Just Leave It Be

No . . .

Oh, dear God no . . .

Here’s a radical idea: rebuild it so it looks just like the original, only more fireproof.

The modern architectural assault on everything Beautiful and True continues in the wake of Monday’s tragic fire at Notre Dame in Paris. Brian Niemeier, among others, has written far more eloquently than I could about the fire’s spiritual and symbolic meaning. I’m here to write about the aftermath.

As we all know, aesthetics matter to a culture. And a culture that can produce a building like Notre Dame, constructed to the glory of God and His only begotten son Jesus Christ, says something very different than the culture that constructed, for example, Boston City Hall.

Yes, I’m conflating France and the United States. They’re both broadly The West, and Western architects can no longer build beautiful things.

Which is why the news that France plans to hold an international competition to rebuild Notre Dame fills me with dread. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Why the hell can’t France rebuild her own cathedral? And
  2. The forces of wokeness are going to ensure the new and “improved” Notre Dame reflects the “diversity” of modern, post-Christian France.

You know there’s going to be talk of putting up minarets so France’s burgeoning Muslim population doesn’t get offended. Or maybe there’ll also be a museum dedicated to chronicling the horrors of France’s “shameful racist and anti-Semitic colonial past.” You know, total and utter nonsense like that.

Think I’m kidding? The ever-woke Rolling Stone provides an insight into the modern, spiritually dead and anti-Christian mindset. Some choice parts below:

In the wake of the destruction, French billionaires such as Francois-Henri Pinault(perhaps best known in the United States as the husband of Salma Hayek) and Bernard Arnault, chair of luxury goods brand LVMH, have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars toward the reconstruction of the cathedral, and Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron has issued a public statement on Twitter vowing to rebuild. Yet the damage wrought by the Notre Dame fire has also raised important questions about the cathedral’s symbolic significance in an increasingly divided France, and how to rebuild (or which version of the cathedral should be rebuilt) going forward — and in some ways, these questions are one and the same.

That’s right, folks: “important questions about the cathedral‘s symbolic significance in an increasingly divided France.”

It’s a symbol of Christianity, you nitwit.

But for some people in France, Notre Dame has also served as a deep-seated symbol of resentment, a monument to a deeply flawed institution and an idealized Christian European France that arguably never existed in the first place. “The building was so overburdened with meaning that its burning feels like an act of liberation,” says Patricio del Real, an architecture historian at Harvard University. If nothing else, the cathedral has been viewed by some as a stodgy reminder of “the old city — the embodiment of the Paris of stone and faith — just as the Eiffel Tower exemplifies the Paris of modernity, joie de vivre and change,” Michael Kimmelmann wrote for the New York Times.

Despite politicians on both sides of the French political spectrum discouraging people from trying to politicize the Notre Dame fire, it would be a mistake to view the building as little more than a Paris tourist attraction, says John Harwood, an architectural historian and associate professor at the University of Toronto. “It’s literally a political monument. All cathedrals are,” he says. For centuries, the cathedral was the seat of the bishop of the Catholic Church at a time when there was virtually no distinction between church and state. “It was the center and seat of political power not just in Paris, but in France,” he says. “And that remained the case even after the French Revolution and through successive revolutions and political power and regimes.”

What utter garbage. Everything is political in our 21st century Clown World. Every day is Year Zero. “Destroy the past” and all of that.

What it means to be “French,” however, has obviously changed a great deal over the past few centuries. While France is still predominantly Christian, the number of practicing Catholics has fallen year after year, from 64% in 2010 to 56% in 2012, according to one census figure. The number of Muslims in France is also growing, comprising more than 5% of the population (up from 3% in 2006) giving rise to rampant Islamophobia and the birth of far-right extremist parties like the National Front, headed by extremist Marine Le Pen. A profound income gap has also led to the explosion of protests from so-called “yellow vests,” a movement primarily made up oflower-middle-class and middle-class youthon the left who have vandalized many similarly historically significant French monuments (and whose latest actions Macron was expected to comment on in a scheduled press conference, which was postponed when Notre Dame started burning). In fact, in the hours following the fire, many startedblaming the accident on the yellow vests; there was also a flurry of Islamophobic posts on social media attributing the fire to Muslim extremist terrorists, despite the fact that all evidence currently indicates that the blaze was accidental.

