his work as an exorcist and his investigation of sexual corruption in the priesthood must have been factors in his March 3, 1998 killing at St. Michael School in the village of Dane, Wisconsin. Police have now turned their focus to more common motives for the killing, such as burglary or robbery. But the contentions of Kunz's associates still hang heavy over the case, showing just how complicated the priest's life could be.

There is one major problem with the Father Martin's theory: one of its base premises was false. Kunz's body did not have injuries that would lead investigators to suspect a ritual or satanic killing, according to Dane County Sheriff David J. Mahoney. Kunz's throat was not cut "ear to ear," as many stories claimed. The throat slash was more to one side, and it severed the carotid artery. There were no other stab wounds and no desecration or mutilation of the body, according to Mahoney.

It's unclear where Martin and other friends, like Father John A. Hardon, SJ, got information that led them to conclude the killer's motivation was Kunz's work as an exorcist, or his efforts to expose pederasty in the priesthood. But convinced they were. In remarks to his students just one week after Kunz's murder, Hardon said: "I don't know if they will ever reveal...why he was murdered, but I think I can safely say he was not just murdered, he was martyred. Oh, how much I could say. That's the kind of priest we need today, who shed their blood for what they believe and not be afraid, not be afraid of human beings, and least of all be afraid of dying, out of love for and loyalty to Jesus Christ."

It was Hardon who encouraged Stephen G. Brady to found the activist group Roman Catholic Faithful in mid-1996. He advised the group as it exposed one priestly pederasty scandal after another in Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Florida, California, and other states. Father Hardon recommended Kunz and Father Martin, who both advised RCF on its investigations. When Father Kunz was murdered, Hardon worried the killing was related to RCF's investigation into allegations of homosexual activity with minors and priests by Bishop Daniel L. Ryan of the Diocese of Springfield. After the murder, Hardon advised one of the priest accusers in the Ryan investigation to clam up and stay out of sight due to concerns for the priest's safety, according to Brady.

In late March 1998, Dane County sheriff's detectives traveled to RCF headquarters near Springfield, Illinois, and spent four hours interviewing Brady about Kunz's behind-the-scenes work. Father Kunz, Brady said, was "deeply involved" in the Bishop Ryan investigation. The priest advised Brady not to trust a special assistant to Chicago Archbishop Francis George, who was sent downstate to evaluate allegations against Ryan. Dane County detectives also traveled to the Jacksonville Correctional Center west of Springfield and interviewed Frank Bergen, a former male prostitute and habitual criminal who said Bishop Ryan hired him for sex on countless occasions in the 1980s and 1990s. The paid sexual encounters started when he was 16, Bergen said. Ryan used the services of around 10 male prostitutes, often picking them up off the street and taking them back to the cathedral rectory for sex, according to Bergen's statements to RCF. Bergen used the money from prostitution to fund his cocaine addiction.

In addition to assisting RCF's efforts on the Bishop Ryan case, Hardon said Father Kunz was also doing work directly for the Vatican. "We were very close friends," Father Hardon told his students. "We worked together for tasks assigned us by the Holy See." Father Hardon died in December 2000. The cause for his beatification and canonization was opened in 2005, and he carries the Church-approved title Servant of God.

Malachi Martin said he received authority to perform exorcisms in a three-state area of the northeast US directly from the Vatican. Kunz's work as an exorcist was low-profile, he said. "He has done exorcisms, but very, very private. Most of us don't talk about them because they usually involve confessional material," Martin said in May 1998. "Father Kunz was a very good priest and never spoke about confessional material." Martin said after Kunz's death, "More than one good priest in that part of the world, especially one or two very prominent ones, got telephone calls pointing out that they would go the same way."

In the weeks before Kunz was killed, the Dane priest expressed fear for his safety, Martin said. Martin died in July 1999 after suffering a fall in his Manhattan apartment. Martin told one friend that although alone at the time, he felt he had been pushed from the stool on which he stood.

