Notre Dame preservation should respect faith, history

Bernard Garwig, Sports Editor

As a Catholic and a Western citizen, it was so disheartening to see Notre Dame in flames during Holy Week.

I personally have never been to the cathedral, let alone to France, but the spiritual connection that the building holds to those of the Catholic faith hurt me.

It hurt to watch the massive spire collapsing in a blaze onto the burning roof.

Notre Dame has survived so much throughout its more than 850 years of existence.

The cathedral was the scene of Napoleon’s coronation, and the place where Charles De Gaulle attended Mass for the 1944 liberation from Nazi Germany.

It has seen damage before, but not even Hitler and the aforementioned Nazis attempted to destroy it.

I heard many pundits take their position on the destruction that took place.

Perhaps most touching was a French man who said it is easy to take living near the cathedral for granted, but that he took time to pause and gaze at the ornate structure and find new details.

He said that he was happy that the building was ultimately saved; however, there will be no replacing the craftsmanship of those who undertook the Cathedral’s construction.

It truly is miraculous that the building was saved, as I can remember there were reports from the firefighters at the time that the whole building might be lost.

There were also stories of heroism, such as the fire chaplain who saved Jesus’ crown of thorns from the building.

It was certainly a unifying moment for the French people, who have been in some turmoil in recent months.

Unfortunately, I am disheartened by France’s decision to allow for a contest to redesign Notre Dame’s roof and spire.

President Emmanuel Macron endorsed a reconstruction of Notre Dame as it was, but soon afterwards balked.

Images have surfaced online of a glass roof, as well as a plain clear glass spire.

There are also talks about trying to incorporate eco-friendly features into the design, such as a greenhouse-style roof.

I can understand the desire to push forward and to modernize, but what is the reason to simplify the beauty and craftsmanship of Notre Dame?

When you think of the Louvre, for example, rarely does one think of the glass, Post-Modern pyramid that adorns the front of the building.

You think of the incredible works of art held within the Louvre, like the Renaissance-era Mona Lisa.

What if a fire destroyed part of Old Main?

Would the iconic postcard view of the building look better if there was an influx of glass onto the building?

I certainly don’t think it would.

For the sake of respecting almost a millennium’s worth of work and passion in creating a house of Catholic worship, I believe that all urges to modernize Notre Dame should be rejected.

As a Catholic, I find the idea of a greenhouse roof disrespectful.

The building should be timeless, a triumph of civilization and a proud house of worship for both Parisian Catholics and those traveling from around the world.