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Notre Dame is Burning

The sight of the great gothic masterpiece of Paris, the cathedral of Our Lady of Paris, Notre Dame, made me choke up. The shock registered across the world. Newsfeeds are jammed full and social media outlets have become a cascade of commentary expressing sadness, shock and disbelief. Something of the soul of France has been desecrated, a building of intense, searing beauty is reduced to a blackened scar. A place of ancient Christian faith reduced to ruin at the start of Holy Week. This is more than just the loss of another ancient and beautiful building.

Such public grief on an international scale reminds me of the destruction of the Two Towers in 2001. Some monuments touch the identity of a people, culture or nation. We describe them as 'iconic', as embodying far more than simply stone and glass, however beautiful. They don't need to be very old, or of great beauty, but they do need to 'speak' and in a way that transcends the individual and draws them into a deep…

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