It is unclear when Father Kunz would have performed these reported exorcisms, or on whom. Dane County investigators interviewed the then-rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona, Minnesota, Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), who had previously referred a family to Kunz for a possible exorcism. Kunz was not a member of the traditionalist SSPX, but when an elderly mother approached the seminary seeking an exorcism for her middle-aged son, Williamson suggested they contact Father Kunz. Shortly before he was killed, Kunz told parishioner Donald Jenkins that the family never made contact with him.

Brent King, spokesman for the Diocese of Madison, said diocese records do make mention of Kunz and exorcisms, but say nothing in detail. He cautioned that this does not mean Kunz ever served as the official diocesan exorcist. During the tenure of former Madison Bishop William H. Bullock, diocesan officials said Bullock did not authorize Kunz to perform any exorcisms. Bullock succeeded the late Bishop Cletus F. O'Donnell in April 1993. Bishop Robert C. Morlino has been bishop of Madison since 2003.

Father Charles C. Fiore of Lodi, Wisconsin, occasionally spoke of "secret missions" he and Kunz made to Chicago to combat satanism and priestly pederasty, according to Joseph Ostermeir, a former St. Michael's parishioner.

"Their goal was to put a dent in the underground, satanic, pedophiliac clerical cabal that operated there," Ostermeir wrote on his blog, "The Okie Traditionalist." Ostermeir confirmed the story to Catholic World Report. He said Fiore, who died in February 2003, did not go into much detail about the trips. Although the details have faded, Ostermeir said what Fiore described "made the hairs on the back of my arms stand on end." Fiore often counseled victims of priestly sexual abuse. He supplied material to Malachi Martin for use in several books, including Windswept House.

During its investigation of Bishop Daniel Ryan in Springfield, RCF became aware of the "Boys Club," a network of active homosexual priests and laity in Chicago that was suspected of involvement in pederasty, murder, and even satanism. This ring was mentioned by Father Andrew M. Greeley in his 1999 book Furthermore! Memories of a Parish Priest. "They are a dangerous group," Greeley wrote. "There is reason to believe they are responsible for one murder and may perhaps have been involved in the murder of the murderer." Greeley was describing the unsolved 1984 murder of Francis E. Pellegrini, 47, the organist and choir director at All Saints – St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Chicago. Brady said one theory of the murder is that Pellegrini was about to expose the Boys Club and that he was killed to silence him. Greeley, who died in 2013, never publicly identified any members of the Boys Club.

Thomas R. Hampson, an Illinois private investigator and founder of Truth Alliance Foundation, said a "peripheral member" of the Boys Club contacted Father Kunz and met with him in Wisconsin in the years before Kunz was killed. Hampson spent years investigating the Boys Club and priestly sexual abuse of teenage boys. The Boys Club was a "loosely organized group of priests and laity who cultivated sexual relationships with vulnerable boys and shared these boys with each other," Hampson said. The ring was alleged to be centered in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood. Texas attorney Sheila Parkhill, who also investigated the Boys Club, said its members are guilty of ritualistic and satanic abuse of children, as well as murder, credit card theft, and fraud. One suspected Boys Club member was convicted of predatory sexual abuse of a child; several other suspected members have died. Most Boys Club members have never been charged with crimes, Hampson said.

Just months after Kunz's murder, Brady described a thread connecting events of the time. "On February 11, 1997, RCF held its first press conference accusing Bishop Ryan of sexual misconduct. Since that time, the main priest accuser against Ryan has been told by a Vatican priest to fear for his life and stay away from RCF," Brady wrote. "Father Alfred Kunz, a holy and orthodox priest working with RCF, was brutally murdered. And we are beginning to uncover what I believe to be a good old boys club of sexual perverts within the American hierarchy, who scandalized the faithful, sodomized the innocent and who are banding together out of need and greed. Satan seems to rule in their world."


