By this point, I am sure that all of us have seen the sobering images of the historic Notre Dame Cathedral being engulfed by flames. It is not clear as of now what exactly started the inferno, but the damage has been done. Hundreds of millions of dollars went up in literal smoke over the course over a few hours. Many paintings, artifacts, and other items of historic value will never be seen again.
As a kid, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" was a movie that stuck out to me from the Disney catalog. Quasimodo ringing the bells and climbing around the rafters like a superhero made me want to travel to France so that I could go to the rooftops of the cathedral and talk to the friendly gargoyles guarding the church. Looking back at those thoughts, I realize they are pretty irrational and I laugh at how I saw things as a kid.
The outcry has been massive. Many organizations and big names have shown their support in monetary donations toward the rebuilding. The total cost of the rebuild will cost an upwards of over $800 million, and the bulk of the money has already been pledged to bring the French landmark back to its former glory.
My question, which I am sure many other people have, is are these donations really necessary?
The Catholic Church is easily the most powerful organization of the last 1,000 years. Billions of dollars have been given to the church consistently over the centuries.
The Catholic Church could easily afford the repair costs required to rebuild, so why are they accepting donations from people?
I get it, people from all over the world have marveled at the beauty of the handcrafted architecture that Notre Dame is known for. However, what are the true motives of the big-name donors who have given millions to an organization that has no need for their money? Stroking their egos? Having their names in the headlines and being praised by the media? Are politicians using this as a springboard for re-election?
Maybe I am being too cynical. There is a strong possibility that these donors really do care about the landmark returning to its former glory.
The Yellow Vest movement, a wealth inequality protest group, shows no signs of stopping after donations have reached over one billion dollars. Members of the movement are angry with how quickly the money was raised for a building instead of actual people. President Marcon needs all of the positive press he can find, and this seems like just the break from negative press that he needs.