Madison Diocese, Fundraising Firm Dispute Was over 'Misunderstanding'

By Doug Erickson
Wisconsin State Journal
October 21, 2008

In a joint statement, the Madison Catholic Diocese and the fundraising firm that sued it say a "misunderstanding" led to an allegation that Bishop Robert Morlino sought confidential survey information on priests who criticized him.

The statement will be the final public comment on the matter, both sides said.

In June, Phoenix Fundraising Council of Madison alleged in a civil lawsuit that the diocese was refusing to pay it for work on a feasibility study for a new cathedral. The lawsuit accused Morlino of seeking confidential information from parishioner and priest surveys.

The diocese, in its court answer, said Morlino never sought the confidential information.

The lawsuit was settled out of court last week with no details released.

The joint statement, released through the diocese, says: "The parties regret that there was a misunderstanding with respect to any request by the diocese for information regarding the priests of the diocese or their surveys."

Both sides declined to clarify the nature of the misunderstanding, and the statement addresses only the issue of confidentiality for priests, not parishioners.


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