"Nobody talks about Hell in my church." Attorney Peter B. Kelly was frustrated with how the Catholic faith had been watered down and robbed of its richness. As a catechist at his southern Wisconsin parish, he told the pastor they should teach the eighth-grade children about the Four Last Things: death, judgment, Heaven, and Hell. The priest wanted none of it, uttering the above words, which Kelly still finds shocking. Kelly pushed back, saying he planned to teach the traditional Catholic faith. "In that case, don't show up," the priest said, according to Kelly.

Determined to find a way to spread the true faith, Kelly decided to buy airtime on Wisconsin radio station WEKZ-FM 93.7. He had been recently introduced to a tradition-minded priest, Father Alfred Kunz. "I thought, 'Maybe I'll ask him – will you do radio with me?'"

Kelly remembers. "I didn't even have a decent cassette recorder. And he said yes. That's how we started."

Using a cheap tape recorder, the duo sat in a small room at St. Michael School, across the hall from where Kunz's body was found. With more than a hint of Swiss heritage evident in his Wisconsin accent, Kunz taught the Catholic faith. In a folksy style, he explained everything from ad orientem worship to how Old Testament prophesies all point to Jesus on the Cross at Calvary. "The goal and approach was simply to try to give to the listeners the teachings of the Church that they were not hearing from their modernist pastors at their local Novus Ordo Mass," Kelly said.

Eventually, recording and production moved from St. Michael's to WEKZ studios in Monroe. For the recording session on the night of March 3, 1998, Kunz unexpectedly asked Father Fiore to come along and sit behind the guest microphone. Kunz was murdered just hours later.


Was the murder an inside job?

Statistically speaking, 34 percent of those who call 911 in homicide cases end up being the killer. This fact was mentioned by the Dane County Sheriff's Office as part of a social-media campaign on the 20th anniversary of the Kunz murder. The priest's body was found by an upper-grades teacher who arrived at the school at 7 am. The teacher used his key to enter through the west doors. When he saw Kunz slumped on the floor, he called 911, leaving the phone several times to return to Kunz's body and see if he could render aid. When sheriff's deputies arrived, the teacher was covered in blood. "Could this teacher have been Father Kunz's killer?" the department asked on Facebook on March 5, 2018.

The teacher, then 25, was one of three new hires who started at St. Michael School in the fall of 1997. At the time, the school had 50 students in grades K through 8. Sources in the school and parish said Father Kunz grew increasingly frustrated with his new teacher because the man became romantically involved with a female staff member. "He wasn't turning out very well," said a friend of Kunz who asked not to be named. "Father Kunz didn't appreciate the fraternization between male and female [staff]."

The frustration grew as March 1998 approached. Kunz was busy planning a March 8 Eucharistic Day dinner, an event that kicked off the annual weeklong St. Michael parish mission. The mission director was to be the Rev. Paul Ruge, OFMI, chaplain from the World Apostolate of Fatima, also known as "Our Lady's Blue Army." Kunz relied on his teachers to be servers at the Sunday meal, which was reserved for priests and special guests. However, the male teacher said he could not work the event because he was going to the theater with another St. Michael teacher, sources said. "You're here to serve the church. That's what the deal was, what the dinner was," said the friend of Father Kunz. "You shouldn't be going off to the theater when you should be working, and not with one of the other staffers. We don't need the romantic drama around here."

Asked about discord between Kunz and the male teacher, Dane County Sheriff David J. Mahoney said, "All of that is true." Investigators interviewed the teacher several times, including once after he moved out of state. They continued to keep tabs on him long after he left Wisconsin. His bloody clothing was seized by police on the morning Kunz's body was found. After the murder, the teacher lived for about six months with Father Fiore in nearby Lodi. The teacher moved from Wisconsin not long after, got married, and started a family in another Midwestern state. He no longer works in education. He has, by outward appearances, lived a clean life since 1998. For much of the long murder investigation, he was atop the list of persons of interest. Mahoney said DNA testing and other investigative tools have now ruled the man out as a suspect. The former teacher declined an interview request from Catholic World Report.


