Like for so many, the Notre Dame is for me an icon of medieval brilliance. The cathedral has been a symbol of Catholicism, a thorn in the eyes of the revolutionary anti-christ, and was brought back to glory by Napoleon. After many tries, this time Lucifer finally got it. Christianity has been under fire through the centuries, and the attacks have spread in Europe and the US. But the Notre Dame in Paris remained a favored place for many believers to celebrate Mass, especially at Christmas, during the Holy Week and Easter, the Ascension of the Holy Mary, and All Saints Day. Lucifer must be jeering, rubbing his hot fingers, that his Judas put the fire to it, just in time.

Was it arson or just construction sloppiness, leaving some burning cigarette or some hot construction tool behind? What about French first-responder efficiency, as it took reportedly two hours for the fire trucks to arrive? Macron said it was an accident and I assume he said so following the judgment of his Sécurité. But was it? Imagine the national and western furor if it were not. Just for that reason, the authorities might not admit that. Now they want to rebuild it in five years as opposed to the hundred years it took in the twelfth/thirteenth centuries.

Some reporters and TV anchors were mocking that France, as a Catholic country, has become more and more secular.  Why rebuild it then, say the anchors? Only for tourism? But are the French really that ‘secular’? In the middle ages (like in other parts of the world, where they built majestic temples e.g., India, and mosques – Persia, Arabia, North Africa), peoples and their builders and artists dedicated their life to these magnificent constructions because of their religious faith. So did the French. Through the centuries, they build their structures because they believed. Today, not all ‘Catholics’ may attend mass, go for ‘confession,’ or take the Communion. But that does not mean they don’t believe in God and His Ten Commandments.

I was born in a fierce Protestant Dutch family and turned into a Catholic boy at the age of 9. I turned away from Catholicism because of its rigidity. Although I adore the old Catholic liturgy, its Gregorian Music and rituals because of their mysticism, and consider cathedrals like the one in Chartres magnificent places for quiet meditation, I preferred my Protestant religious freedom. Maybe the Catholic emphasis on rules, regulations, and compliance, combined with the unnatural celibacy of its priests and its resulting dire consequences, drives French believers, like elsewhere in Europe, away from the Church. But that is no reason to term the French atheists or non-believers. They may still consider themselves Christians, adhering as best they can to those Ten Commandments, instead of going to church, and having to listen to lengthy and insufferable sermons. They still want to be able to have access to the Notre Dame if they want to. That’s why they want to rebuild it.

This week we reminisce Jesus’ suffering at the Cross thanks to the Judasses among us, and his Redemption at Easter, while his sad mother, our Holy Mary, had to witness the cruelty of his tormentors. Mothers, whose sons died in war, terror or accidents will relate to her. The Notre Dame carries her name and always will. In the name of the Holy Mary, I will contribute to its restoration as it is a bulwark of our Christianity, despite all the nonsense of the anti-Christ bullies the world over.

When studying in Paris for a year in the early sixties, the Notre Dame bestowed many blessings on me, among others my fluency in French,  for which I am eternally grateful and the reason why I want to contribute. After that, I returned to Paris many times for business and pleasure with my wife and kids, often strolling around the Ile de la Cité, dominated by the Notre Dame. I may not witness the completion of its restoration, but then, many of its original builders did not see its completion either.

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