Medieval Notre Dame to Get Woke Makeover in Post-Fire Rebuild

By Loic Salan/
By Loic Salan/

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, is arguably one of the most well-known and cherished in the world. While it may not be ranked as one of the seven wonders of the world, it’s nearly just as significant. And for the Western and Christian world, it certainly is.

Finished in 1345, it took nearly 200 years to complete, and since then, it has endured the ravages of war, fire, and untold chaos, the latest of which took place in April of 2019. And yet, it still stands as a reminder of the Christian tradition and our historical past.

However, as it enters the last phases of the repairs needed to restore its pre-fire glory, plans have been made and proposed to give the cathedral a not-so-traditional makeover of sorts, complete with modern art as well as lighting and sound effects.

That’s right. As the Telegraph reported this past week, Notre Dame may no longer be a reminder of where we came from and why at least not like it used to be. Instead, its interior could be renovated to look more like a modern art museum.

21st century lighting effects, sounds, and art could replace the classical statues, historical alters, and time enduring confessional boxes. As the outlet reports, “emotional spaces” will be created within the grand cathedral, as will a “discovery trail” of no less than 14 chapels.

But the chapels won’t be showing the history of Europe, that of the Christian church, or even France’s. Instead, they will focus on the traditions of Asia and Africa, complete with Biblical phrases and quotes in many different languages being projected onto the walls.

And if that wasn’t woke enough for you, the plans for the last chapel on the “trail” propose an entire space created to encourage environmentalism or, as they call it, “reconciled creation.”

According to Archbishop Michel Aupetit of Paris, the modern changes will “bring the cathedral into the 21st century while preserving its own identity in the spirit of the Christian tradition.” The French president and known liberal Emmanuel Macron is hoping these changes can be completed by 2024 when the Olympics are set to be hosted in Paris, showing just how woke and modern the French can be.

However, as you can imagine, the proposed changes have been met with a great deal of opposition.

Take the well-known and highly praised French architect Maurice Culot, for example. According to him, “It’s as if Disney were entering Notre Dame. What they are proposing to do to Notre Dame would never be done to Westminster Abbey or Saint Peter’s in Rome. It’s a kind of theme park and very childish and trivial given the grandeur of the place.”

And he’s not wrong, is he?

For centuries, Notre Dame has stood as a massive historical landmark, a place where generations have come to worship, and medieval work of art. Throwing bold colors, lighting effects, and even sounds on its revered walls would be like spray painting over the ceilings in the Sistine Chapel or cutting off the head of Michelangelo’s “David.” I mean, while we are at it, why don’t we remake the Great Wall of China into a roller coaster and the Great Pyramids into skyscrapers…

As one source with inside access to the renovation plans, “This is political correctness gone mad.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I understand wanting to make Notre Dame into a place like nowhere else on earth, complete with architecture, art, and history that makes everyone who enters its doors or simply see its exterior stand in awe. But it already does all that. And it has for over half a millennium.

Literally millions of people from all walks of life travel to visit the masterpiece every year. They don’t do it to see modern pieces they could see in thousands of art museums. They don’t enter its massive doors to bear witness to marvels of 21st-century technology and lighting effects.

They go to be reminded of the days of old, to be connected to our past, whether they consider themselves Christians or not, and to witness the glories of God.

We can only hope that the committees tasked with restoring Notre Dame see this for what it is, the destruction of one of the world’s greatest treasures, and put a stop to it for good.