But no pledges to fix “The Church.”
The fire at Notre Dame de Paris was a cultural tragedy. The cathedral is iconic to Paris, to France, to the world. The loss of over 850 years of work by carpenters, stone masons, painters, sculptors, stain glass makers, metal smiths, and untold numbers of other artisans who lent their talents to create this magnificent Gothic Cathedral is nothing short of catastrophic.
I realize the significance of this cathedral to the national identity of France and to the people of Paris. I have had the opportunity to see it myself while traveling in Europe during my years in the military. I was impressed with the dramatic lines of the Gothic architecture as I approached. I marvelled at the art, tapestries, sculptures, and attention to detail inside. It was truly amazing. And to think that this cathedral survived almost 900 years through good times and bad. It survived the French Revolution, World War I and World War II relatively unscathed. It seems that this fire was started by an electrical short during renovations. A simple pop, a short circuit and so much was lost.
Within hours of the fire devasting Notre Dame, money was being pledged to restore the cathedral. A core group of wealthy French families had already pledged almost $700 million to restore the building. Within just a few days that number soared over $1 Billion. I tell you, those Catholics can sure come together to tackle a problem like repairing a church. It is just a damn shame that those same Catholics can’t band together to restore THE church. You know, get rid of the dysfunctional hierarchy that is in denial about everything from priests raping children, priests raping vulnerable adults, priests fathering children (the next big crisis is coming!), misuse of funds, and lying to the laity? Anyone?
All through my youth, in catechism class and in countless homilies I heard that the church is not the building. The church is the people worshiping together as one. I am amazed that the worldwide outpouring of support was so immediate and tangable. But, that outpouring is for a building. Granted, it is a cultural heritage asset. But still…
If Catholics would take a moment to step back and look at the overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing by priests and other church officials who enjoyed protection from a flawed Catholic hierarchy willing to do anything to protect itself. They are shameless. Cardinal Dolan of New York took the opportunity when interviewed on the Paris fire to make a plea for funds to help pay off the renovations in St. Patricks Cathedral. I had to laugh at his blatant attempt to raise money. Nothing like a good cathedral fire somewhere else to fill some of the local coffers in New York. A couple of days later, a man walked into St Patricks with gasoline and lighters. A security guard stopped him before he could light the place up. The guard was able to get some backup from members of the anti-terrorism task force that was just outside of St. Patricks. One question, why was the anti-terrorism task force just outside of St. Patricks? I wish I had that kind of protection when I was 13 and Father Gibson was attacking me.
The Catholic church, as I understand it( “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.*” blah blah blah), is still burning. The hierarchy keeps putting fuel on the fire, and they are willing to sacrifice the innocent on the altar to keep the gravy train going. The blame and they deflect, and they keep fleecing the sheep for all they are worth.
Notre Dame will be rebuilt. I would argue that we should let the Catholic Church, in its current form, continue to burn to the ground.