The New York Times on Christmas as Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral

There will be no Christmas at Paris’s Notre-Dame Cathedral, the headlines read, the first such lapse in two centuries.

In ordinary terms, that was not really news. Yawning holes in the roof still open the Gothic nave to winter rain eight months after the great fire, and not even workers are allowed in the middle because of the damaged roof beams precariously dangling above. The head of the task force charged with repairing the cathedral has promised that a religious service will be held on April 16, 2024, a day after the fifth anniversary of the blaze, which would fulfill a pledge by President Emmanuel Macron to repair Notre-Dame within five years. But that’s optimistic — debates still swirl over how to rebuild the roof and spire that burned and collapsed. ...

Still, even if there is no surprise, and no gap in religious observance, it is terribly sad for anyone who has ever been to Paris in winter to think that this year — and next year, and the year after that and for God knows how many more years — there will be no children gazing spellbound at the large, detailed crèche, no candles flickering at midnight to the thunder of the great organ for the “Messe de la Nuit,” no sea of awe-struck tourists looking forward to recounting how they celebrated Christmas at one of Europe’s most familiar and wonderful landmarks. ...

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