The Cathedral of Solidarity

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The Cathedral of Solidarity

By Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader

As a start, we thank the Almighty God that the fire which gutted the famous cathedral known as "Notre Dame" or "Our Lady", meant to refer to Our Lady Blessed Virgin Mary, did not cause human casualties. The broad international solidarity is attributed to the fact that it is a leading religious landmark as well as to its capacity as a historic and humanitarian one. This, view has been reflected in the cable of solidarity sent by His Majesty King Abdullah II to the French President.

We express solidarity because it is a religious landmark and a place that evokes great memories in French tourists and pilgrims who come to France from various parts of the world. As an example, all trips by Jordanian delegations to France included a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral. It is the cathedral were major celebrations are held by cardinals or archbishops that include ordination of priests, weddings, funerals as well as daily and weekly religious celebrations.

We express solidarity because it is a historic landmark. Several historic events that took place in France and Europe included Notre Dame Cathedral, which was built during the years 1160-1260, as a major venue for events. This major country, France, suffered from various crises, yet Notre Dame Cathedral (Our Lady) remained confidently a witness to the various phases of history. Even after the declaration of the "secularism" of the French state and later the "positive secularism" implying the separation of religion from state, Notre Dame was present and influential in the life of people, with their different races, and in the state.

We express solidarity because it is a universal human heritage and because humanity has a common universal heritage that united humanity with regards to the fact that there is a single fabric for the human family. This is what we felt in Jordan when the Baptism Site was recently declared as a universal human heritage which made us feel that we have offered a treasure to mankind. Thus, Notre Dame and other universal and historical landmarks are witnesses of “human brotherhood” with regards to the common heritage, which our forefathers maintained soundly and this is what we are doing for the generations to come by maintaining the heritage with the same originality, honesty and responsibility.

Consequently, the Almighty God is capable of extracting goodness from evil. Despite this tragic event, the extended human solidarity has made the world united again with feelings of goodness. On the other hand, the prayers of the Parisians and their visitors that were said on the streets abutting the burning cathedral convinced us that faith has not been lost in the French society, but proved once again that faith was still shining, and France is still the granddaughter of the Catholic Church as it has always been.

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