Notre Dame de Paris: identity and theology of place

EutychusEutychus Admin
edited April 16 in Purgatory
Over in All Saints, @Galilit wrote:
Galilit wrote: »
[Notre Dame is] one of those places that is central to everyone's sense of identity and theology of place (whatever their religion or observance).

It reminds me of a story my maternal Grandmother used to tell me when I was a girl. That during WWII she would think "as long as St Paul's Cathedral is standing there is hope for Britain".

I would like to explore this idea. I feel the loss (or at least massive damage to) Notre Dame at the level of culture and national identity (as widely commented on in All Saints), but I'm uncomfortable about the interaction between that and religious identity.

I'm concerned about what sort of narratives might emerge from this event. Specifically, the idea of reasserting the idea of France as a "Christian country" of which Notre Dame is the epicentre (it performs the function of Charing Cross in the UK in that all distances are measured from it).

To my mind, while France has its history and heritage, today it is multicultural and multifaith.

However, take Marine Maréchal-Le Pen, niece of Marine Le Pen, with both Catholic and Pentecostal family: she has temporarily withdrawn from politics to train up a cadre of far-right nationalists with a strong dose of Catholicism mixed in, and I'm very chary of a toxic mix of religion and national identity emerging and winning populist votes.

And over in the UK, how many today would echo the sentiment expressed by @Galilit's grandmother about St Paul's?

And what is a theology of place anyway? How can it be independent of specific religious belief or observance?
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Comments

  • DonLogan2DonLogan2 Shipmate
    My wife and a few friends were in Nairobi during the summer and hoped to help with a school and nursery that had a few children with complex additional needs (their field of excellence) but couldn`t go to the school due to demos as the govt were going to put a road through the (slum) area that the school and other housing was in.
    Instead of demolishing a small part of the play area the school was levelled. Their thoughts were different to my wifes in that they placed their trust in God doing something more wonderful in the next place they could set up the/a school.

    Just another outlook
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    I know I've snarked about this before, but ISTM that Notre-Dame is a national monument in a way that even St Paul's isn't, in that, like most historic French churches, it belongs to and is maintained by the state ...
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    Gosh - fancy being an inspiration!

    Theology of Place is really important to me.

    I think perhaps if I had been less distressed about Notre Dame and then thinking about my Grandmother and my old French teachers ... I might have said "Resonance of Place". Places that are in our personal identity, in our bones. Which could be geographical or a building or maybe even gumboots or hokey-pokey ice cream or a "certain slant of light". It would exist in a nation/state/country but would not necessarily be identical or dependent on that. (Easy to say when you come from a discrete place like Aotearoa-New Zealand!) It would not even need to be a "thin place" - no religion necessary

    In Maori the word would be
    mauri = (noun) life principle, life force, vital essence, special nature, a material symbol of a life principle, source of emotions - the essential quality and vitality of a being or entity. Also used for a physical object, individual, ecosystem or social group in which this essence is located.

    The kind of thing that makes the hairs on your forearms stand up when you think about it or in this case hear something has happened there. I think this is not a religious feeling but a very deep neurological reaction - A Feminine Force - please help us here

  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    Kathleen Norris talks about this a bit in Dakota: A Spiritual Geography
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited April 16
    @DonLogan2, that would very much be my instinctive reaction, but this tragedy is making me suspect that I'm actually burying some aspects of the collective unconscious I share that I should really be addressing.

    @Ricardus I agree. Macron's immediate declaration last night rather uncomfortably straddled that divide to my mind (and he was surrounded by a universally white audience, something I've also noticed to be overwhelmingly the case in the photos of the disaster I've seen).

