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Notre Dame is Burning

A firefighter uses a hose to douse flames and smoke billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt | AFP | Getty Images

Notre Dame is Burning

A firefighter uses a hose to douse flames and smoke billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt | AFP | Getty Images

I see Notre Dame is burning, and my instinct is to grieve
for the destruction of such beauty and the void that it must leave.

And I see Our Lady, mourning as her house is turned to ash.
That spire, reaching for her hand, is simply never coming back.

And I see the faithful, gathered — see their torment, hear their cries —
as this cathedral thought eternal crumbles before their very eyes.

And I see symbolism blazing in the wreckaged, ruined frame
as onlookers are weeping, knowing nothing may remain.


Black and white image of a young boy in button-down shirt, vest, and tie. We’re looking at the left side of his face as he gazes down at the ground. The mood of the photo is somber.

I see Notre Dame is burning like her offspring, sacrificed
for the appetites of holy men deemed worthy of that price.

And I see Our Father’s children buried silent and alone,
feasted upon by shepherds who were wolves set out to roam.

And I see Our Mother, weeping as her babes are preyed upon.
She refuses to be comforted, for her children are now gone.

And I saw the time His Holiness condemned the least of these,
instituting child sacrifice endorsed by his decree.


Art piece entitled “Astonishment by the Crusaders at the Wealth of the East,” by Gustave Doré
Art piece entitled “Astonishment by the Crusaders at the Wealth of the East,” by Gustave Doré

I see Notre Dame is burning — sacred turned to sacrilege.
Such a perfect illustration of church history, unabridged.

Burning like the paths of wars Her people waged for glorious gain
of the souls forced to convert, and then the spoils of the slain.

Like the women kept in bondage by the governance of men
(for their bodies incubate the ones deemed worthier than them).

Like the people, past and present, endlessly confessing wrongs —
actual or imagined — so they might belong with God.


I see Notre Dame is burning, and — while my instinct is to grieve
for the destruction of such beauty and the void that it must leave —

I also see the world is burning from the reckless politics
held by devout believers unconcerned when harm inflicts.

Shall we mourn the loss of beauty and ignore depravity
when it comes from our own houses where we worship every week?

I see both good and evil in that wreckaged, ruined frame,
as onlookers are weeping, knowing nothing may remain.

Photo of the spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral billowing fire and smoke, posted by the official Twitter account for the cathedral.
Photo of the spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral billowing fire and smoke, posted by the official Twitter account for the cathedral.
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