NEW YORK POST – RICH LOWRY
“I believe that this church offers the carefully discerning such cause for admiration,” the 14th-century French philosopher Jean de Jandun wrote of Notre Dame, “that its inspection can scarcely sate the soul.”
A cultural calamity played out on live TV when the cathedral that has been a focal point of Christendom for so long was gutted by a raging fire, destroying a significant part of an inheritance built up over hundreds of years in a few hours.
Notre Dame stands for so many qualities that we now lack — patience and staying power, the cultivation of beauty, a deep religious faith, a cultural confidence and ambition that could create a timeless monument of our civilization — that the collapse of its spire was almost too much to bear.
The great novelist Victor Hugo, who did so much to revive interest in the cathedral when it was in disrepair in the 19th century, wrote of how “every surface, every stone of this venerable pile, is a page of the history, not only of the country, but of science and art.”
It was the work of generations, completed over the course of 300 years, in a triumph over considerable architectural and logistical challenges.
It arose at the original site of a pagan temple. Thousands of tons of stone had to be transported from outside Paris for it, one ox cart or barge at a time. To achieve its soaring height and hold up its ceiling and walls, it relied on the innovative use of the rib vault and flying buttress.