“Notre Dame is the cathedral of the world''

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Monsignor Hyacinthe Destivelle

“Notre Dame is the cathedral of the world''

By Domenico Agasso/ lastampa.it

Following is an interview on the tragedy in Paris with French prelate Monsignor Hyacinthe Destivelle, head of the eastern section of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

It is the "spiritual heart" of France. But not "only". It is a symbol of the history of the Church. And of humanity. Monsignor Hyacinthe Destivelle OP, head of the eastern section of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, describes Notre Dame, destroyed by fire last night. A shock for the whole world, beginning with France and also the Holy See. The Parisian cathedral represents "the beauty" that the faith can create, thus the Prelate has a concrete hope: "May this tragedy remind us of the richness that the Christian faith has been for our countries and will continue to be".

Monsignor Destivelle, what are your thoughts in the face of such shocking images?
“It is an immense dramatic emotion to see Notre Dame burn; it is the spiritual heart of France. It expresses in its stones the faith of the people who built it over the centuries. Its beauty has also given faith to thousands of Christians. Its mystery has inspired the greatest authors, such as Charles Péguy, who converted”.

What does Notre Dame represent?
“It is also a monument with which all the French have a special bond. Its walls have seen all the milestones in the history of France: Saint Louis laid the Crown of Thorns, Napoleon was crowned in the presence of the Pope, General de Gaulle had the Magnificat sung for the liberation of Paris in 1945. Just recently, in 2015, La Marseillaise was played at Mass in homage to the victims of terrorist attacks. You cannot enter Notre Dame without feeling the immense weight of the history it carries. It is the symbol par excellence of the encounter between Christianity, culture and history of France”.

Who is the main victim of this disaster?
“Notre Dame is not "only" in the history of the Church or of France, it belongs to humanity. It is a global symbol of the beauty that faith can create. Seeing this disaster, many friends from all over the world, Catholic or not, wrote to me to tell me their sorrow: Notre Dame was also their cathedral. In these times when Christianity is marginalized in our western societies, may this tragedy remind us of the richness that the Christian faith has been for our countries and will continue to be, God willing”.

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 10:39
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