It was a very good day to die. In his role as chaplain of St. Clare Hospital in Monroe in the 1960s, Father Kunz paid regular visits to a patient with a terminal illness. On each visit, Kunz asked the man if it was a good day to be baptized. The man politely said "no." Then one day, the patient, sensing his condition had worsened, agreed to be baptized by the kindly priest. After completing the Catholic Rite of Baptism, Kunz beheld a man with a pure soul. The man reached up to embrace his pastor. With his arms around Father Kunz's neck, the man's heart stopped. Kunz gently laid the man's head on the pillow, knowing he was now beholding the face of Jesus. Peter Kelly, the Monroe attorney who hosted the radio program "Our Catholic Family," said for years after that day, Kunz considered the man his "personal saint" to whom he prayed for special intercession.


Called from youth to the priesthood

Alfred Joseph Kunz was born April 15, 1930. He grew up in Stitzer, a tiny farming community in southwestern Wisconsin. He was one of eight children of Alfred J. and Helen T. Kunz. His father came to the United States from Switzerland in 1914, paying for passage by shoveling coal on a transatlantic steamship. Alfred Kunz, Sr. was unable to return home due to the outbreak of World War I. Originally headed for California, he ran out of money and landed in Wisconsin. That's where he met and married Helen Selz, a Michigan native of German extraction. Kunz was a cheesemaker who operated a cheese factory on the family farm. The Kunz family was devoutly Catholic, attending daily Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church in nearby Fennimore. The senior Kunz died on March 3, 1965, exactly 33 years before the attack that ended his son's life. Mrs. Kunz died in January 1993 at age 98.

A young Alfred heard a calling to the priesthood after suffering a nearly fatal bout of appendicitis at age 10. As he regained consciousness from surgery, he told his mother, "I want to be a priest." That was a big switch from the days he thought he would grow up to be an airline pilot. In 1944, Kunz entered the Pontifical College Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio, for a 12-year course of study. On May 26, 1956, he was ordained by Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, the Vatican's apostolic delegate to the United States. Kunz said his first Mass on June 3, 1956 at St. Mary in Fennimore. Kunz served parishes in Waunakee, Cassville, and Monroe before newly minted Bishop Cletus F. O'Donnell named him pastor of St. Michael's in June 1967.

Kunz came to be known for his devotion to the "Tridentine" or Traditional Latin Mass. He was the only priest in the Diocese of Madison allowed to say the Latin Mass (years before Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum). He was an expert in Latin. His adherence to Catholic tradition and his fearless preaching on the moral evils of abortion and contraception won him devotion from tradition-minded Catholics. Those same things drove some progressive Catholics to other parishes. Kunz raised the ire of many fellow priests in the diocese, who treated him with open disdain for his orthodoxy and outspoken approach, friends said.

Kunz didn't shy away from controversy. In 1996, he told a newspaper interviewer that the vote taken by US bishops in 1977 to allow reception of Holy Communion in the hand was invalid. In order to get the required number of bishop votes needed to apply for an indult from Pope Paul VI, leadership of the bishops' conference polled members who were not at the meeting; Kunz said this voided the vote. Kunz's friend, Father Hardon, agreed. "Whatever you can do to stop Communion in the hand will be blessed by God," Hardon said in 1997. Both men believed that Communion in the hand would inevitably lead to a loss of faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Kunz also believed the practice would allow particles of the host to fall to the ground, resulting in sacrilege.