    I have little doubt the fundraising is largely motivated by cultural not religious sentiment, but also little doubt that the Catholic church is seeing this as an opportunity to reposition itself at the heart of the nation - rather more so than religious realities merit.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    When the Anglican Cathedral in Christchurch (Aotearoa New Zealand) was destroyed in an earthquake there were those who wanted it restored at all costs and those who said "What an opportunity to do something really new and less British Imperialist Past".
    And how did that break down? Those who advocated for the restoration of the remnant of the past were tourism and business interests and those who saw a wonderful new opportunity were the Anglicans themselves ...
  • It seemed to me that it was another tourism destination in Paris, perhaps the Eiffel Tower being a bit more prominent. I'm sure it means differently to Parisians and French people.
  • Parisians, so I am led to believe (@la vie en rouge may correct me) have a contradictory relationship to such destinations.

    On the one hand, they never go near them, perceiving them (not incorrectly) to be besieged by tourists.

    On the other hand, they have a highly personal and proprietorial approach to them. This is a sort of Lady Di moment in French history.

    Paris is often unfavourably compared to London (by the French) as being a ville-musée ('museum city') with all new development relegated to the outer reaches, and I have a certain amount of sympathy with this idea (as a former Londoner, I love what's happened to the city since I left in terms of new developments). But at the same time we have a very fond attachment to our landmarks.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited April 16
    I think The Independent had an interesting opinion piece about the significance of Notre Dame.

    What was not reported in the Western -- at least American -- press was the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem also caught fire on the same day as Notre Dame. It seems this fire was arson with the fire starting in the guard house. A guard has been questioned about it.

    I agree there are certain places that are indeed sacred. There is a place not two far from where I live where the Nez Perce Indians feel is the center of the universe. It is a very interesting site. The hills are shaped like a snake. The Nez Perce still have sacred rites there in the spring and fall.

    However. I have seen times when a building becomes an idol. A church in a nearby community has existed for nearly 100 years now, but the congregation has refused to build another building that would be better suited for the needs of the congregation now. The current building is not up to code. If it ever catches fire it will be gone in minutes.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 16
    Well, yes. If Notre Dame de Paris had been utterly obliterated, neither the French Roman Catholic Church, nor the Christian faith in general - whether in France, or elsewhere - would have been destroyed.

    Churches, and cathedrals, come and go. I understand, of course, that ND de P is a special building - like St Paul's in London - but that it, and they, are, in the end, dispensable whilst the Faith still exists.

    I recently read an account of the original (and rather eccentric) St Paul's Cathedral, and its destruction in the Great Fire of London in 1666. My impression FWIW is that the old cathedral - for all its faults and idiosyncrasies - was actually a better example of 'The Church In The World' than Wren's baroque tour de force, however architecturally perfect that might be.

    YMMV, but please don't burn me.....
  • From time to time I go on Google Earth and check that a particular filbert nut orchard near Tunbridge Wells still exists. More than either of the two homes I had in TW, or my three schools, or even my family, that orchard signifies home.

    Places are incredibly important, not least I think because while they are still there we are somehow still the person who first saw them or knew them. When I discovered my old school had demolished the Victorian lodge that provided me with English lessons and a sixth-form common-room it felt like part of me had been taken away.
  • It strikes me that there ate several theologies of place which may be independent of each other or overlap. There is the sense that a place has been sanctified by hundreds of years of prayer and worship (or, indeed, by performance if it's a historic theatre or opera house). There is the sense that a place is an architectural gem and a repository of great art which must be valued as a great human inheritance. There is the sense that great architecture of itself can provide an aesthetic or spiritual uplift. There is the sense that a place gives a coherence to a community: this may be nothing more than a tatty village hall or library. There is the sense of a place informing us of history, whether that be a great Roman amphitheatre or the Italian chapel on Orkney. And there is the sense of personal history (which often makes it very difficult to tear down or alter churches): "My children were christened here, that was my granny's pew".

    Will that do, for starters?
  • The French interior minister has said today that Notre Dame is "not a cathedral, but rather common heritage", which neatly summarises the particular dilemma in this respect in the French psyche.

    I'm not sure how the fact that €720 million - including public money - being pledged since last night is going to go down with the 'yellow vests' or those in the projects, either. In many ways this event highlights the social fracture in France as much as it unites us.
  • To my mind, Notre Dame de Paris is a mixture of the first three. It is a beautiful place, the beauty of which has enhanced the prayer and worship offered there for many centuries. Its treasures are all part of that tradition, and therefore inseparable from the place and its traditions. The whole lot comes as a package. There is, in any case, much of the homing pigeon about many people.

