When I first heard about the Notre Dame Cathedral, I was saddened. You see, I have never been to France. But, I am a native of Louisiana, which has a rich French heritage. Not only that, I have French and Italian ancestry in my blood, so I’ve always had a sort of connection to the country. And of course I’m Catholic. And one of my favorite books is Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. (And I love Les Miserables–the musical anyway. The book is…a chore. A rewarding chore, but still)
Of course, the morning radio around here had a pretty dour attitude about it. The radio station is pretty right-wing, so of course they didn’t believe the official report. They spent more time talking about mounting another attack on Muslims and bombing their mosques than talking about the casualties and damage. I didn’t want to hear that, so I dug around on less politically-motivated news sources so I could get some kind of tally on that. I’m not a vengeful person. When 9/11 happened, my first thought was not “let’s go kill Bin Laden and make them pay!” My first thought was “Oh no! How many people died and how are we gonna find people who actually managed to survive?” I did not even ONCE consider any kind of assault. All that does is make things escalate even more! I prayed for the families of the victims, but I did not let violence enter my mind. And I tried my best to do the same with Notre Dame.
I was surprised to hear that there was quite a good silver lining out of this. Why bomb the mosques? No one died! No one was injured! Quite a lot of relics are still intact!Heck, even that iconic organ didn’t get damaged! Yes, there was millions of dollars worth of damage. But people are donating money to replace all that. People are helping Paris rebuild, whether they are Catholic or not. Even Richard Hawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the worst of the hateful atheists, have expressed condolences over the loss of such an iconic building in Paris’s history.
But, of course, there was also backlash against the Catholics. One of the age-old arguments considering Catholicism is how ornate many of the churches are. “If the church concerns that much for that poor, shouldn’t they donate everything to the poor? Why aren’t people donating all that money to the poor? It’s just an old building!”
Do you know who else asked that question? Judas Iscariot. Yeah, when that woman broke the alabaster container of ointment and anointed Jesus’s feet with it, he said “why is she spending so much money on such expensive perfume when she could be spending it on the poor?” Jesus rebuked him, and that probably led to him betraying Jesus. So, when you make that argument about the Church having so much money, really you’re repeating what Judas said.
And read this: