After France just barely saved the great cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris from a terrible fire in 2019, it now looks as though “destruction” is paying the cathedral another visit.
According to Rod Dreher, writing at American Greatness:
The Telegraph’s Tim Stanley, along with colleague Henry Samuel, scored quite a scoop: he reveals a secret plan to renovate — that is, wreckovate — Notre-Dame de Paris, and turn it into a Gothic Epcot Center. Read on:
Paris’ fire-ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral risks resembling a “politically correct Disneyland” under controversial plans for its renovation seen by the Daily Telegraph.
Critics have warned that the world-famous cathedral will be turned into an “experimental showroom” under plans to dramatically change the inside of the medieval building.
Under the proposed changes, confessional boxes, altars and classical sculptures will be replaced with modern art murals, and new sound and light effects to create “emotional spaces”.
There will be themed chapels on a “discovery trail”, with an emphasis on Africa and Asia, while quotes from the Bible will be projected onto chapel walls in various languages, including Mandarin.
The final chapel on the trail will have a strong environmental emphasis.
“It’s as if Disney were entering Notre-Dame,” said Maurice Culot, a prize-winning Paris-based architect, urbanist, theorist and critic who has seen the plans.
The Telegraph’s paywall has since been lifted, and you can read the whole thing here.
This destructive “Disney-fication” of the cathedral in the name of “modernism” or “relevance” pretty well leaves France without any heritage at all. It desecrates the cathedral into just another entertainment center, another Disney, another attraction, a money-maker, probably, too, which pretty well takes time away from what churches are actually for, which is G-d. I’ve never been to Notre Dame, but I knew Catholics in Beverly Hills who had the cash to jet there for Mass pretty frequently. What they spoke of from those trips was the “peace” they felt from experiencing the Mass there in all its sensory space and glory and feeling the essence of their faith as historically expressed within the history of the great French nation. It was a place of beauty with a sense of eternity. You might laugh at that story, given the extravagance of the trips. But it was their money, and there are worse things they could have spent it on. Meanwhile, the fact that they could witness to people in Los Angeles about what they saw in Paris was a blessing to the rest of us who could hope to go. Now the whole thing is going to be something else.
What’s shocking is that the archbishop of Paris is actually behind this crap. This isn’t just the French state and its soulless state-is-my-religion bureaucrats imposing some vision of modernity on the French nation; it’s the Church itself doing this.
In June, the Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, said these would “bring the cathedral into the 21st century while preserving its own identity in the spirit of the Christian tradition”.
However, [according to] the plans presented by Father Gilles Drouin, the interior will look to the future, not the past.
Under the proposals, visitors will pass through the main entrance and be shepherded towards 14 themed chapels depicting Genesis, Abraham, Exodus and the Prophets but also the five continents.
While Africa and Asia will have pride of place, Europe, the Americas and Oceania will either be less evident behind the apse or totally absent. The tour ends at a chapel dedicated to “reconciled creation”, namely environmentalism as set out in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical.
Entertainment? Like Disney’s “Small World” ride? And in a church, where you are supposed to give your time to G-d, instead of yourself and your cell phone and your internet and your animal appetites? What’s this nonsense about getting rid of the confessionals? Did they forget that that’s a Church sacrament? It sounds sacrilegious to get rid of those.
What’s more, the arbitrary emphasis on Asia and Africa is completely strange. Isn’t France a beacon of Christianity and its story all by itself worth telling? Isn’t that story the reason why at least some Africans and Asians emigrate from their homelands to France? It doesn’t happen the other way around. Those other places are completely free to build their own cathedrals and expressions of Christianity, as would be fitting. Making Notre Dame about Africa instead of about the soul of France pretty well erases all French identity in the name of “multiculturalism.” Where do you go to get the French story if not that cathedral in all its historic glory now? People who want to experience Africa can go to Africa. People who want to experience France are out of luck.
Meanwhile, Church officials claim that they are modernizing because tourists do not know what the church symbols (in stained glass and sculptures, among other things, done that way for illiterate peasants who could only look at pictures) mean. It’s a stupid reason because that’s what Google is for. Don’t know what that lily in the hand of the St. Joseph statue means? Easy to look up. Everyone has access to Google and, come to think of it, libraries, human tour guides, and French locals. The human interaction is what the Church says it is striving for, and keeping the cathedral as it is is precisely what allows it. Smart officials would leave the cathedral as it was, knowing that people can look up or ask about what they don’t understand. What you don’t want is Google or its values to become the cathedral itself. These weird Disney-like modernizations in the name of “relevance” are actually likely to increase isolation and minimize human interaction.
In a way, it reminds me of the vaccine lunacy surrounding COVID: by demanding that the entire population be vaccinated, including babies and small children, as well as the unwilling, wokester officials eliminate a “control” group, the “unvaccinated,” from which to measure the vaccine’s many adverse effects. Notre Dame stands as a “control group” they’d also like to get rid of so that all that would be left would be a church of leftist greenie social justice warriors, ugly foundation-influenced modern art, and strange fancifications of the historical “Jesus” such as female Jesus and George Floyd Jesus, all of which erase all historic memory and the actual essence of Christianity as it has been experienced in France for at least a thousand years. Nobody would be able to know about that or experience what generations had experienced before them. They’d just have to take the wokester word for it about what Christianity was and what Notre Dame was since there would be no way of knowing otherwise.
It’s the same destructive impulse that prompted the Taliban to destroy those Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001. The Taliban didn’t want anyone in Afghanistan to know about them. They wanted the locals to take it from them as to what their religion and heritage were.
Shouldn’t these wokesters be free to build their own wokester cathedral and express their own wokester values instead of defacing Notre Dame? They don’t because they know nobody is going to go to it. So they need to destroy something good and take it over, like a parasite on a host, as a means of claiming legitimacy.
This plan is so bad and this bishop is so wrong that it needs to prompt huge public protests from the French. They had something great and good; some official now thinks the entire cathedral is “his,” and now he wants to remake it according to his egotistic wokester vision, instead of respecting the storied wisdom and expressions of the French people through the ages in the one church that pretty well embodies their nation.
The French haven’t been to church in years, so it’s hard to say what they will do, but it’s quite likely there could be a reaction. Even French people who don’t go to church liked Notre Dame for what it was. Turning it into another Disney production, when France already has a Disneyland, is one Disneyland too many.
via American Thinker