Despite Bp. William Skylstad's best efforts to screw up and squander the material patrimony of the Church in western Washington, he may yet fail to do so completely, praise God.
It is reported that today, a federal district court judge, Justin Quackenbush, has overruled the bankruptcy court's determination that the bishop owns parish property outright, rather than in trust for parishioners.
The result of the district court ruling is that the bankruptcy judge can have a trial of sorts regarding the facts of ownership of particular parishes, but can't procede as it was, divying up parishes on the basis that the people whose contributions built and maintained parish churches over the years had no interest in them.
Wow. One is shocked when someone (particularly someone working for the feds against Holy Mother Church) gets something right in this case. However, let's not think those poor put-upon people in Spokane are out of the woods yet, though. There may be a chance for appeal by the scoundrel bastard plaintiffs' lawyers. There is still plenty of opportunity for Skylstad to screw this up and lose at the aforementioned trials. Skylstad could also force a settlement on the parishes (remember, the pastors are subject to his whims under the new Code of Canon Law) that is unreasonable. But at least there's a glimmer of hope. If only they can hold on to their stuff and their buildings until Skylstad retires in a few years (although, with appointments like Niederaur and Wuerl coming out of Benedict's curia, one wonders what they'd get as Skylstad's successor), they may come out OK.