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2019-APR to 2020-JAN:

The Notre-Dame Cathedral
Fire in Paris, France.

Part 2 of 2 parts.

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The following article is a continuation from Part 1

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2019-APR-17: A possible copy-cat arson attempted in New York City:

Marc Lamparello, 37, is a graduate student, a lecturer on philosophy, and a doctoral candidate at the City University of New York. On Wednesday, APR-17, two days after the Notre-Dame fire, he carried two full gasoline cans, two bottles of Kingsford lighter fluid, and a pair of lighters into St. Patrick's Cathedral in midtown Manhattan. When stopped by ushers, he explained that he was just trying to take a shortcut through the Cathedral in order to return to his van which he said had run out of gas. He sloshed gasoline on the church floor as he left. Lamparello, was arrested and charged with attempted arson and reckless endangerment. 1

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Rebuilding the Cathedral:

Dr. Emily Guerry, Senior Lecturer in Medieval European History at Britain's University of Kent, said:

"It's going to be a case of assessing the damage, strengthening everything that's there, do a full inventory of what we've lost, and then find the building materials. In the modern world, we don't build like we used to."

She explained that the underside of the roof had been built out of ancient oak over which the roof made of lead was laid. The spire was also of wood. There were 13,000 beams in the ceiling, which would require harvesting about 3,000 trees to replace them.

Estimates on the time to complete restoration range from French President Emmanuel Macron's 5 years to Dr. Guerry's 40 years. Very quickly, donations totaling hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars were pledged for the restoration. They reached almost a billion dollars by the end of the week.

As the fire raged, President Macron said:

"Notre Dame is our history, it's our literature, it's our imagery. It's the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations. It's an epicenter of our lives and the point where all distances start from."

"It's the cathedral of all French people, including those who never visited it. This history is ours. And it burns. It burns and I know the sadness so many of our fellow French feel." 2

On APR-16, President Macron said that Notre-Dame will be built:

"... even more beautifully" [than it was before.]..."

"The fire at Notre Dame reminds us that our history never stops. Everything that makes France material and spiritual is alive and for this reason it is fragile and we must not forget that. Yes, we will build the cathedral of Notre Dame even more beautiful than it was. But this must be done in five years. We can do that. ... I share your pain, but I also share your hope. We now have to act, and we will act, and we will succeed." 3

Two days after the fire, France's Prime Minister …douard Philippe announced the creation of an international competition for the design of a new spire for the Cathedral that will be:

"... adapted to technologies and challenges of our times." 4

An article on the Washington Post 14 contain images of five designs for rebuilding the roof and spire. 4

It is normal for fake news to materialize after major disasters of this type occur. So, of course, this happened with Notre Dame. Among the rumors were:

  • The fire was deliberately set.

  • The Cathedral will be rebuilt, but not as a Roman Catholic Cathedral.

  • The fire was started by anti-Catholic immigrants.

  • A fake Twitter posting, which was made to look like CNN's account, said that terrorists were responsible for starting the fire.

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2019-MAY-23: Analysis shows the Cathedral in its present condition could be damaged by high winds:

Mechanical engineer Paolo Vannucci from the University of Versailles has discovered that because of damage to stonework on the vaulted roof that has partially collapsed. that winds over 88 km/hr (55 miles per hour) could cause the roof to partly collapse.

Christophe Villemain, historic restoration specialist, discovered that rain on vaulted ceiling could cause the arches to collapse."

On MAY-27, the French Senate is expected to create a public agency to oversee the Cathedral's restoration. 5

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2019-MAY-27: French Senate calls for restoration:

The Senate approved the Government's funding request to repair the Cathedral. However, they added an amendment to the National Assembly's bill that requires the Cathedral to be restored to its "... last known visual state." The new wording will not have to be approved by the Assembly before it becomes law. 6

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2019-MAY-29: The French Senate passed a bill about Notre Dames' restoration:

The National Assembly passed a bill about the Cathedral's restoration. The Senate approve the bill with one amendment: Notre Dame is to be restored to its appearance before the fire as accurately as possible. The Senate will now consider the amendment. 7

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2019-JUN-15: The first mass since the fire will be celebrated:

The Diocese of Paris announced that Archbishop Michel Aupetit would celebrate mass on Saturday, JUN-15, in a:

"... side chapel with a restricted number of people, for obvious security reasons."

The congregation present will be limited to around 20 people, including many priests and other officials. The mass will be broadcast live on French TV. 8

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2019-JUN-26: There is no indication that the fire was of criminal origin:

The Paris police have completed a preliminary investigation involving more than 1,200 clues and testimony from about 100 people.

The general consensus is that the fire originated from a fallen cigarette or an electrical short circuit.

