Friday, August 7, 2020

Libs Ask: What If New Notre Dame Were ‘Secular’

As pledges from across France and the world pour in to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral, some see an opportunity to transform the 850-year-old iconic church into a secular shrine, unencumbered by Christian symbolism. (

Writing for the Rolling Stone, EJ Dickson observed that “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.”

Dickson cited Patricio del Real, an architecture historian at Harvard University.

“The building was so overburdened with meaning that its burning feels like an act of liberation,” she said.

Michael Kimmelmann wrote for the New York Times that 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.”

French President Emmanuel Macron has emphasized that the cathedral should stay as close to its original design as possible.

AAN Staff
AAN Staff
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