France’s National Heritage and Architecture Commission remains insistent on desecrating the country’s most well-known religious landmark, the Notre Dame cathedral despite public opposition to its plans to convert the historical monument into a “woke” theme park.
Newly unveiled plans, as overseen by Father Gilles Drouin include the removal of confessionals and altars from the 13th-century Gothic edifice to be replaced with contemporary “street art,” and a host of themed cathedrals celebrating woke subjects, such as multiculturalism and environmentalism. The revamped, or rather desecrated space, is designed to be accessible for non-Catholics.
Rather than restoring the cathedral to its former glory prior to its as-yet unresolved inferno, France’s culture ministry is adamant that the space be turned into a celebration of modern art. AFP reports that the ministry confirmed that “street art pioneer Ernest Pignon-Ernest, as well as other modern artists such as Anselm Kiefer and Louise Bourgeois, are among the names being considered for display when new art installations replace some of the little-used 19th-century confessionals.”
Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s street art, reminiscent of Banksy’s stenciled work, while beautiful, has little place in the edifice. The other two candidates, Kiefer and Bourgeois are far more outrageous. Kiefer’s schizophrenic scribbles would be transgressions in the once-sanctified space, and the eldritch horrors conjured by Bourgeois’ Lovecraftian sculptures, while intricate and beautiful in their own right, have absolutely no place in Notre Dame.
A petition created by French newspaper Le Figaro titled “Notre-Dame de Paris: What the fire spared, the diocese wants to destroy” expressed horror over the plans. In the petition, the authors say it is reminiscent of other “‘immersive’ cultural projects where very often the inane vies with the kitsch,” and that the unwanted additions risk “totally adulterating the decor and liturgical space.”
“Let’s respect (his) work, let’s respect the work of artist and craftsmen who have toiled to offer us this jewel, let us simply respect the heritage principles of a historical monument,” it wrote.
Plans to redesign the interior of Notre Dame, which was destroyed in a mysterious, but devastating fire in April 2019, began following its reconstruction.
In addition to the inclusion of contemporary art, the renovation will include dedicating side chapels to a variety of themes, including environmentalism. The purpose of the design calls for the addition of light displays and sound effects to create “emotional spaces.”
Father Gilles Drouin claims that the special effects will make the church more “welcoming” and inform those “who are not always from a Christian culture”. “Chinese visitors may not necessarily understand the Nativity.”
If Chinese visitors are set on visiting one of Europe's most prominent Catholic edifices, it’s safe to assume that they are familiar with the religion, and if not, a simple brochure would serve to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.
Imagine if architects in China, Peru, and Egypt were to revamp those countries’ national landmarks by adding massive billboards, light shows, and sound effects for the “uninformed” to feel “welcome” at the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, or the Great Pyramid of Giza.
“The church is 2,000 years old — it is an old lady. It has a history that we must respect, that today’s people cannot erase with a stroke of the pen,” said La Tribune de l’Art Editor-in-Chief Didier Rykner to the New York Times.