On using public money to rebuild Notre-Dame

Macron[1] has pledged to rebuild Notre-Dame and has embarked on an international fund-raising quest. Though, he did use the term public subscription, which might suggest voluntary donations, rather than using France’s public funds.

However, if he does plan to use the tax-payer money this raises some questions that need to be asked: in a country with a recent history of high secularism[2], where 74% of the population identifies as either non-practicing or unaffiliated[3], is it worth the money when those funds could be better spent on more pressing matters like poverty alleviation, healthcare, and education?

Pew

I understand the cultural and historical significance of this building, and that it is the #1 tourist destination in Paris (and therefore $), but when the majority of the population no longer subscribes to Catholicism, should the government be spending public money to rebuild a symbol for a rapidly declining faith? Keep in mind that, fundamentally, Notre-Dame is a house of worship for a specific religion, and using public funds for its restoration is tantamount to the government favouring, if not outright sponsoring, a state religion.

Regardless of people’s cultural attachments to this Gothic masterpiece, we must not forget that this building is the privately-owned property of the Catholic Church, the oldest, largest, and wealthiest[4] entity on the planet. The Church had previously solicited donations for the renovations[5], which are suspected to be the cause of the fire, and now these corporate welfare bums expect others to pick up the tab for the rebuild? It begs the question, why are they asking others to pick up their slack? Perhaps because their coffers are running dry from paying out multiple billions of dollars for all the systemic abuse claims across the globe?

Notre-Dame

With thanks to Charles Freeman, as I steal my favourite quote from his book, Idiot America, to paraphrase this thought.

[1] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47943705

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La%C3%AFcit%C3%A9

[3] https://www.pewforum.org/2018/05/29/being-christian-in-western-europe/?fbclid=IwAR2XAK5G4J_1Y5S_TJDehWLKa69Cpz5fZSLkrMJCZm6I_TIYv6s3mRfXiJY

[4] https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wjynvb/the-catholic-church-is-rich-enough-to-settle-sex-abuse-cases-forever

[5] https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-43258266/notre-dame-cracks-in-the-cathedral

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