Notre Dame and France

Folsom

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Like most, I was appalled at watching the scenes of one of France's best known landmarks being gutted by flames.
Ive had the good fortune to visit it many years ago and I hope again to so once it is restored.
Of all the capital cities Paris is to many, one of the most endearing from a historical, cultural and architectural perspective.

However, all is not well in the city of lights and further afield in France. After the ghetto riots in 2005 which stretched emergency services to the limit resulting in a state of emergency, France has been subjected to some horrific terrorists and remains on alert.
Futhermore the emergence of the 'Yellow Vest' protests which has brought the center of Paris to a standstill on many occasions, resulting in deaths and the destruction of property illustrates the bubbling civil unrest occurring in France at this time.

So watching the awful pictures of Notre Dame I was somewhat struck by commentary on Sky News that said (as the flames were engulfing the cathedral) that emergency services believe the fire started due to an accident and were ruling out arson. I thought this peculiar as my understanding is that in a fire emergency priority is given to getting the fire under control and quenching it, thereafter, an investigation into how the fire started can commence. Ordinarily, I would just shrug my shoulders and move on, but considering the social upheaval in France in recent times, I remained somewhat sceptical of this reporting.

So it didn't take long to find this article about Catholic churches being desecrated in France.
https://www.newsweek.com/spate-attacks-catholic-churches-france-sees-altars-desecrated-christ-statue-1370800

This is an alarming state of affairs if accurate, and while in no way can be automatically linked to the burning of Notre Dame, it does go someway, in my opinion, to explaining why the news reporting was eager to downplay the prospect of arson before an investigation could actually take place.

France is not in good place at this time. In a time of violent protests triggered by increasing taxes on the working and middle-class, it must be galling for those protesters to hear reports of €700-€900m being raised, not from public finances, but from private wealthy donors at the drop of a hat.
In my opinion, it is the lob-sided economic imbalance that concentrates too much wealth into the hands of too few that is ultimately the precursor of all social unrest, conflict and division.
Notre Dame, which was desecrated during the French revolution, will be a beacon for fundamental change in the social order of France and further afield.
 

Purple

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It's a building and it burned down. The main sspore that collapsed dates from 1802. It has been damaged and rebuilt plenty of times. While it is a cultural and artistic loss a sense of perspective is required.
France has lots of derelict Catholic Churches. Derelict buildings get broken in to and vandalised. If the Catholic Church doesn't want those empty and disused Churches desecrated then they should deconsecrate them, they they would just be vandalised.

France is a high tax country where income inequality is far lower than most countries and that income inequality hasn't changed to any significant extent in the last 40 years. In big countries some people get very rich. They usually make lots of other people rich in the process. Wealth is created. It is not finite. Therefore when one people gets rich it doesn't mean someone else gets poor. The opposite it usually the case. Communists and Socialists didn't understand that which is why their ideologies failed and socialism for the economically literate changed into social democracy.
 
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Folsom

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It's a building and it burned down.
Lots of buildings have been burnt down. Few get the global media attention that Notre Dame has got. I would suggest it is more than just a building that burned down as your remark implies.

France has lots of derelict Catholic Churches
Thanks.
But staying on topic, Notre Dame nor the churches identified in the newsweek article are not derelict.
 

Purple

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Lots of buildings have been burnt down. Few get the global media attention that Notre Dame has got. I would suggest it is more than just a building that burned down as your remark implies.
I think you should re-read my post if you think I suggested that it was "Just a building". It is/was of a major historical, architectural and artistic significance but nobody died, it is not 800 years old and it in no way unique.


Thanks.
But staying on topic, Notre Dame nor the churches identified in the newsweek article are not derelict.
About 3% of the population of France goes to Mass regularly. Most Churches are empty most of the time. Empty buildings get broken into. We don't know if the Churches identifies in the NewsWeek article are derelict, disused or closed most of the time. They cite individual Churches and then quote numbers but don't state what the status is of the churches included in those numbers. Obviously there is an anti-Church element to some of the attacks and all attacks on religious sites should be condemned but it is inaccurate to suggest that all attacks are part of an anti-Church agenda.
 

Folsom

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I think you should re-read my post if you think I suggested that it was "Just a building".
I have re-read your post and I apologise, I misconstrued your comment.

Most Churches are empty most of the time. Empty buildings get broken into. We don't know if the Churches identifies in the NewsWeek article are derelict, disused or closed most of the time.
Most churches are empty most if the time. No different to here in Ireland. Very few churches, used, disused, derelict or closed, are vandalised, broken into or desecrated, to the extent that it is occurring in France as far as im aware.

The church of St Sulpice in Paris is used.
http://pss75.fr/saint-sulpice-paris/
 

Purple

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Most churches are empty most if the time. No different to here in Ireland. Very few churches, used, disused, derelict or closed, are vandalised, broken into or desecrated, to the extent that it is occurring in France as far as im aware.
/
It's hard to overstate how underused French Churches are.
There were about 120 priests ordained there last year. 8 times that many retired. There are about 11500 priests in France, of them 7000 are under the age of 75. Of that 7000 about 1800 are from Africa.
There are over 50,000 Roman Catholic Churches in France, 45,000 of which are parish Churches.
That's less than one priest for every 7 Churches.
 

Folsom

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Thats alot of churches indeed.
But focusing on the newsweek article, the churches listed are used regularly, and the intent of the article is to draw attention to occurences of vandalism that are increasing above the norm. A cursory check on other news outlets, such as France24.com can support this. In doing so, I was reminded of the brutal murder of a priest in Normandy in July 2016.
It doesn't of course suggest or confirm that the Notre Dame fire was anything other than an accident, but that news commentary is bugging me. I cannot find the Sky News coverage, but this MSNBC coverage demonstrates the point of oddly suggesting the cause of the fire before it had even been brought in anyway under control (from 1st minute and again between 9 and 10mins) smacks of someone, somewhere wanting to downplay the prospect of arson.

https://youtu.be/xGbmWOfdXcQ
 

cremeegg

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smacks of someone, somewhere wanting to downplay the prospect of arson.
You may be right, but downplaying the prospect of arson before the facts are known is preferable to saying "it was probably muslim terrorists" before the facts were known.

And if the main stream media said nothing that narrative may well have taken hold.
 

Folsom

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You may be right, but downplaying the prospect of arson before the facts are known is preferable
I agree it is preferable, in the absence of any evidence, to saying "it was probably muslim terrorists", but I dont think that was suggested anywhere.
What is not preferable, is leading the general public astray with misleading commentary, if it is the case.
All that I am suggesting is that the commentary is most likely misleading considering the fire was still taking hold and emergency services did not appear to have any control of it. I am open to be corrected on that.
Instead, suggesting the cause of the fire at that time has had the reverse effect as far as im concerned. Rather than downplaying arson, it has fuelled my speculation that foul play is a real possibility.
It is the difference between honest reporting and spin-doctoring to a particular agenda.
 
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