The Prosecutor's office in Paris issued a statement saying that a judicial investigation of the fire would now be opened by three judges. They will study whether damage to the Cathedral was caused by:

"..."involuntary degradation by fire through manifestly deliberate violation."

of security rules or simple imprudence.

The Notre Dame Foundation's Cathedrale de Paris Fund had raised 396 million Euros in donations and pledges to date. 9 That was equivalent to about 447 million U.S. dollars.

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2019-NOV/DEC: Notre Dame cathedral did not have a Christmas Eve mass:

Since November. the facade of the cathedral has been illuminated at night.

For the first time since the year 1803, the Christmas mass will not be held. Instead, the mass will be celebrated by Rector Patrick Chauvet at the church of Saint-Germain I'Auerrois almost a mile away. 10,11

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Restoration of Notre Dame's acoustics:

The fire left much of the roof of the Cathedral open to the sky. As a result of the fire, the acoustics were adversly altered. Emily Conover, writing for Science News, said:

"The reverberation time of a room is the number of seconds it takes for an initial, loud sound to become so quiet that it can no longer be heard. Specifically, it’s an estimate of how long it takes a sound to fade by 60 decibels. While a typical living room might have a reverberation time of half a second, and a concert hall might reverberate for two seconds, cathedrals can have reverberation times in excess of five seconds."

Two acoustical specialists, Brian Katz and Mylène Pardoen are helping to restore the building's "sonic signature." Fortunately, they took acoustic measurements of the building back in 2013, and had made a computer simulation. They calculated Notre Dame's reverberation time to average about six seconds.

Katz and Pardoen belong to a new group: " The Association of Scientists in the Service of the Restoration of Notre Dame of Paris." Members will assist in the Cathedral's reconstruction.¬ 12

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Restoration of Notre Dame's spire:

President Emmanuel Macron and his cabinet rejected alternative proposals, and decided that the spire would be reconstructed in its original form using traditional materials.

Other designs had been proposed, ranging from "...¬ transforming the roof of the cathedral into a flat terrace with gardens to adding a roof entirely made of stained glass, or adding a contemporary metal or glass spire with multiple pointed triangles. ...As to the metal Gallic rooster that served as a wind-vane at the top of the spire, it was miraculously recovered after the fire, with minimal damage. The rooster, which includes relics of the patrons of Paris, St. Denis and St. Genevieve, and a fragment from the crown of thorns of Our Lord, is expected to be replaced by a copy, and the original lead bird complete with relics will be exposed to the public as a witness to the terrible fire of April 15, 2019." ¬ 13

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Ali Watkins & Ali Winston, "Man arrested with gas cans and lighters at St. Patrick's Cathedral is a philosophy teacher," The New York Times. 2019-APR-18, at: https://www.nytimes.com/
  2. Eliza Mackintosh, "Paris mourns its 'Lady' after Notre Dame inferno," CNN, 2019-APR-16, at: https://edition.cnn.com/
  3. "Notre Dame fire: Cause of devastating blaze revealed by French police," Express (UK), 2019-APR-19, at: https://www.express.co.uk/
  4. "Panoramic views and a glass roof. How architects are reimagining Notre Dame," Washington Post, 2019-MAY-13, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/
  5. Jason Daley, "Engineer Says Notre-Dame Is Vulnerable to High Winds," Smithsonian Magazine, 2019-MAY-23, at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/
  6. Martin M. Barillas,"French Senate: Notre Dame Cathedral must be restored to ‘last known visual state’," Life Site News, 2019-<AY-29, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/
  7. Tom Ravenscroft, "Notre-Dame must be restored to "last known visual state" says French Senate," Dezeen, 209-MAY-29, at: https://www.dezeen.com/
  8. Mike Ciandella, "Damaged but not destroyed, Notre Dame Cathedral to hold its first mass since fire," The Blaze, 2019-JUN-11, at: https://www.theblaze.com/
  9. Elaine Ganley, "Paris prosecutor: no sign Notre Dame fire of criminal origin," AOL. 2019-JUN-28. at: https://www.aol.com/
  10. "Notre Dame Cathedral to Miss First Christmas in Centuries," Voanews, 2018-DEC-20, at: https://www.voanews.com/
  11. "No Christmas Mass at Notre-Dame for first time in two centuries," Microsoft News, 2019-DEC-21, at: https://www.msn.com/
  12. Emily Conover, "How to restore the legendary acoustics of Notre Dame," Science News, 2020-JAN-12, at: https://www.sciencenews.org/
  13. "Notre Dame spire destroyed by fire to be rebuilt identical to original, Life Site News, 2020-JUL-13, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/

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Copyright © 2019 & 2020 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2019-APR-18
Latest update: 2020-JUL-14
Author: B.A. Robinson
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