The 850-year old Notre Dame has survived wars, survived occupations, revolutions and riots, and now fire has badly damaged that ancient building – although from first reports it looks like the interior came through better than one might have expected.
Notre Dame is a building with spiritual significance to millions, and of great historical significance to everyone. The original is irreplaceable; it will be rebuilt, but it will never be the same.
Now, I won’t speculate as to the cause of this fire. That would, at this juncture, be simply irresponsible. There are experts a-plenty who will make that determination. The building was under renovation, and that can easily lead to accidents in a building said to include almost 60 acres of bone-dry, centuries-old timbers.
But there are groups out there that would like to see places like Notre Dame destroyed; groups that have no regard for freedom of conscience, freedom of association, for history, for culture. And they have made an attempt on Notre Dame at least once.
It’s very likely the Notre Dame fire was the result of some horrible accident. Time will tell. For now, we’ll mourn the lost of a great landmark of Western civilization, and be grateful that at least no lives were lost and that no one was seriously hurt.
And if it turns out that someone did this on purpose… Well, then, one would hope that the French authorities come down on them like, well, the wrath of God.