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Social justice warrior Msgr. Marvin Mottet has died

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Msgr. Marvin Mottet

DAVENPORT — Longtime Davenport Diocese priest and social justice warrior Rev. Marvin Mottet has died. He was 86.

Mottet is best known for creating the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award, given annually since 1964 by the Davenport Diocese “to honor a person for their achievements in peace and justice, not only in their country but in the world.”

He also helped launch Quad Cities Interfaith and Interfaith Housing, a congregation-based organization to address the causes of poverty locally.

Ordained to the priesthood at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport in 1956, he helped form the Catholic Interracial Council to address racial discrimination and segregation in the city a year later.

His long and vigorous work on social justice issues was noticed beyond Davenport and the Quad-Cities, leading to both future Saint Mother Teresa and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to come to Davenport as Pacem in Terris award winners.

Mottet was honored by his alma mater, St. Ambrose University, in 2007 with its McMullen Award. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Davenport honored him in 2013 for his dedication to bettering the lives of people of all races, creeds and cultures. Five years ago, the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors presented its Servant of Justice Award to Fr. Mottet in Washington, D.C. The organization recognized the priest for advancing social justice and dignity for all members of society through the tradition of Catholic social teaching.

Davenport Diocese’s Bishop Martin Amos observed that in his 10 years as bishop of the Davenport Diocese “I’ve come to realize the tremendous impact Msgr. Mottet has had on people in general, the poor in particular and in the area of social justice.”

According to the release from the diocese, Msgr. Mottet died peacefully at the Kahl Home Friday.


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