Notre Dame Cathedral: A New Disney?

Plans to replace the Gothic atmosphere of Notre Dame Cathedral with contemporary art have drawn criticism.

Newsroom (01/12/2021 11:09, Gaudium Press) Notre Dame Cathedral, devastated by the flames of a fire on April 15, 2019, is being restored. Despite 2 years of work on rebuilding the exterior of one of Paris’ most historic monuments, its interior has yet to be renovated.

However, a project to remodel the interior of Notre Dame will be presented on December 9 to the Commission of National Heritage and Architecture (CNPA).

This controversial project is causing astonishment in many people. As the British newspaper Daily Telegraph reported, critics fear that these changes will turn the cathedral into “politically correct Disneyland.”

The changes of the new project

Father Drouin, director of the Higher Institute of Liturgy, has revealed the outline of the restoration project for the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. The goal, he declares, is to maintain Notre-Dame as a “place of worship,” to “better welcome” and inform the public that “does not always have a Christian culture.”

The faithful and visitors from all over the world are to enter through the large central door and no longer through the side doors.

The altar will remain in place, but other items such as the tabernacle and baptistery will be moved elsewhere, while most confessionals will move to the second floor, leaving only four in the main cathedral area.

Instead of ceiling lighting, there will be “softer lights at face height” to give a more intimate feel to the masses and concerts held each year. The traditional straw chairs will be replaced by more comfortable benches with their own small lamps to illuminate the darkness.

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As for the side chapels of the building, they will be completely renovated in favor of enhancing the works of art: “ancient paintings from the 16th and 18th centuries that will interact with contemporary art objects.”

Finally, according to Father Drouin, for a better understanding of the history of Christianity, he wishes to project on the walls “biblical phrases or Christian spiritual tradition in various languages, the choice of which has not yet been decided.”

Maurice Culot, an architect who has seen the plans, told the English newspaper, “It’s as if Disney is entering Notre Dame. It is a kind of amusement park and, for the size of the place, very childish and trivial.”

Why disfigure an ancient cathedral to supposedly show a modernization process? Wouldn’t it be wiser to preserve tradition when modern buildings abound in today’s world?

Compiled by Camille Mittermeier

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