In April of this year, we followed reports about the devastating fire that destroyed the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which destroyed the spire and the “forest” of oak roof beams supporting the lead roof.

The damage is such that the cathedral will not hold Christmas services this week for the first time in over two centuries.

The 850-year-old cathedral has been closed to the public since a blaze tore through the structure in April, destroying a latticework of ancient timbers in its roof, sending the spire crashing down and spreading tons of toxic dust around Paris.

Records show that Christmas Masses have been celebrated at Notre-Dame every year since at least 1803, after the cathedral was handed back to the Roman Catholic Church following the French Revolution, according to André Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral.

Mr. Finot said that the cathedral’s rector would instead hold this year’s Christmas service at the Église St.-Germain l’Auxerrois, a church near the Louvre where Notre-Dame’s religious services have been relocated since the fire.

Notre Dame had even managed to hold midnight Mass during both world wars.

“This is the first time since the French Revolution that there will be no midnight Mass,” cathedral rector Patrick Chauvet told The Associated Press.

…Chauvet said there was a Christmas service during World War I “because the canons were there and the canons had to celebrate somewhere,” referring to the cathedral’s clergy.

During World War II, there was “no problem” despite the city being under Nazi occupation, he added.

The only known time the church was closed for the December holiday in the period after 1789, when anti-Catholic French revolutionaries took over the landmark, officials said.

There appears to be continued controversy relayed to the reconstruction of Notre Dame, as the chief architect has been told to keep silent about internal debates regarding construction decisions.

…[T]hings have got heated between Jean-Louis Georgelin, the French President’s special representative for the reconstruction of the cathedral, and chief architect Philippe Villeneuve.

“I have asked to him (Villeneuve) a few times… to shut his mouth so that we can move forward wisely to serenely make the best choices for Notre Dame,” Georgelin said during a meeting Wednesday.

Villeneuve has previously said the Notre Dame spire should be rebuilt as it was before the devastating fire — a view with which Georgelin plainly doesn’t agree.

Hopefully, 2020 will see progress in restoring Note Dame to its former glory and beauty, with more focus on safety issues than social justice and political correctness.

 
 
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