    This is not to deny that God raises great beauty of destroyed stones in many people's lives all the time, but it is to say that this doesn't prevent a deep sense of loss and a profound need to restore that which is lost among many people, faithful and otherwise.
  • I'm perhaps very cold and detached in some ways, but I really can't envisage anywhere that's been important in my life where I'd be upset if it wasn't there any more. Homes, churches, schools... Once you've left them, you've left them.

    The exception would be the current home, but that's probably more to do with the loss of possessions that would result...
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 16
    Not at all. I suspect that many of us might feel the same - certainly, I had no qualms about stripping (and selling) the parental home, though I admit I did keep a fair few small items of sentimental, rather than intrinsic, value.

    In all honesty, if Our Place (a big Edwardian red-brick backstreet church) burnt down tomorrow, I should be distressed and sad - but, OTOH, hopeful at the opportunity to Start Again!

    Yes, yes, I know - Be Careful What You Wish For....

    Actually, there was a possibility of demolition and rebuild, a few years ago, but it went against everybody's grain to destroy a sound and well-kept building. If the church had been falling apart, well....... :wink:
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    I wonder, does a 'theology of place' include the often lovely natural beauty spots which some see as sacred, or spiritual, and mark them with prayers, tokens, or stones?

    I was irritated when I visited the Holy Land by the number of 'X marks the spot' churches on Christian sites, drawing tourists to them. I often remained outside and simply took in the place from there. But some of the churches were special, sacred places, for me.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    I wonder, does a 'theology of place' include the often lovely natural beauty spots which some see as sacred, or spiritual, and mark them with prayers, tokens, or stones?

    FWIW, I rather think it does.

  • I suspect this is all tied up with Genius Loci and the particular affinity many people feel for certain places, often very small places or even things in them; a particular tree for example might have resonance for someone.

    You can even have an affinity for a place you haven't been to. or even for a place that is fictional.
  • It’s my experience that Parisians don’t often go inside all the famous sites, except when we’re showing guests around. Parisian schoolchildren visit them the same as other tourists because they don’t go otherwise (husband en rouge recently organised a school trip to visit the organ at Notre Dame :cry:). OTOH, we do ride past them on the bus and think “it’s still there” (or more precisely, in French, referring to Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower, “elle est toujours là”, which I feel might better be translated “she’s still there” – with a definite bit of a personification going on). Paris is a relatively small city in terms of the space it occupies, which means you are going past famous landmarks all the time. As soon as you cross the river, you can see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Musée d’Orsay, Concorde, the Louvre…

    My feelings today are that Parisians are above all sad, relieved that it wasn’t worse, and in a state of disbelief at the idea that we might have crossed over the river, looked along to the Ile de la Cité and seen that she wasn’t there anymore.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 16
    Or it might have something to do with the ongoing worship of Almighty God, and of His Sacraments being faithfully celebrated, in that place.

    IMHO, Notre Dame is such a place.

    YMMV.
  • My Indigenous friends on Facebook are posting various versions of "Now you know how we feel" about the destruction of their lands by colonialism and Christianity.
  • It’s my experience that Parisians don’t often go inside all the famous sites, except when we’re showing guests around.
    True of Londoners as well - I never went to the Tower until I was 11 or 12, later still to St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey. In fact it might be the same for the residents of many major cities.

  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    I wonder, does a 'theology of place' include the often lovely natural beauty spots which some see as sacred, or spiritual, and mark them with prayers, tokens, or stones?
    I'm sure it does, although I personally get a bit cross when Christians refer to remote and wild places as "thin" ones where heaven seems to be close. Shouldn't we also be able to sense God in the very bustle of (say) Piccadilly Circus or the concourse of Waterloo Station? If not, we are in danger of seeing the city as a merely secular place and banishing God to empty rurality, which can't be right.

