Notre Dame open thread

A post in which I share my thoughts about the Notre Dame fire and an open thread at which you should feel free to post your thoughts too.

Notre Dame

Some random thoughts:

Just yesterday, the Gatestone Institute ran this Raymond Ibrahim article:

European Churches: Vandalized, Defecated On, and Torched “Every Day”

Countless churches throughout Western Europe are being vandalized, defecated on, and torched.

In France, two churches are desecrated every day on average. According to PI-News, a German news site, 1,063 attacks on Christian churches or symbols (crucifixes, icons, statues) were registered in France in 2018. This represents a 17% increase compared to the previous year (2017), when 878 attacks were registered— meaning that such attacks are only going from bad to worse.

Among some of the recent desecrations in France, the following took place in just February and March:

  • Vandals plundered Notre-Dame des Enfants Church in Nîmes and used human excrement to draw a cross there; consecrated bread was found thrown outside among garbage.
  • The Saint-Nicolas Church in Houilles was vandalized on three separate occasions in February; a 19th century statue of the Virgin Mary, regarded as “irreparable,” was “completely pulverized,” said a clergyman; and a hanging cross was thrown to the floor.
  • Vandals desecrated and smashed crosses and statues at Saint-Alain Cathedral in Lavaur, and mangled the arms of a statue of a crucified Christ in a mocking manner. In addition, an altar cloth was burned.
  • Arsonists torched the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris soon after midday mass on Sunday, March 17.

Similar reports are coming out of Germany. Four separate churches were vandalized and/or torched in March alone. “In this country,” PI-News explained, “there is a creeping war against everything that symbolizes Christianity: attacks on mountain-summit crosses, on sacred statues by the wayside, on churches… and recently also on cemeteries.”

Who is primarily behind these ongoing and increasing attacks on churches in Europe? The same German report offers a hint: “Crosses are broken, altars smashed, Bibles set on fire, baptismal fonts overturned, and the church doors smeared with Islamic expressions like ‘Allahu Akbar.'”

Of the many exquisite cathedrals I’ve visited all over Europe, Notre Dame is my least favorite. Beautiful windows notwithstanding, it’s dark, dank, and poorly laid out, not to mention clunky inside. Nevertheless, for almost a thousand years, it’s been one of the highest achievements of Western culture and to see it vanish is perfectly, and sadly, emblematic of Western culture’s decline.

The church has been undergoing construction work and that may well have been what caused the fire. It’s also simply a very old building and bad things can happen. Nevertheless, and quite unsurprisingly, I’m seeing lots of internet rumors saying the fire was deliberately set. Even assuming that’s true, it’s doesn’t mean a Muslim set it. It could have been someone mentally ill or an anarchist. I’m withholding judgment until there are facts . . . but that doesn’t stop me from playing the “if” game in my head:

If someone did deliberately set that fire, and if that someone was a Muslim, it will be interesting to see how Europeans and Progressive Americans react. They are, after all, more fond of art work than people. (Just remember their responses to the Taliban’s destruction of the giant Buddhas or ISIS’s destruction of Palmyra).

So if all those “ifs” are true, will it be enough to awaken Europeans and Proggies to the threat Islamists pose to the West? If the answer is “yes,” I think those people of faith who built Notre Dame will see it was a worthwhile sacrifice for the greater good. If the answer is no — if the Europeans and Proggies do not wake up — though . . . well, the saints will weep.

I’m selfish enough to be grateful that my favorite European cathedral is unharmed (at the link, scroll down to the bit about “A word about restoring sites“).

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