Monday, March 3, 2014

Father Alfred Kunz: Priest's unsolved murder: 16 years later

On March 4, 1998, Father Alfred Kunz, a parish priest and canon lawyer – and discreet whistleblower of corrupt clergy – from the Diocese of Madison, Wis., was found in a pool of blood with his throat slit. The murder remains unsolved to this day.

It's essentially a cold case now, even if the police are reluctant to say so. I've been following and writing about the case for the past several years, and, to my knowledge, there haven't been any significant developments in the investigation as of late. Still, I did recently find out a bit of interesting information that I hadn't heard before.

More about that later.

For a past column, I had asked two individuals who were friends and supporters of Father Kunz – Catholic attorney Peter Kelly and Catholic businessman Chuck Weigel – to contribute their fond memories of the priest. Those reflections are worth reprinting.

Peter Kelly wrote:

There are a number of points that I recall about Father Kunz. They all deal with his pastoral style which people might characterize as true 'servant leadership.' It was that – and so much more.

Father did not have a great deal of financial resources upon which to draw to support his school and his teaching staff. Still, he tried to do what he could to help make life a little easier for his underpaid teachers. One 'fringe benefit' that his teachers received from their boss was free auto repair. As a Wisconsin farm boy, he was as good with a wrench as he was with his traditional Catholic theology.

Father was fluent in both Latin and in the language of engine maintenance. He even had a set of coveralls which he would wear that exposed only his Roman collar, lest no one would recognize that the greasy fellow who just slid out from under the car in the parking lot of St. Michael's was the pastor and chief mechanic of the parish.


Renew America

By Matt C. Abbott

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