Parisheners of the former Saint George Roman Catholic Church of Shenandoah met in front of the Schuylkill County Courthouse Wednesday morning for a prayer meeting before entering the building to attend a hearing in the court on their petition to stop their church building from being demolished but their prayer's weren't answered as Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin followed the law and denied the injunction.
After hearing arguments Dolbin ruled, "I can not enjoin the diocese from taking the necessary steps to preserve the public health and welfare as was argued before the court. The bishop is not restrained by the law from doing what is necessary."
This was a huge blow to about 40 parishoners who were present for the hearing. They had placed placards at the entrance to the courthouse which stated, "Save Saint George's Church."
Counsel for the diocese argued that Pennsylvania law gives a Roman Catholic bishop total control of church properties and does not give the congregation the right to sue and get the court involved. The argument was the bishop was the sole authority to manage the property of the church under state law.
The counsel for parishoners pointed out to the court they had collected money specifically designated for the repair and maintenance of the church.
The matter is still not settled. Although the court denied the injunction parishoners still can deal with the bishop in a last ditch attempt to save their cherished church building.