  • I was walking past the Abbey recently, and thought I would enjoy a sit down, and look around, but the tickets were astronomical. Over 20 quid anyway.
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited April 16
    Isn't there a "prayer chapel" near the entrance where you can sit for free? (Admittedly you won't see much).
  • I'm sure it does, although I personally get a bit cross when Christians refer to remote and wild places as "thin" ones where heaven seems to be close. Shouldn't we also be able to sense God in the very bustle of (say) Piccadilly Circus or the concourse of Waterloo Station? If not, we are in danger of seeing the city as a merely secular place and banishing God to empty rurality, which can't be right.

    It's a common feeling for many people regardless of their particular belief. I suspect the response, which I share but think is purely psychological, is akin to what can happen to people in immersion/isolation therapy. In the (relative) absence of external stimuli they imbue their surroundings with whatever preconceptions they have about the otherworld.

    That's not to say the experience isn't wonderful and life-affirming and perfectly real for the person experiencing.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    In all honesty, if Our Place (a big Edwardian red-brick backstreet church) burnt down tomorrow, I should be distressed and sad - but, OTOH, hopeful at the opportunity to Start Again!

    Yes, yes, I know - Be Careful What You Wish For....

    Haha! Indeed. Earlier this year the warehouse beside our church - literally separated only by a car's breadth driveway - caught fire and burnt to destruction. I watched the flaming embers bounce off our roof, the flames from the building towering over our building. 'Bye, bye' I thought and was surprised by how emotional it made me feel on behalf of the congregation (and the fine organ inside). But there was no wind, and the fire brigade were fab, and our church was completely unscathed. By, yes, watching it happen, I was thinking about where else we could go, and what a rebuild would look like!

    Grateful we didn't have to find out, though!
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited April 16
    Well, I've just got an invitation from our Archbishop to be on the front row at our local Cathedral tomorrow at the fateful hour of 6.50pm (when the fire broke out and cathedral bells are to be rung all over France) for an organ recital entitled "Cathedrals". So I'll be pondering all this there.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Raptor Eye wrote: »
    I wonder, does a 'theology of place' include the often lovely natural beauty spots which some see as sacred, or spiritual, and mark them with prayers, tokens, or stones?
    I'm sure it does, although I personally get a bit cross when Christians refer to remote and wild places as "thin" ones where heaven seems to be close. Shouldn't we also be able to sense God in the very bustle of (say) Piccadilly Circus or the concourse of Waterloo Station? If not, we are in danger of seeing the city as a merely secular place and banishing God to empty rurality, which can't be right.

    The God of the Old Testament was known as a God of high places. I am not sure that there is a "thin-ness" between heaven and earth in such places. I certainly understand God to be in Piccadilly or Waterloo, but I would have to say I am more open to God in the mountains.
  • The 'thin-ness' between Heaven and Earth is often to be found at the altar (or Holy Table, or whatever your people might call it).
  • Indeed. But is it felt more in a soaring medieval cathedral or a humble "tin tabernacle"? Probably both - but slightly differently.
  • Yes. And both can be equally 'holy places' - though not necessarily to the same people!
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Raptor Eye wrote: »
    I wonder, does a 'theology of place' include the often lovely natural beauty spots which some see as sacred, or spiritual, and mark them with prayers, tokens, or stones?
    I'm sure it does, although I personally get a bit cross when Christians refer to remote and wild places as "thin" ones where heaven seems to be close. Shouldn't we also be able to sense God in the very bustle of (say) Piccadilly Circus or the concourse of Waterloo Station?
    Certainly we should be. I think the places described as “thin” generally aren’t any closer to the divine. Rather, they’re places where there seem to be fewer distractions to keep us from being attuned to the divine. Hence how so many places tagged as “thin” are remote and wild. But I have encountered “thin places” in cities as well. Notre Dame is one such place in my experience.

