Hands off! Notre Dame Cathedral restoration OFF LIMITS to multiculturalists, says French Senate

(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

Sorry multiculturalists, but the Notre-Dame de Paris is OFF LIMITS.

On Monday the French Senate approved a restoration bill for the Notre Dame Cathedral that included a last-minute clause mandating that the historic structure be restored to its original condition.

“The Senate has now approved the restoration bill already passed by the French parliament to allow work on the structure to be completed in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024 — but requires that the restoration be faithful to the ‘last known visual state’ of the cathedral, in an attempt to check the government, which has launched an international architectural competition soliciting designs for renovation,” The Local reported Tuesday.

This means that attempts to transform the structure into a “contemporary” beacon for “diversity” and “multiculturalism” won’t be tolerated. This news was a welcome surprise for those who’d been worried the cathedral would be resigned to appease multiculturalists:

After the 856-year-old structure caught on fire last month and suffered extensive damage, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild it within five years and leave it “more beautiful than before” with a reportedly “inventive” design.

This was followed by a call from French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe for a design contest.

“The international competition will allow us to ask the question of whether we should even recreate the spire as it was conceived by Viollet-le-Duc,” he said.

“Or whether, as is often the case during the evolution of heritage, we should endow Notre-Dame with a new spire that reflects the techniques and challenges of our era.”

What exactly did he mean by the “challenges of our era?” While that remains unclear, the rhetoric of others suggests he’d been referencing Paris’s transformation into a multicultural city.

“We have to ask what not only Catholicism but the notion of an iconic object in a multicultural and therefore multi-religious city such as Paris means for architecture, and how current technologies and materials influence the development of form,” president Aaron Betsky of the Arizona-based Taliesin School of Architecture remarked at the time to Archinect magazine.

“If anyone can answer that knot of questions, they might come up with a design that continues the work of faith that has made Notre Dame such a majestic object, tested by time and now fire, that keeps acting as a symbol and a fact of faith.”

Then in late April a British architect penned an op-ed for Domus magazine arguing that the cathedral’s spire be replaced with what would essentially be an Islamic minaret. Why? As an apology to Algerian Muslims who were killed by French police during the Paris massacre of 1961.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE MISSING …

According to The Local, other suggestions include “a rooftop garden, an ‘endless spire’ of light and a swimming pool on top of the building.”

What’s unclear is what happens next. According to some social media users who understand how the French government works, more steps are needed for the restoration bill to become law.

What also remains unclear is what caused the fire. While authorities believe it may have been caused by an electrical short-circuit, they haven’t determined this for sure yet.

“Elements like firewalls and sprinkler systems were reportedly missing from Notre Dame’s attic, where the fire burned, by choice. Electrical wiring reportedly wasn’t allowed in the cathedral’s attic to preserve its original design and to protect the lead ceiling’s timber support beams,” CNET notes.

“Valérie Pécresse, the president of the Île-de-France region in which Paris lies, confirmed that the fire was an accident, though officials haven’t elaborated on the exact cause. Paris police said it may be linked to the $6.8 million renovation efforts underway.”

HERE’S WHAT YOU’RE MISSING …

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Vivek Saxena

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