Davenport Diocese: 'We Are Relying Totally on Donations'

By Darla M. Wiese
Quad-Cities Online [Davenport IA]
November 2, 2006

After filing for bankruptcy last month, The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport is working to cut its budget and is seeking donations to help the diocese survive.

"All the money we use to operate our bishop staff comes from donations," diocese spokesman David Montgomery said. "In the past, those donations were not enough to cover all expenses and so we relied on other things like investments. Now those investments are gone, and we are relying totally on donations."

To keep the diocese alive, Mr. Montgomery said every budget that can be cut is being cut. He said some employees even have volunteered to have their pay reduced. Other budget cuts include travel expenses and even magazine subscriptions, he said.

"And this is in addition to the $2.2 million we cut two years ago to meet the claims of victims," Mr. Montgomery said.

The diocese is trying to cut $276,000 from the $3.6 million annual budget, Mr. Montgomery said, adding that the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection with the hope of being able to meet victim claims and surviving as a diocese.

"We also were finding that the claims of victims who came forward first were taking all of the assets, leaving nothing left over for the victims who came forward later," he said.

"That was also part of the decision to go to bankruptcy court," to make sure all victims were treated fairly, Mr. Montgomery said.

The diocese covers 22 counties in southwest Iowa and is the fourth diocese in the nation to seek financial protection in light of priest sex abuse cases. Other dioceses that have filed for bankruptcy are in Portland, Ore., Spokane, Wash., and Tucson, Ariz.

The Davenport diocese has paid more than $10.5 million to resolve claims against priests.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.