On his blog of March 31, 2021, the Vaticanist Aldo Maria Valli posted a nice tribute to the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral by an American intellectual John Horvat, on the occasion of the selection on March 5th of the oaks from the forest of Bercé, Sarthe, which will be used for the new framework.
“Something about Notre Dame Cathedral overwhelms and fascinates the postmodern mind. Even in its present damaged state, the charred building commands the world’s attention. The cathedral’s authenticity prevailed over all attempts to disfigure it with a restoration of brutal modernistic redesigns.”
“When the spire and roof burned and collapsed on that fateful April 15, 2019, everyone was transfixed by the event. It was a day when the world wept, as something of France’s soul seemed lost. Outpourings of condolences and financial support arrived from around the world.”
“Now, as the first oaks are selected for the rebuilding, the world looks on in awe. Media everywhere carried stories on the selection process and felling ceremony. This is no ordinary project; it touches the Catholic soul of France and the world.”
“The intense interest in the reconstruction process is a reminder of the Church’s tremendous power over souls. Despite the apocalyptical crisis of faith within the Church, things like Notre Dame speak to the shallow emptiness of today’s postmodernity. The poor metaphysical orphans of this lost century crave the beauty, depth and sublimity that only the Church can offer.”
“Unfortunately, ‘woke’ Church officials waste this opportunity. They dither in ghastly social justice platitudes that attract no one. They refuse to see how attractive the Church is when faithful to herself and her tradition.”
John Horvat says that this reconstruction “touches the essence of France”: “this is no mere restoration but a work of love and dedication. It represents the continuity of something special that the French want to endure far beyond their lifetimes. Indeed, the carpenters working on the project believe the oak roof will last at least eight to ten more centuries, far outperforming its steel or concrete competition.”
“The project involves much more than a building or the expression of high culture and genius.
It relies on the Church’s powerful influence that, with God’s grace, elicits great enthusiasm. Deep down, the Notre Dame restoration represents the vital yet tenuous alliance that links France with Our Lady—to whom the consecrated building is dedicated.”
“The restoration is a lesson to all Catholics: Great things are possible when even the smallest link with Our Lady is maintained. Catholics and clergy need to believe in this power. It could change everything.”
“That is why the restoration must extend beyond the rebuilding of the church structures and win back hearts and minds to the Faith. France must rebuild Our Lady’s house and implore her to return as queen. When that happens, France’s future will be secured.”