1. Blaze Ravages Notre Dame.

By Stacy Meichtry and Sam Schechner, The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2019, Pg. A1

A fire ripped through Notre Dame Cathedral, bringing down the legendary Gothic church’s main spire along with parts of its majestic roof and severely damaging a monument at the heart of the French nation.

Notre Dame, with its gargoyles and flying buttresses, is a symbol of Paris celebrated by Roman Catholics and visited by millions of tourists every year. Its monumental stone walls and vaulted ceilings have withstood centuries of tumult, including the desecrations of the French Revolution, when much of the religious imagery inside the church was destroyed.

Construction of the Catholic cathedral, located on the Ile de la Cité in the Seine River, began in the 12th century and continued for hundreds of years. Joan of Arc was beatified there by Pope Pius X in 1909. 


2. Notre Dame Lies at Center of French Culture, History.

By Kelly Crow and Eric Sylvers, The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2019, Pg. A8

Among the holy relics preserved there are a crown of thorns said to have been worn by Jesus during his crucifixion and a piece of the cross on which he was crucified.

Today, the cathedral is a major pilgrimage site for Catholics from France and around the world. It draws around 13 million visitors a year—or around 30,000 people a day, more than the Eiffel Tower.


3. Macron vows to rebuild landmark, Apparently accidental blaze came during Christianity’s holiest week.

By James McAuley, Griff Witte and Reis Thebault, The Wasington Post, April 16, 2019, Pg. A1

 Pope Francis issued a statement late on Monday expressing the Vatican’s “shock and sadness” at “the news of the terrible fire that devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, a symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.”

“We express closeness to the French Catholics and the people of Paris and we assure our prayers for the firemen and those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation,” the statement read. 


4. The world weeps for Notre Dame.

The Washington Post, April 16, 2019, Pg. A20, Editorial

The soul of a city resides in its structures as well as in its history and people, so it is no overstatement to say that what Paris was losing Monday was not just an architectural icon but a piece of its soul. As much as the Eiffel Tower, and for well more than half a millennium longer, the Cathedral of Notre Dame has stood stolid and graceful at the very heart of the City of Light, a beacon for people of every country, drawn for centuries to its magnificent Gothic portico. 

 We can hope for a miracle of reconstruction, but for now that living dream, shared by so many for so long, lives mainly in memory. Notre Dame, suffused with history, gave the impression of man-made permanence. Kings and queens were crowned and married there. Napoleon and his wife Josephine were among those crowned at the altar, in their case with Pope Pius VII officiating. It was neither as old as the pyramids, nor as mysterious as Stonehenge, but every bit as enduring and indelible. Or so we thought.

The world weeps for Notre Dame, and for Paris. 


5. Governor defends abortion bill decision.

By Associated Press, The Washington Post, April 16, 2019, Pg. A2

Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said Monday that he carefully considered all arguments before signing legislation that makes it a crime for a doctor performing a second trimester abortion to use instruments such as clamps, scissors and forceps to remove the fetus from the womb. 


6. Pope Shares Sadness of French Over Notre Dame, Hopes for Restoration.

By Reuters, April 16, 2019

Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he shared the sadness of the French people mourning the devastation of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame and hoped it would be restored to remain a symbol of the faith of their forefathers.

“I associate myself with your sadness, as well as that of the faithful of your diocese, the inhabitants of Paris and all the French,” Francis said in a message to the archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit.


7. As Notre Dame burns, a new Catholic cry: ‘We’re All Parisians Now’.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, April 16, 2019

In the wake of 9/11, newspapers around the world carried some version of the headline, “We’re All Americans Now.” The idea was that the destruction of the Twin Towers wasn’t just an assault on the United States but on civilization itself, and everyone had a stake in defending it.

That solidarity dissipated fairly quickly amid political debates over post-9/11 foreign policy, but for a brief, shining moment the world was one.

In similar fashion, perhaps today’s headline, in a particular way for the 1.3 billion Catholics of the world, ought to be, “We’re All Parisians Now.” This time, one hopes the possibilities won’t slip away quite so quickly.

Yesterday’s stunning fire at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, which has left the magnificent Gothic structure a smoldering hulk of its former self, represents a devastating blow not merely to French Catholics but to Catholicism everywhere, since it’s one of those sites that transcends its nationality and culture.


8. ‘Be still and know that I am God’.

By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Catholic News Agency, April 16, 2019

How many Catholics will fill the pews on Easter Sunday 2019? Will this year see a noticeable decline in parishioners dressed in their Easter finest? Will the past year’s “Summer of Shame” – the publication of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, the (now-defrocked) Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal, the Vatican’s tepid, tone-deaf response to abuse here and elsewhere in the world – take its toll on the Catholic Church in America this Easter?

Some Catholics have already left the Church. Quite publicly. Others have not yet taken that step; they’re simply shaken and disaffected. This is not one of those stories. I remain convinced that the Catholic Church is where I should be.

So, as Easter season draws near with its promise of immense joy, I will be still, unwavering in my fidelity to a church that calls me to be a faithful, joyous messenger of love and hope. “Be still and know that I am God!”

Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is Legal Advisor for The Catholic Association Foundation. Her legal career has been dedicated to civil rights advocacy.


9. ‘Shocking’: Catholics Mourn Notre Dame, Bystanders Break Out in Song and Prayer.

By Cortney O’Brien, Townhall, April 15, 2019, 3:45 PM

As Notre Dame Cathedral burns, it isn’t only Parisians feeling the weight of the flames. Catholics around the world are mourning the sight.

The Catholic Association’s Senior Fellow, Ashley McGuire, was just as devastated.

“Catholics everywhere are devastated by the destruction of Notre Dame,” she wrote in a statement. “For centuries, the cathedral has been an emblem of faith and beauty, beckoning visitors from all around the globe and filling their hearts with wonder and awe at the Divine. Just as the Catholic Church is universal, the loss of Notre Dame is felt universally.”


10. The fire at Notre Dame, a Catholic icon, was made even more heartbreaking by the timing.

By Monique El-Faizy and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Washington Post Online, April 15, 2019, 6:30 PM

A symbol of Paris, a triumph of Gothic architecture and one of the most visited monuments in the world, the Cathedral of Notre Dame is a beloved icon for millions across the globe. But for many in this largely Catholic country, especially for the most faithful, the medieval masterpiece is a sacred space that serves as the spiritual, as well as the cultural, heart of France.

So as it burned Monday — during Holy Week, which precedes Easter — Parisians gathered on the other side of the Seine, embers blowing onto their heads, praying and crying as they sought fellowship in their shared disbelief. As night fell, people clutched flickering candles, still praying as ochre plumes of smoke billowed in a dimming sky. The sound of hymns filled the air.