It was nearly 12 years ago to the day that I got to see Notre Dame Cathedral, albeit from a distance. I was re-patriating (a fancy word for coming home for good after having lived in Iraq for three years) and touring Europe with a friend before returning to the states and beginning my next adventure as a writer. I told myself that the “next time I saw Paris” I would visit the cathedral and take my time doing so as we did when we saw the Duomo in Florence. I was confident that I would get my chance, and content for the time being to take in the view from a hill a few blocks away. Clearly that trip to the old cathedral is never going to happen.
I am not Catholic, and the news clips of what at the time looked like it was going to be the last of Our Lady made me feel sad and helpless. Forgive my knee-jerk cynicism, but my first thought was that soon we would hear someone take responsibility for the blaze, and that it would be determined to have been arson. So far, that has not been the case; for now it is being called an accident possibly related to the renovation project that was underway before the fire broke out. With all my heart, I hope that is in fact and indeed the case.
Parisians are feeling somewhat like we did on 9/11, not that 3,000 lives were lost to jihad, but that an iconic site was being destroyed, and life was utterly disrupted. They are also encouraged that the global outpouring of support for them has been like a tsunami. As of Wednesday, money has been raised for the restoration project to the tune of over one billion dollars, with massive donations coming in from Apple, L’Oreal, and a multitude of private donors. It is estimated that it will take at least 20 years to “repair” the irreparable, and several more billion dollars to do so.
Most importantly, no lives were lost, which in itself is miraculous given the more than 500 firefighters that fought the blaze, and no tourists were harmed during Holy Week, one of the busiest tourist weeks there is. Everyone expected the artwork to have been a total loss; and amazingly, that has not been the case.
But what is the case is what Gatestone Institute’s Raymond Ibrahim calls “an eloquent silence.” In France alone, over 2,000 churches have been vandalized or desecrated since 2017; and the politically correct noose is so tight around the effort to expose who has been responsible that officials can only squeak out that those deeds were perpetrated by “militant secularists.” The perpetrators have cut off the heads of statues, broken gravestones, graffitied church doors, smeared human excrement on walls, set arson fires, and more. That is just in France, and that is in the last two years. And ISIS claims that the Notre Dame fire is Allah’s judgment and warns that the two remaining towers are next. No shock there.
What in the world is a “militant secularist”? Does the term make any sense on any level? Ironically, when the identity of the desecrators gets leaked and they are identified as Islamists, the next step is dump the “militant secularist” wording and replace it with the perpetrator(s) “suffering with mental health issues.”
Now I think we can agree that whether desecration of a church happens elsewhere or here in the states, it is evil, whether you “do it for God” or you are just an agnostic arson. Happily, there is a solution for that evil, er, sin, and that solution was worked out on a certain cross on a hill outside of Jerusalem during the original Holy Week of 2,000 years ago. It culminated in the Resurrection, and that is what makes sense when nothing else does.
A miraculously few masterpieces may have been lost in the Notre Dame fire, but you are an eternal masterpiece, and Someone is waiting for you to receive the full “funding” for your painstaking and personal restoration project. All you have to do is click the “Open” button, and you can get started. Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques, Feliz Pascua, and Khag paskha sameakh! He is risen indeed!
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner