Earlier I discussed the challenges facing the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral following the 2019 fire. While I was delighted that cathedral’s exterior escaped the agenda of postmodern revisionists (including attempts to turn the cathedral spire into a sustainable garden), it turns out the interior has not been so fortunate.
John Hirschauer reports in The American Conservative that under current redesign plans, “confessionals, altars, and statues would be supplemented or replaced by modern-art installations” and “emotional spaces” to help non-Christians feel more welcome.
Yesterday I offered some reflections about this at Salvo Magazine. From my article, “Notre-Dame Collapses to Postmodernism: Cathedral Interior To Become Proxy for Modern Self”:
“Notre-Dame cathedral, [Dr. David Wang] said, is an incarnation of a sacramental ordering of the world, a way of looking at creation in which ‘the small human being is in the embrace of an immensely larger immaterial reality, such that the small human being receives benefit.’…
Our culture has lost more than the spire and roof of this historic cathedral, he explained; rather, we have lost continuity with the sacramental worldview embodied in this place of worship….
The idea that a human can be embraced by a reality beyond himself is at the heart of artwork and literature within the tradition of the sacramental imagination. We find this imaginative tradition in the craftsmanship of those who designed and built Notre-Dame cathedral through to the stories of George MacDonald, G.K. Chesterton, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. This is the same worldview that pervades the Psalms where the inwardness of the human person—with his complex range of emotions, confusions, and vulnerabilities—is transformed by the outwardness of transcendence…. For modern man, great artwork like Notre-Dame de Paris does not invite participation in a sacred order, but is simply one more tool for pleasant psychological states and personal self-discovery.”