I’m beginning to see a lot of misinformation being spread about Notre Dame. The Catholic Church does not own Notre Dame. The French Ministry of Culture owns it, as it does most other historical buildings (including other Cathedrals throughout France). They do have an agreement with the Diocese of Paris that allows the Diocese to use the space for free in perpetuity. The cost of continual restoration on a building of this age is staggering. Yes, the Diocese of Paris contributes as do other entities, but they do not own Notre Dame. You can read more about it in this link if you choose.
Should the Church contribute? You bet. And no doubt they will.
I guess what is also bugging me about people saying the money is better spent elsewhere, such on the poor. I cannot argue against that point that feel we should take care of those less fortunate. I agree! We should be treating our fellow man better and we (mankind) do a pretty crappy job of it. However, I also feel very strongly that this building needs to be restored.
Why? Notre Dame is not just a church. Just as the pyramids are not just tomb for some rich ruler. Monuments such as these are temples of human ingeuenity and asthetic beauty. They are lasting testements of mankind overcoming obstacles to create something. Ideas to make something better than it was before. Those famous flying buttresses you hear about that hold up the aspe wall on Notre Dame? Without them the thin, tall, windowed walls would collapse. Some Middle Ages engineer(s) noticed the stress fractures forming during the construction and devised a new support system to save the building. Enter the flying buttresses. He/they did this without the aid of modern equipment and computers. The same can be said for the dome at the Hagia Sophia. These things are beautiful beyond words and are a a testiment of what mankind can achieve.
Notre Dame is not just a church. The Great Wall of China isn’t just a wall. Let it Be isn’t just a song and David isn’t just a statue. Mesa Verde isn’t just an abandoned town. They all are records of the collective human experience and our achievements. They are our shared human history. Every civilization, every culture has these monuments. They all deserve to be preserved and shared. When we lose one, such as The Buddhas of Bamiyam, we lose a part of us.
The road in creating these monuments isn’t always nice. We especially should not forget those ugly moments to avoid repeating them.