Friends and associates mistakenly believed Father Kunz held a degree or license in canon law, especially since he served as judicial vicar for the Diocese of Madison from 1978 until at least 1990. He was consulted by people around the globe for his expertise in Church law. Mother Angelica, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), once sought his canon-law advice. He was highly recommended by the Canon Law Society of America. Kunz's expertise was largely self-taught, although he studied ecclesiastical law in the seminary. Brent King, spokesman for the Diocese of Madison, said Kunz did not have a degree or license in canon law. Under the 1917 Code of Canon Law, judicial vicars had to be "otherwise expert" if they did not hold a law degree. Kunz easily met that standard. When the 1983 Code of Canon Law was promulgated requiring a canon-law degree, sitting judicial vicars were grandfathered in. King said the practice was common across the United States at the time.


Well before the murder, Jean Eiden knew a world without Father Kunz was something she never wanted to face. Eiden met Kunz when she was 12 and he was assistant pastor at St. Victor Catholic Church in Monroe. He went deer hunting with her father. It wasn't unusual for her to come to breakfast and find Father Kunz at the table with her parents. Even when she left the Catholic Church for 20 years, he kept in touch. One Friday in the mid-1980s, she decided to visit Kunz at St. Michael's famous fish fry dinner. They sat up talking for hours, then Father Kunz asked her, "What are you doing here?" She answered, "I don't know what to do." The answer was simple. "You need to come back to the Church," Kunz said. So she did. Father Kunz became her guiding beacon of faith. From that time, Eiden started saying a special prayer at Mass. "I would pray that I would die before he would, because I couldn't imagine my life without him. Every day of my life I prayed that."


If someone needed to find Father Kunz late at night, he was usually in prayer at the church. Kunz left the building open 24 hours a day, so people could stop at any time to pray. A daily holy hour, and the Mass he said every day of his priesthood, were keys to his life. "The last two hours of my day I spend in prayer and in serious reading," Kunz once said. "I could not function as a priest unless I offered daily Mass and prayed in solitude for an hour without distraction. Prayer is an essential part of my life."


Though the murder of Father Alfred J. Kunz is unsolved, it is not for want of effort by police. Virtually every resident of the village of Dane, Wisconsin, was interviewed at least once by investigators. Tips sheets were handed out; public informational meetings were held. Analysts from the FBI and other agencies developed profiles of the killer; two Canadian forensic psychiatrists were consulted. More than 2,500 field interviews were conducted locally, regionally, and in Canada.

Physical evidence collected at the scene was tested – and later re-tested – for DNA, fingerprints, and trace materials. Thousands of pages of reports were shared with the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center in Springfield, Missouri, in hopes more investigative eyes might help the case. The cemetery where Kunz is buried was put under surveillance on the 20th anniversary of the crime. Undercover investigators also attended a Solemn Requiem Mass held for Kunz in March 2018 at St. Mary of Pine Bluff Catholic Church near Madison.

Kunz's lifeless body was found in a hallway of St. Michael School on March 4, 1998. His throat had been cut. His hands showed injuries that told police Kunz waged a fierce battle with his killer before he was knocked to his knees by a blow from a weapon. Evidence developed over the past year has expanded the list of persons of interest in the case. Police are exploring the possibility the killer himself has died. This has led to new urgency in the case, as detectives hope people who know of the killer will come forward and tell what they know.

To test various theories of how the killing was carried out, the sheriff's office built a duplicate of the St. Michael School hallway where the attack occurred.

"We built the scene so [the crime] could be reconstructed in an attempt to try to determine how this incident occurred," Dane County Sheriff David J. Mahoney said. Detectives tested "motion of the body and how the body would have fallen as a result. Was it a right hand or a left hand? These are all things we tried to put together in a reconstruction."

The most controversial part of the investigation came in March 2000 when then-Sheriff Gary H. Hamblin announced that Father Kunz had "intimate" relationships with women. Police have never identified the alleged paramours, or defined what they meant by the term "intimate." Hamblin suggested reporters refer to Webster's dictionary, which includes definitions ranging from "a very close relationship" to "involving sex or sexual relations." Investigators said jealousy, anger, infidelity, or betrayal could be a motive for the murder.

The allegation infuriated Kunz's supporters. One parishioner said it was like the priest being killed a second time, with no chance to defend himself. A priest who lived in the St. Michael rectory in 1997 and 1998 while recovering from surgery called the allegations "absolute rubbish." Mahoney said no one wants to harm Kunz's reputation, but these kinds of "difficult interview conversations" are a necessary part of solving the case. Investigators corroborated statements from women, at least one of whom was married, stating they had intimate relationships with the priest.

"We would not release allegations that could not be corroborated," Mahoney said. "When we talk about Father Kunz having been involved in intimate relationships, it's because those statements have been corroborated. And I don't mean somebody said somebody engaged in that kind of behavior. Somebody admitted to being involved in those relationships."

Investigators seized kitchen knives, a baseball bat, tools, and photographs of Kunz from one female parishioner's residence. The woman vehemently refuted any notion that Kunz was dating or seducing women. "The detectives say, 'Oh, he was a ladies' man.' Well, what does that mean?" the woman told a Milwaukee newspaper. "He opened doors for women. He took women to restaurants. He put his arm out to support women. It was all innocent, his behavior. He was a gentleman."

Two former St. Michael teachers who don't believe Kunz had romantic affairs said the priest dealt with gossip and calumny in the rural community. "He was very often berated, ridiculed, and lied about by the local community," one of the teachers recalled. "This particular day he came into my classroom, he had fire in his eyes. He spoke to (students) about lying. 'It is never alright to lie – ever.' The way he spoke that day made my hair stand on end."

If Kunz strayed from his vows, it was in opposition to his own pronouncements. "The Church says if you want to be a priest, you must also live a celibate life. The priesthood is a privilege, not a right," Kunz said in 1987. "Jesus said, 'you didn't choose me, I chose you.' The choice that people make after having made that commitment to God is a personal choice. I took a vow of celibacy for life. I feel like I would be untrue to my commitment to Jesus if I would back down on that, just as people in marriage make a commitment to each other. Unless I have an intense union with the Lord in prayer, I could very easily lose my way. We are all open to human weakness."

Some clarity has been achieved during the long investigation. Investigators determined that the phone call Kunz received March 3, shortly before he was killed, was not related to the homicide, Mahoney said. A call Kunz received days before the murder from a Pennsylvania priest accused of molesting teenage boys was not related the murder, Mahoney said. The Rev. Anthony J. Cipolla told journalist Randy Engel that he called Kunz two days before the murder to seek canon law help. Kunz apparently agreed to advise Cipolla as Cipolla sought to compel the Diocese of Pittsburgh to reinstate his financial support. Cipolla is one of 300 priests from six Pennsylvania dioceses credibly accused of sexually abusing children, according to a grand jury report released August 14, 2018.

Cipolla was accused of sexually assaulting two young brothers in the late 1970s, and repeatedly molesting an altar boy over a span of years in the 1980s. Engel, author of the 2006 book The Rite of Sodomy,chronicled the Cipolla case in a three-part online series in 2016. She was surprised to learn Kunz agreed to help Cipolla; she said Father Kunz might not have known the full details of the accusations against Cipolla. In 2002, acting on the request of the then-bishop of Pittsburgh, Donald Wuerl, Pope St. John Paul II laicized Cipolla, who always denied he committed sexual abuse. Cipolla died in an automobile accident in 2016.

