Maurice John Dingman

The Most Reverend
Maurice J. Dingman, JCL, DD
Bishop of Des Moines
Church Catholic Church
See Des Moines
In office April 2, 1968October 14, 1986
Predecessor George Biskup
Successor William Henry Bullock
Ordination December 8, 1939
Consecration June 19, 1968
by Luigi Raimondi
Personal details
Born (1914-01-20)January 20, 1914
St. Paul, Iowa
Died February 1, 1992(1992-02-01) (aged 78)
Des Moines, Iowa

Maurice John Dingman (January 20, 1914 February 1, 1992) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Des Moines from 1968 to 1986.


Early life and Ministry

Maurice Dingman was born on a farm near St. Paul, Iowa, to Theodore and Angela (née Witte) Dingman.[1] He attended St. Ambrose College in Davenport before studying in Rome at the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 8, 1939.[2] Upon his return to Iowa, he taught at St. Ambrose Academy in Davenport from 1940 until 1943, when he became assistant chancellor of the Diocese of Davenport. He earned a Licentiate of Canon Law from the Catholic University of America at Washington, D.C. in 1946. From 1946 to 1953 he was principal of Bishop Hayes High School in Muscatine. He was later named superintendent of Catholic schools and chancellor of the diocese.[3] He also served as chaplain at Ottumwa Naval Air Station and Davenport Mercy Hospital.[1]

Bishop of Des Moines

On April 2, 1968, Dingman was appointed the sixth Bishop of Des Moines by Pope Paul VI.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 19 from Archbishop Luigi Raimondi, with Bishops Ralph Leo Hayes and Gerald Francis O'Keefe serving as co-consecrators.[2] He was installed in Des Moines on July 7, 1968.[4] Bishop Dingman became known as a champion of rural issues and ecumenism, and strengthened the laity, priests, and nuns of the diocese.[1][3] He supported nuclear disarmament and was open to discussion on the subject of women's ordination.[1] From 1976 to 1979, he served as president of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.[5]

On October 4, 1979 Pope John Paul II made an historic visit to the Des Moines Diocese upon the suggestion of a local Iowa farmer, Joe Hays of Truro, and the invitation of Bishop Dingman.[6] After landing at the Des Moines Airport, the pope visited the rural parish of St. Patrick near Irish Settlement. He then celebrated a Mass at Living History Farms in Urbandale.

In October 1983 he was abducted by gun point by two juveniles, whose advocate in court the bishop later became.[1]

For his life work as an advocate for peace and justice issues, Bishop Dingman received the 1986 Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award, which is sponsored in part by his native diocese of Davenport, and his alma mater St. Ambrose College. After eighteen years as bishop, Dingman resigned due to poor health on October 14, 1986.[2] He later died at age 78.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Hudson, David; Marvin Bergman; Loren Horton (2008). The Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Bishop Maurice John Dingman". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Bishops of the Diocese of Des Moines" (PDF). Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines.
  4. The Official Catholic Directory. New Providence, New Jersey: P.J. Kenedy & Sons. 2009. p. 378.
  5. "NCRLC in the 1960s & 70s". National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

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