Alan Jacobs writes a blog that I regularly visit. (https://blog.ayjay.org) Alan's comments, even when at odds with my own, provoke me to think more deeply about the matter at hand. Here's a few select comments from his most recent blog post that seemed germane to yesterday's topic. He is wondering what will emerge from the ashes of Notre Dame. I think it's a significant question and will likely serve as sacrament of sorts, secular or religious, of where France and Europe have decided to cast their respective lots.
'Today I found myself thinking that someone should perhaps inform French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe that the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris is a church. How dare he — and so many dead-to-beauty architects — talk about this glorious place of worship as though it were a mere artifact of culture?And yet … this Catholic cathedral is not owned by the Catholic Church. It is owned by the French Ministry of Culture. “A mere artifact of culture” is what it legally is.
As far as I can tell, Notre Dame de Paris is a place of worship by sufferance only. If the government of France wants to leave it in ruins as a testimony to the evils of colonialism, homophobia, and clerical sexual abuse — which seems possible — or to rebuild it as a shiny new monument to the evils of colonialism, homophobia, and clerical sexual abuse — which seems slightly more possible — it can do so. If the government of France wants to turn it into a disco, then into a disco it shall be turned, with a giant glimmering disco ball hanging from the rebuilt roof.I have no idea what the Ministry of Culture will decide to do, but I seriously doubt that Catholic Christians will have any real say in the matter. Oh, to be sure, bishops and priests and a few devout laypeople will be assigned to committees. But they’ll have no ability to dictate or even to veto.....
But I don’t see how the final product can fail to embody the interests of the European technocratic elite, as opposed to those of faithful Christians....That long slow transfer of power is over now. The tiger the Church hoped to tame has eaten it. The building on the Île de la Cité dedicated 800 years ago to the Blessed Virgin Mary belongs wholly to the bureaucrats now. The rest of us will just have to stand by to see what they do with it.'
All the best,