After the devastating fire that ravaged it in 2019, the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral will be converted into an exhibition hall away from the original design, going against the majority who wanted to restore its original appearance.
“What they are proposing to do to Notre-Dame would never be done to Westminster Abbey or Saint Peter’s in Rome. It’s a kind of theme park and very childish and trivial given the grandeur of the place,” said renowned architect Maurice Culot after seeing the plans, according to The Telegraph of Nov. 26.
He added: “[Architect] Viollet-le-Duc had well understood one could add notes that didn’t exist but on condition to do it in the spirit of the original and not in a sort of ridiculous rupture that will go out of fashion in three years.”
Another critic close to the work said: “This is political correctness gone mad. They want to turn Notre-Dame into an experimental liturgical showroom that exists nowhere else whereas it should be a landmark where the slightest change must be handled with great care.”
He also felt that the remodeling would “mutilate” the work of Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, the celebrated architect who restored the cathedral after the destruction caused during the French Revolution.
Instead of confessionals, altars, and classical sculptures, there will be modern art murals and other light and sound effects to create “emotional spaces.” At the end of the tour, there will be an emphasis on environmentalism.
In addition, the 18th-century crypt designed by Jacques-Germain Soufflot would be broken up to install elevators to hide the benches when deemed appropriate.
The façade will maintain the original appearance, but the interior will strongly reduce the Catholic culture, the foundations of Christianity, and the history of salvation. Aspects of Africa and Asia will be highlighted.
Many scientific committee members overseeing the restoration disagree with the drastic remodeling, and a major meeting of France’s National Heritage Commission on Dec. 9 is expected to define the final version.
The devastating fire that swept through the interior of the Cathedral on April 15, 2019, shocked the world and prompted 340,000 donors who contributed nearly $1 billion for its reconstruction.
During that year, Christian symbols were deliberately attacked in Europe, where anti-Christian hostility continued to rage, without the vandals receiving the effects of the law.
Approximately 3,000 churches, schools, cemeteries, and Christian monuments were vandalized, looted, or defaced in Europe during 2019, marking a record year for anti-Christian sacrilege on the continent, according to research by the Gatestone Institute.
The NGO reviewed thousands of newspaper reports, police memos, parliamentary inquiries, social media posts, and specialized blogs from Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Spain for its research.
Violence against Christian sites is most widespread in France, where – according to government statistics – churches, schools, cemeteries, and monuments are being vandalized, desecrated, and burned at an average rate of three per day.