    I’m a fan of this snippet from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Aurora Leigh:

    Earth’s crammed with heaven;
    and every common bush afire with God;
    but only he who sees, takes off his shoes.
    The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

    The so-called “thin places” are there to help us learn to look for and sense the divine everywhere, to see the whole world as “thin.”
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    This topic is one I've been thinking a lot about since first hearing about Notre Dame burning. I am personally not feeling the sadness that many others are expressing. And the majority of people I see elsewhere expressing this deep sadness are not religious. They are sad for the cultural loss. I am trying to work out why I'm not sad, why others are sad, etc. I'm thinking that in some ways it's a very personal thing, that we all relate to God and our faith differently, and have different associations. And some people do have strong emotional associations with place. And if they are religious, this will surely be part of their faith too, because our faith is not something separate from us, but our whole being. I wonder also if it's about attaching sentimental value to things in general - I remember another thread about this, and some people do and others (like myself) don't.

    I love cathedrals, and found Notre Dame magnificent when I visited it, but for me, they have never seemed particularly related to my faith. But then I grew up going to Baptist churches, so my associations will be different from people who grew up Catholic. Cathedrals were historical tourist attractions to me. I am Catholic now, but the aspect of Catholicism that attracts me is that of the saints who lived lives of simplicity and poverty. I don't associate God with place - I see God as transcending physical location. If anything, I feel most aware of God outdoors in the woods, in the countryside, by the sea - where I get a sense of vastness and natural beauty. And I also see it in terms of Jesus saying the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. No spiritual home on earth. The idea that nothing on earth lasts - that things can take a lifetime or more to build and be destroyed in seconds. This seems to me how life is. So I am not shocked or upset by a building being destroyed - I can't think of any building I would feel this about. My own home excepted, but not because of anything intrinsic about it, but only because I would be homeless without it.
  • edited April 16
    I tend to agree with you @fineline. As I noted above, I found Notre Dame to be more of a tourism location than theological. Perhaps because it was not as crowded, I found the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral, website in German but you may click through the photos) to cultivate within me more religious awareness, parts of which are of similar age to Notre Dame, much of it reconstructed after Allied bombing. I don't remember an admissions charge, except to climb up the tower.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    The French interior minister has said today that Notre Dame is "not a cathedral, but rather common heritage", which neatly summarises the particular dilemma in this respect in the French psyche.

    I'm not sure how the fact that €720 million - including public money - being pledged since last night is going to go down with the 'yellow vests' or those in the projects, either. In many ways this event highlights the social fracture in France as much as it unites us.

    So no bishop has his cathedra there? Then, yes, the church is more a heritage building in addition to being a historical cathedral. As secular as France is, that is more than likely the order of importance.
  • Church buildings in France have a particular status. They are owned by the French state. It's worth noting that AFAIK the Vatican hasn't promised any money at this point.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited April 16
    Early days - lots of 'knee-jerk' reactions (not accusing M. Macron of that, BTW).

    Wait and see.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I think the places described as “thin” generally aren’t any closer to the divine. Rather, they’re places where there seem to be fewer distractions to keep us from being attuned to the divine.

    This makes a lot of sense. But I also think that people hallow a place by praying there, or worshiping there, or meditating there, or whatever. Just as we wear the grass thin and hten bare by walking in the same place, we wear the veil thin by applied spirituality/holiness in a place.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    ...I found Notre Dame to be more of a tourism location than theological. Perhaps because it was not as crowded, I found the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral, website in German but you may click through the photos) to cultivate within me more religious awareness...
    The crowds at Notre-Dame were a problem for me (the crowds at St. Mark's/Venice were a bigger one), but those stones have soaked up a lot of sanctity over the centuries, and the cathedral's history, its art, and especially, its music, made it a holy place. Some of its significance is geographical: It really is the heart of Paris, and of France.

    I agree about the Kölner Dom, but I have also encountered Deity in Westminster Abbey, at Canterbury Cathedral, and, especially, at York Minster; singing there (in our visiting American choir) was a moving spiritual experience that I will never forget.

    I worry about the stones (and statues) at Notre-Dame being stressed and cracked by the heat, and I hope the cathedral can be restored in a relatively short time. By the way, one of the stories I frantically perused yesterday quoted a man named Mohammed, weeping and saying that the building "is France; it is ours."



