I must say that I am both touched and amazed by the amount of worldwide attention that the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris has garnered.
Your newspaper had extensive coverage and constant updates on the blaze, which took place at the beginning of the week.
It goes to show that religion still plays an important role in our supposedly “secular” societies.
We constantly hear about how the Western world has turned away from the Christian faith. While this may be true to a certain extent, as only about 10 per cent of European Christians attend church on a weekly basis, the fact remains that the majority of European people still identify with the Christian faith, as the events of this past week have shown. Ordinary French citizens stood in shock and horror watching the famed cathedral’s roof melt down.
People in the rest of the world also looked on with horror, watching the historical edifice engulfed with flames on their TV screens.
While I would like to think that all the attention which the Church has received is due to religious reasons alone, I am realistic enough to realise that something else is at work here.
Paris is the most visited city in the world; Notre-Dame is on any traveller’s itinerary when visiting the French capital. So I think that people got nostalgic when viewing the fire on their screens, remembering what a wonderful time that they had in the city of over 12 million people. It is clear that Paris connects with travellers in a way that London or even New York never can.