Cipolla wasn't the only accused priest in contact with Kunz in the years before his death. Father Chester J. Przybylo of Chicago came to live at St. Michael in 1994 in order to learn the Latin Mass from Father Kunz. Przybylo was later accused in civil court of sexually molesting a boy over a five-year period in the late 1980s and early 1990s while assigned to Five Holy Martyrs parish in Chicago. The boy was 13 when the abuse began, according to Illinois court records. A lawsuit filed by the victim in 2006 resulted in a nearly $1.4 million settlement with the Archdiocese of Chicago. Przybylo was never criminally charged. He denies the allegations. A court threw out the victim's civil suit against Przybylo based on the statute of limitations. The priest sued the victim and his attorneys for slander and libel, but that lawsuit was dismissed in 2012. Przybylo appealed, but the appeal was denied in 2013, according to Cook County court records. It's unknown if Kunz was aware of the accusations against Przybylo. Dane County detectives interviewed Przybylo as part of the homicide investigation, Mahoney said.

Police are still looking at Joseph D. Cavanaugh, a man with a violent past who was allegedly in the Dane area at the time of the murder and later made statements that he "roughed up" Kunz when the priest refused to give him money. Cavanaugh hanged himself in the La Crosse County jail in August 2002 after being arrested for allegedly kidnapping, sexually assaulting, and robbing his former girlfriend.

Confusion over Father Kunz's will

Even Kunz's last will and testament was touched by the pederasty scandals rocking the Catholic Church. One of the co-executors of Kunz's original May 1980 will was Father Michael L. Gibbney of Alsip, Illinois. Gibbney was accused of sexually abusing nearly a dozen boys during his 17 years of priestly ministry, according to Illinois court records. After the first allegations went public in late 1991, Gibbney went to New Mexico for treatment at a church-run center for sex abusers. He never returned to ministry. In 2010, he asked to be laicized so he could marry a woman. Pope Benedict XVI granted the request in April 2011. Gibbney was one of five priests who were the subject of a $4.1 million settlement between the Joliet diocese and 14 sexual-abuse victims in 2015.

On November 17, 1997, Father Kunz signed a handwritten codicil to his will removing Gibbney and a Madison nun as his co-executors, and replacing them with St. Michael School Principal Maureen (O'Leary) Schultheis and Father Greg Galvin, a former St. Michael teacher. The codicil was provided to the Dane County probate court by homicide detectives, who found it among Kunz's personal effects. In September 1998, Schultheis filed a probate court motion objecting to the original executors of Kunz's will, citing the wishes expressed in the 1997 codicil. Schultheis was then recognized by the court as Kunz's legal personal representative. The nearly $14,900 net proceeds of Kunz's will went to Schultheis, court records show. The original terms of Kunz's will left it to his executor to decide who should receive whatever assets he left behind, according to documents filed in Dane County Circuit Court. The estate was closed in November 1999.

Schultheis said Father Kunz never explained his decision to draft the 1997 codicil. If he was aware of Gibbney's troubles in Illinois, she said, he didn't mention them. She said the cash found by detectives among Kunz's things was given to the church.

Questions were raised if Kunz's 1997 codicil was properly witnessed. Three teachers at St. Michael School signed the codicil as witnesses, but they didn't actually see Kunz sign the document, according probate court files. "According to the detective, the witnesses to purported codicil stated that they did not sign the document in Fr. Kunz's presence or in presence of each other," read a handwritten note with Dane County Sheriff's Investigator Merle Ziegler's business card stapled to it. The note was dated April 28, 1998. The witness signatures on the codicil were not dated or notarized. "M.O. (Maureen O'Leary Schultheis) has been trying to get possession of the original from police and reportedly trying to get witnesses to 're-sign' the codicil," the note read.

One of the witnesses said Father Kunz handed her the codicil document and asked her to sign it. "I signed my name to it, having no idea how that kind of thing is supposed to be done," said the witness, who asked not to be named. "He said, 'thank you,' folded it up and walked away." The teacher said after the murder, Schultheis asked the witnesses to again sign their names to a sheet of paper. "She wanted to trace our names so that she could say that our signatures were witnessed." Schultheis said she has no recollection of asking witnesses to re-sign anything.