  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Why should it be rebuilt, or not?
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Why should it be rebuilt, or not?

    A great deal of the structure seems to have survived, and I can't imagine them wanting either to tear it down or leave it as-is, unusable, in the middle of Paris.

    I was in Dresden last fall. Over the years they have re-built substantial parts of the old city centre that was largely destroyed during the firebombing near the end of World War II. Some may have been relatively easy decisions, where substantial parts of the shell at least were left, but I gather others were hard calls. The Frauenkirche in the middle of Dresden was almost entirely destroyed, and was left that way for a long time as a memorial. They have now re-built it substantially from scratch. I'm not entirely sure what I think of the result, though I gather there was (and is) very strong local support for the decision to rebuild it.

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    I happen to think it needs to be rebuilt too, but I am hearing some detractors saying why not spend the money on the poor instead.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Question (cross-Atlantic) re French secularism vs. religion:

    Is the tl;dr version basically that religion is private, secularism is public; it's a correction to the pre-Revolution abuses of power by clergy; and it's all kind of mixed together with heritage, national pride, and *maybe* some confusion over all that?

    Said and meant respectfully. Just trying to understand.

    Thx.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Re rebuilding:

    Would it be acceptable to use something other than wooden beams and a lead roof?
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I happen to think it needs to be rebuilt too, but I am hearing some detractors saying why not spend the money on the poor instead.

    In general the people making this argument don't tend to be people in favor of helping the poor anyway.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Re rebuilding:

    Would it be acceptable to use something other than wooden beams and a lead roof?

    I read that there are no trees big enough these days to replace the original ceiling beams so it would have to be a different technique anyway
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited April 17
    Golden Key wrote: »
    Question (cross-Atlantic) re French secularism vs. religion:

    Is the tl;dr version basically that religion is private, secularism is public; it's a correction to the pre-Revolution abuses of power by clergy; and it's all kind of mixed together with heritage, national pride, and *maybe* some confusion over all that?

    Said and meant respectfully. Just trying to understand.

    Thx.

    Laïcité ('secularity') was originally a correction against the hegemony of the Catholic church in all walks of life, but was structured to provide a level playing field for all faiths and none. The law enshrining this (and the possession of historic Church property by the state) dates back to 1905.

    The practical upshot has historically been the private/public divide you mention, particularly in public buildings and most especially state education, in which secularism has practically become a creed in its own right rather than a system to be applied. You can barely mention Christianity or any other religion in a school or university context.

    The Catholic church, meanwhile, has never really integrated the concept behind the 1905 law, and the hierarchy never seems to have come to terms with the secularisation of France or the emergence of Islam in particular. In some quarters, this can result in a toxic blend of religious nationalism in which the "mother country" means a Catholic mother country and no brown people.

    There's a lot of talk of national unity around Notre Dame right now, but my perception is that it's a bit like the "Leave" vote in the Brexit referendum: everybody agrees that it's a national symbol, but there is no agreement at all about what that symbol means.

    As I said before, there's definitely a whiff of opportunism about the Catholic response in using this event to try and rebrand France as a Catholic country. Macron had a major speech planned at the time of the fire in response to the 'yellow vests' protests to announce new social measures, and cancelled it due to the disaster (we still don't know if or when the speech is to happen).

    My local archbishop went into print saying, amongst other things, that Macron had had the good sense to shut up because Notre Dame spoke more loudly than Macron ever could.

    Which is an unusually politically loaded statement from an archbishop here, and sits rather uncomfortably with the huge amounts of money already raised - or earmarked from public funds - for the rebuilding at a time when the lower middle classes have been demonstrating for 22 weeks straight on the grounds that they're struggling to make ends meet.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited April 17
    Actually, I just checked the quote. He said the Republic, in the person of Macron, had to shut up because Our Lady (deliberate ambiguity between Mary, the Cathedral, and the Holy Mother Church here) was speaking. That's a direct challenge to the status quo of laïcité, and I disagree profoundly with him on that.
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