Monday, Oct 15, 2018
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Bishop Tough Guy

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    Toledo Bishop Daniel Thomas

    The Blade
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    St. Anthony Catholic Church at Nebraska and Junction Avenues in Toledo.

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It may come as no sur­prise that a Cath­o­lic bishop, as Mr. Doo­ley re­marked of the Supreme Court, “fol­lows the elec­tion re­turns.”

Bish­ops, in­clud­ing the bishop of Rome, have to have po­lit­i­cal an­ten­nae.

RELATED: Diocese of Toledo offers compromise to preserve St. Anthony Church

And Bishop Daniel Tho­mas of Toledo was fac­ing a PR di­sas­ter and, worse, loss of con­fi­dence in him on the part of Toledo Cath­o­lics, if he tore down St. An­thony Church, es­pe­cially with­out even meet­ing with preser­va­tion­ists.

Now he has met with two of them and laid down the law. He’s made an of­fer for sav­ing St. An­thony — a cou­ple of them. His first of­fer was the kind of of­fer a New York real es­tate de­vel­oper, or some­one with an even rougher and tougher back­ground might make: I will not tear the church down if Mayor Wade Kaps­zuk­ie­w­icz and U.S. Rep. Marcy Ka­ptur take pos­ses­sion and re­spon­si­bil­ity for it, and they pay the cost of can­celing the dem­o­li­tion — $285,000 from the city and $70,000 from Miss Kap­tur for re­mov­ing dem­o­li­tion fenc­ing.

Oh, and one more thing: The mayor and the mem­ber of Con­gress would have un­til Thurs­day — to­day — to take the deal.

That’s an in­ter­est­ing ap­proach to spir­i­tual and com­mu­nity lead­er­ship.

It was def­i­nitely an “or else,” of­fer — as if a cou­ple of burly mon­signors with brass knuck­les were wait­ing in the wings.

David Mann, of the Land Bank, wrote back to the bishop say­ing that was an of­fer “that no rea­son­able party could ac­cept” and mak­ing a counter of­fer: That the di­o­cese al­low city of­fi­cials 15 busi­ness days to in­spect the build­ing’s con­di­tion, and then do­nate the prop­erty to the Land Bank along with a sum of $300,000 to­ward its preser­va­tion.

After all, tak­ing down the build­ing will cost, ac­cord­ing to Mr. Mann, $700,000 to $900,000.

Late Wed­nes­day, the bishop made a sec­ond of­fer. He offered to ab­sorb all the can­cel­la­tion and clean-up costs. But no cash. And the Land Bank still has only until today to decide.

The bishop will still be ahead by about half-a-mil­lion.

So, the two sides may split the dif­fer­ence. And that’s prob­a­bly the best the com­mu­nity can do.

The main thing is that we have move­ment and an open­ing to save the church. The bishop has opened the door and shown that he is will­ing to lis­ten and help pre­serve this his­toric Toledo build­ing.

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The lead­ers of the preser­va­tion move­ment, the lead­ers of Toledo, can do this.

The other good news is that early signs point to an es­sen­tially sound, sav­able, us­able build­ing.

We are on the verge of a big win for the city, and even for tough guy Danny Tho­mas.

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