"You see, Tim, God always hears our prayers." Jack Duff was dying from lung cancer. A Korean War veteran, Duff came home from the service and shortly after became disabled from radiation exposure during the war. After marrying and becoming a father of six, Jack was diagnosed with cancer. His devout Catholic wife, Mildred, sought help from the late Father Alfred Kunz, praying for the conversion of her Southern Baptist husband. Mildred met Father Kunz years earlier when her son Tim was living and working at St. Michael Catholic Church. Years after Father Kunz's murder, Mildred sought his intercession each night as she prayed the Rosary and the Divine Office. Father Al's picture was a bookmark in Mildred's breviary. The prayers were constant during Jack's two-and-a-half years of illness. Jack was baptized into the Catholic Church under the name Benedict Joseph Duff. He and Mildred witnessed their vows in the Church after 50 years of marriage. Mildred told her son that her prayers were answered. "She kept Father Kunz's picture and prayed to him every night," Tim recalls, "and now I believe my dad is in heaven as a direct result of this holy man."


"Life is a puff of smoke"

Did Father Kunz know he was about to die? Some friends and parishioners wonder. One of the last St. Michael parish bulletins published before he was killed had a number of references to the brevity of life on earth. Kunz made that a focus of his Lenten reflections on Feb 22, 1998. The ashes that mark the heads of the faithful on Ash Wednesday, Kunz wrote, "are to remind them how flimsy and fleeting are the trinkets of time. How unstable and how short is our earth's existence." He emphasized the point in capital letters: "NO MATTER WHO IT IS, whether of high estate or low, his stay in the world is short. Time vanishes. Life is a puff of smoke. We are gone! Eternity remains!"

In his waning moments of life, we don't know if Father Kunz was able to reflect on the impact of his life and priesthood. Might he have recalled a 16-year-old Alfred, hammer in hand, fixing wooden steps as part of a 4-H club safety project? "No one will be injured here if Alfred can help it," read the caption under his photo in the newspaper. He might have remembered a brush with death in April 1965, when a tornado came so close to his car on a road near Monroe it spun the vehicle around.

Perhaps he recalled standing in front of St. Michael School in April 1974 while his beloved church building smoldered in ruins behind him; or watching Bill Cleary and Stan Ptak carry away sacred statues rescued from the fire. He looked so small in the face of such devastation, yet it was he who prevailed and built a new church. Maybe he remembered hunting trips to the town of Siren in Wisconsin's Burnett County with Galvin, when he taught the "pure rookie" how to shoot. He also taught Galvin more enduring lessons. His onetime St. Michael teacher became a priest and director of vocations for the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut.

Maybe Father Kunz remembered taking Mark Nelson and other altar boys on a Christmas tree harvesting trip each December. Or his humorous thanks to his altar boys for not tripping him in the sanctuary. He could have recalled the breakfasts he spent with his teachers at the O'Malley Farm Cafe in nearby Waunakee (one egg, over easy with dry wheat toast). He always ordered a small bowl of stuffing for Julie Howard because he knew how much she liked stuffing. Maybe he recalled the countless funerals, baptisms, and weddings at which he officiated. Or the hundreds of hours spent mowing the cemetery grass. Or sitting up late each night on the telephone, counseling grieved parishioners or offering canon-law advice to other priests and bishops.

Father Kunz's time on Earth was marked by a "willingness to pour his life's energy into serving the Church," Father Galvin said. While the community still struggles to make sense of the murder 20 years later, Kunz left behind words of comfort and counsel.

On the "Our Catholic Family" radio program he said: "So very frequently, people in a time of crisis or in a time of suffering will say, 'Why does this have to happen? Why does God permit this?' Suffering only has a meaning in relationship to the cross of Christ. So when we speak and pray for the gift of knowledge, (pray) that we understand how to put our lives in union with the cross of Christ – so we don't become victims of despair."


Anyone with information on Father Kunz's murder should contact the Dane County Sheriff's Office, (608) 284-6900 or

© Matt C. Abbott


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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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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