The sight of a Cross shining forth as a beacon of hope from the charred ruins of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, will be perhaps one of the most moving of all the sights we have seen this Easter festival.
A living heritage, the ruins of fabulous stone buildings on the Acropolis at Athens and other great sites around the world, have stood as symbolic and iconic foundation stones for today’s western culture for a very long time.
Initially in the aftermath of the destruction by fire of the great cathedral of Notre Dame at Paris, President Macron immediately announced it would be rebuilt, whatever the cost, providing impetus for an outpouring of both feeling and funding from all over the world.
Nurturing human potential and giving it a platform to thrive is all about society’s sustainability and well-being.
‘Our Lady of Paris’ had stood for eight hundred years at the heart of the city and over that time, had earned a place at the essence of its nation and its development.
There is undeniable evidence about the importance of safeguarding our world cultural heritage.
All great cities around the world have great structures we admire and the elements, which make up buildings like Notre Dame are human, geological, botanical and architectural, emphasizing their layers of history.
Surely however, it’s worth a global conversation among the charities to consider an alternative plan for revitalizing the ruins of the great Cathedral?
Making another decision would be all about helping to find a balance in French society, where its people can respect the past, while also helping to restore hope in the future for all, as they continue to build a strong economy and a good life.
The historical Jesus was a humble man, a carpenter by trade who had a simple message; do unto others as they would do unto you. Notre Dame cathedral was reputedly built to ‘worship’ him, even though he didn’t really require of men they should immortalize him in stone.
It was ambitious men of fortune who did that.
The reality is today all over the world, millions and millions of people are living without a shelter to protect them from the elements as climate change impacts more and more on all our lives.
This means we must continue to revisit through conversations with each other, the attitudes and ideas behind progressive change.
The extraordinary amount of funds donated could be used to shore up and stabilize the walls left to make them safe, and leave a large part of the Cathedral as a glorious ruin for tourists.
This area could contain a great contemplative garden with ancillary services, which through technology would assist people to learn about and understand the cathedral building and its history.
The rest of both money and building would be re-purposed, helping society heal itself by giving the building a dual purpose; the reflective centre for the spirit and the soul, plus a place at the heart of Paris for helping those experiencing homelessness.
Jesus the Christ’s mother Mary, for whom the building is named Our Lady (Notre Dame), would be sure to approve of helping those in need.
She would want, in the name of her son Jesus, to be able to offer homeless people a hot meal, a place to wash, be given new clothes, new hope and a bed for a night or two, before being pointed in the direction of assistance from mental health professionals, who together with corporate patrons would be willing to help them find new ways of regaining their self-esteem and to earn a living.
What a truly wonderful act of ‘restoration’ that would be.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2019