Bishop Wants a Toned-Down Installation

By Deirdre Cox Baker
Quad-City Times
November 3, 2006

Incoming Bishop Martin Amos, newly chosen as the eighth man to hold that title with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport, has asked for a low-key installation service later this month, and the diocese is poised to deliver just that.

"No money is set aside for this event. All our assets are currently under the protection of the bankruptcy court," diocese spokesman David Montgomery said Thursday.

A special collection is being taken throughout the church's 22-county eastern Iowa region to pay for the pared-down celebration since the diocese declared bankruptcy last month. That was two days before the Vatican announced the appointment of Amos and that it had accepted the retirement of Bishop William Franklin.

The Amos installation is planned for 2 p.m. Nov. 20 at St. John Vianney Church, Bettendorf. The Bettendorf church was chosen over Sacred Heart Cathedral, Davenport, because it is larger and has more parking and other facilities, Montgomery said. The historic cathedral, also called the bishop's church, holds 220 fewer people.

The diocese has no idea how well the special collection will go, but the funds are intended to provide travel expenses for a group of invited dignitaries. Amos is a bishop in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

"Bishop Amos wants a low-key installation," Montgomery said. "He's considering the financial situation of the diocese."

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States, will travel from Washington, D.C., to read a letter from Pope Benedict during the service. Nine other bishops also have been invited to take part, and some of them are paying their own expenses, Montgomery said.

Such a ceremony normally would include 28 invited bishops, he said. There also are costs involved with the reception to be held after the installation, but it will not include a dinner.

Also affected is a plan for a live telecast on a cable TV channel. Instead, the ceremony will be shown on a tape-delayed basis on Mediacom Channel 11, which is owned by St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Montgomery said, but it will be broadcast live on radio stations owned by St. Ambrose — KALA-FM 88.5 and 105.5. A live Webcast is planned by St. Ambrose on its Web site,

All of the priests in the diocese have been asked to contribute toward the installation, and funds are being raised in different ways. In Bettendorf, for example, members of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church will find envelopes in the pews the weekend of Nov. 11-12. A special collection will be taken the weekend of Nov. 18-19, the Rev. Tim Sheedy said.

"I'll encourage each family to give what they can," he said. "We, as parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes, are encouraged to welcome the new bishop and support his installation."

That is also the process that will be used at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Iowa City, said the Rev. Kenneth Kuntz. The priest said he plans to announce the special collection this weekend.

Those who attend St. Ann's Catholic Church in Long Grove, Iowa, were sent special collection envelopes in the mail.

"It's up to the individual parishes to do what they can," Montgomery said. The diocese is not sure of the final costs involved and has no alternative plan if the special collection runs short, he added. "We just hope we'll have enough money to cover it."

Deirdre Cox Baker can be contacted at (563) 383-2492 or

Bankruptcy impacts diocese budget

Last month's filing by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport is working its way through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Iowa.

The diocese recently announced it will trim $276,000 from its $3.64 million budget because of the bankruptcy action.

Last week, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lee Jackwig approved the continuation of the diocesan health and property insurance program, as well as the payment of employee salaries and benefits, said Deacon David Montgomery, a spokesman for the diocese.

Those actions have drawn the ire of those who represent people alleging sexual abuse by Catholic priests. Among them is David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"This is just another public relations ploy by a bishop desperate to keep sex abuse covered up and to position himself as allegedly being financially troubled," Clohessy wrote in an e-mail this week.

"In 2004, on the eve of child molestation settlements, (Davenport Bishop William) Franklin laid off a handful of employees, only to hire most of them back just a few months later, once he'd achieved his self-serving, short-term goal of seeming impoverished," Clohessy added.


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