For Immediate Release: November 19, 2021

Contact: Colleen Ross | | 202-601-7877

Catholic Lobby Responds to Rittenhouse Trial Verdict 

Joan F. Neal: “This decision is a travesty and does not bode well for racial justice in our country” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last year, Kyle Rittenhouse traveled to a Black Lives Matter rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin where he shot three men with an AR-15, killing two of them and wounding the third. Today after a 14-day trial rife with racist tropes and rhetoric, Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges.  

The Catholic Sisters and activists of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice pray for the prosecution team as well as Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber’s families and those supporting them as they seek accountability and justice. NETWORK commits to continue working to dismantle laws and systems that uphold white supremacy. 

Min. Christian S. Watkins, NETWORK Justice Systems Reform Government Relations Advocate, said: 

Taking into consideration the January 6th insurrection, Black Lives Matter protests across the country, and bitter racial tensions that remain from the Jim Crow era and prior, the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial verdict was not surprising, but shocking nonetheless. As a person of faith, I know that violence fueled by racism is an affront against God. 

“As we work to eliminate white supremacy in our country, may we commit ourselves to envisioning and enacting robust and equitable criminal legal system reforms at the federal level to create a more just and fair system that recognizes human dignity by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the EQUAL Act, the First Step Implementation Act, and other bills that provide safety to Black and Brown communities.” 

Joan F. Neal, NETWORK Deputy Executive Director, said: 

This decision is a travesty and does not bode well for racial justice in our country unless accountability measures are put in place as soon as possible. Until our criminal legal system is based in anti-racism and restorative justice, white supremacist ideology and violence will continue threatening the lives of Black, Latinx, Native American, and AAPI people in the United States.” 

Mary J. Novak, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, said:  

Kyle Rittenhouse’s actions are a part of the rise of violent, white supremacist ideology in this country that seeks to eradicate movements for racial justice and equality. Our country’s criminal legal system, as it currently functions, allows this dangerous behavior to persist.  

“Rittenhouse’s acquittal again reveals the disappointing but unsurprising way white supremacy and racism are embedded in our criminal legal system, and I encourage the Department of Justice to consider a federal review of this case. When the law only works to protect white Americans while failing to do so for people of color, justice is not possible.” 


NETWORK – advocates for justice inspired by Catholic sisters – educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social transformation. They have a nearly 50-year track record of lobbying for critical federal programs that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good.