Won’t somebody think of the Muslims?

You know, generally the thing that makes the population of a host country dislike and distrust Muslims is terrorism, a thing France has experienced more than its fair share of.

But again, wokeness prevails.

This might be the most unintentionally hilarious yet chilling passage:

Although Macron and donors like Pinault have emphasized that the cathedral should be rebuilt as close to the original as possible, some architectural historians like Brigniani believe that would be complicated, given the many stages of the cathedral’s evolution. “The question becomes, which Notre Dame are you actually rebuilding?,” he says. Harwood, too, believes that it would be a mistake to try to recreate the edifice as it once stood, as LeDuc did more than 150 years ago. Any rebuilding should be a reflection not of an old France, or the France that never was — a non-secular, white European France — but a reflection of the France of today, a France that is currently in the making. “The idea that you can recreate the building is naive. It is to repeat past errors, category errors of thought, and one has to imagine that if anything is done to the building it has to be an expression of what we want — the Catholics of France, the French people — want. What is an expression of who we are now? What does it represent, who is it for?,” he says.

The subtext is clear: France was never great, was never really Christian, was never really Catholic, and was never really white (read: French).

I’d love to use similar rhetoric next time a Muslim or Jewish holy site gets destroyed, accidentally or otherwise. Except I want to keep my job.

So I’m making a bold, incredibly educated prediction:

The rebuilt Notre Dame will be an ugly, blasphemous abomination.

I say this because we as the West are fundamentally incapable of recognizing and creating Truth and Beauty and Hope in our art because we have deliberately, maliciously, and gleefully abandoned the divine and it’s aspirational qualities.

I pray I’m wrong. But I think, as the West has abandoned God, God is abandoning the West.

Better to leave the ruins of Notre Dame than rebuild it into something monstrous. France’s ancestors deserve better.


  1. One of Brian’s commenters supposed that, being moved by the vigil singing “Ave Maria,” Theotokos may have interceded to save the cathedral. I sincerely hope that to be the case, because I like to believe that Mary wouldn’t pray to save what she knew we would end up destroying anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I want the spire. The weather cock with relics the original bells. If not spanking brand new ones made the medieval artisan In fact I want the builders to follow the original plans.

      I want everyone to have a sense of humility and honour the reconstruction as the original builders did it (ok to use cranes and AUTOCAD)
      No egos or showing off or whatever theatrics everyone plans.


      Liked by 2 people

      • That would be ideal, and I would love nothing more than to see a faithful recreation of what was lost.

        But we both know that, with the monsters in charge of France and the rest of Europe, that’s not going to happen.


  2. You wrote: “…Wow. That’s a wild story. I don’t know if I believe all of it, but much of it certainly compared with what we know…”

    —I don’t know much about the guy but it seems like it was a total life changing event, though he still struggled with the new ideals he tried to live with.

    —Why not just reconstruct the interior as close to what was destroyed as possible. That makes the most sense to me. I’m glad it seems much of the building survived.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I logged onto Facebook (wow what a mistake!) and saw some lame meme to the effect of “imagine if people donated money to *real* problems instead of fixing churches”. A good reminder of why I’ve 99% given up on Facebook for anything other than messaging people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Facebook can really make one hate the human race even more than other forms of social media.

      Why rebuild a church? Because it’s showing honor and devotion to God.

      Or you can just give millions to poor people and let them squander it in record time and still be poor. Or to government and watch it all go to administrative services, pet projects, and paying back major donors.

      I’ll take spending it on Notre Dame.


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