The magnificent cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is a technological and artistic marvel. Staggering in its beauty, Notre Dame has survived intact through the ages – the Reformation, the French Revolution, the Nazi invasion and other horrors of the 20th century, the WSJ reminds readers. The world grieved yesterday as it watched Notre Dame burn.
Even as parts of the venerable church collapsed, a miracle emerged: It appears no lives were lost though the cathedral had been a hive of activity for Holy Week worshippers, workmen and tourists. Yet the loss to Western civilization is incalculable. Countless artifacts … have been lost. So has a tactile connection to the faith and artistry of the countless anonymous workmen who built and improved it over the centuries.
The importance of Notre Dame as a religious, cultural and political monument in France’s life is hard to appreciate if you aren’t French. … President Emmanuel Macron described the sadness at seeing “a part of us” burn.
The French have endured as a nation for longer than Notre Dame occupied its site in the middle of Paris, and they have survived far deadlier tragedies. The damage to their greatest national monument is a disaster, but expect French pride and élan to restore what they can of their historic but living legacy.
Try to imagine the human element and try not to weep, Anthony Esolen writes in American Greatness.
(The) carpenters, glazers, masons, sculptors, smiths in lead, iron, copper, silver, and gold; with shovels, pulleys, winches, sledges, hammers; scaffolding everywhere; men like high-wire artists hundreds of feet in the air; decades of work, under the direction of bishop and master builder, one after another; and stories, hundreds of stories, of Christ and Mary and the apostles, of patriarchs and prophets, of teachers and martyrs, men and women, kings and common laborers; culture bearing a hundredfold in the very beings of the people who raised the towers high.
Later today, Dick and I fly to Charles de Gaulle. We go with heavy hearts for the French and our Parisian friends. We also go with hope as several of France’s most successful entrepreneurs are pledging hundreds of millions to help restore Notre-Dame de Paris.
Read more here.