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Our History Burns

“Who will raise his voice to say ‘No more’ and return, at last, to the higher path? Who will wear a crown of thorns, like the one cherished in Notre Dame itself, for the sake of the starry crown above? Who will forsake the laurels of cheap praise for the buckthorn of eternal destiny?”

But who lit the fire?

The day before yesterday, the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris was gutted by fire. It would seem that the most well-known place of worship in Paris, one of the most famous — and oldest — in the whole world, was attacked and set alight. The fire started in two locations — on the roof itself and in the northern bell tower — not one. This is a classic feature of arson, as it ensures the blaze continues if one fire doesn’t ‘take’ or simply goes out prematurely.

The construction of Notre Dame in the Gothic style began by order of the Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, in the same year he was elevated to that bishopric, 1160. In 1163, Pope Alexander III came to Paris to lay its cornerstone. Intended to replace the previous Romanesque church at or near the same site, the cathedral would take nearly a century to assume its current form, although work would continue for an additional century. The most recent major addition to the cathedral was the spire added by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in the mid-nineteenth century.

Before the Romano-Gauls converted to Christianity, the same site had been home to various Gaullic temples and, finally, a Roman temple to Jupiter. It’s a site which has been sacred to Europeans for thousands of years, stretching back into the mists of time immemorial. Notre-Dame de Paris represents the solidification of the sacred site in memorable, recorded time.

This imposing, awe-inspiring cathedral, consecrated to Our Lady of Paris (hence the name), has dominated the eastern end of the Île de la Cité — the island in the heart of Paris, surrounded by the Seine river — for the better part of eight centuries as a finished monument. It has stood unscathed through the French Revolution, the fall of Napoleon, the July Revolution, the Revolution of ’48, the Paris Commune and two world wars, to name just a few events from the most recent two-hundred-and-thirty-years of its history.

Nevertheless, we live in Clown World now and, as we saw on Monday, this treasure of our civilisation could have been lost in a day. The blaze raged through the attic and spread across the roof unimpeded. The cathedral’s characteristic rib-vaulted ceilings and the wooden beams supporting its roof structure — both features so painstakingly well-constructed and -maintained that they have served their purpose since the period of the cathedral’s initial construction — were mostly consumed by the flames. More than half of the roof, perhaps even two-thirds or more, dramatically collapsed and disintegrated into scorching ash, taking with it Viollet-le-Duc’s delicate spire. Luckily, the altar and golden cross were unscathed by the falling debris.

This travesty was far from unforeseeable. Indeed, it was inevitable. Behold not only the 2016 Islamic terrorist plot to blow up the cathedral, but the recent spate of vandalisms, deliberate desecrations of altars and the Sacred Host — the sacramental bread which Catholics believe is the body of Christ, during the Eucharist — and, of course, church-burnings in France.

In 2018 alone, 875 churches were vandalised across France. It started in rural parishes and has finally made it to prominent sites in the capital. Only a month ago, Saint Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris, was set alight. Now, Notre-Dame de Paris. This January saw more attacks against churches than any month since French officials started keeping records of crimes against religious sites. Something is happening, something is increasing and someone is behind it.

The Establishment refuses to consider possibilities other than those that give them “good feelz”.

These criminal acts of wanton destruction and desecration are variously attributed to anarchists, feminists, Luciferians and Muslim immigrants — or even some combination of the four. In any case, it is clear that there has been a considerable mobilisation of the forces hostile to European traditions and the European understanding of transcendence. France’s elite is either too incompetent to deal with this problem (as they’ve been with the causes of the Yellow Vest protests) or else they are quietly supporting it.

There are, of course, identitarian issues inextricably bound up in this trend of vandalism and church-burning. These are of a kind which we are loathe to talk about them in polite society and which are yet also impossible to ignore. After all, attacking a church is attacking an identity — and to take the opposite position for the sake of being ‘fair’ stretches both credulity and naivete to their snapping points. When a church is attacked, a specific congregation is attacked; an attacked congregation is also an attacked community.

In France, besieged would be a better word. Politically and spiritually besieged. Attacking a national treasure, a cathedral which was completed almost seven-hundred-and-sixty years ago and began a century prior to that, is a crime on a completely different level. In the film The Monuments Men, the main character Frank Stokes (played by George Clooney and based, albeit loosely, on George Trout), states with conviction that

You can wipe out an entire generation, you can burn their homes to the ground and somehow they’ll still find their way back. But if you destroy their history, you destroy their achievements and it’s as if they never existed.

What symbol, what identity has been attacked — besieged — in the form of this monument? Who is attacked when you attack Notre Dame, during Holy Week no less? Who is besieged? Whose existence is threatened?

The French. The Catholic. The European. Western civilisation itself.

When you find yourself wondering why people across the world reacted so strongly to this fire, remember this and it makes perfect sense.

Remember, too, the place of Catholicism in our history. For Europeans, historical Catholicism is not a personal faith. Those who believe it is, especially if they are Catholics themselves, have drank deep from the Reformation down to the last and worst dregs. Conversely, though, there are many non-Catholic Europeans who understand the real meaning of Catholicism in Europe because of shared history and shared insight. We understand that those traditions are our shared heritage and that these monuments to the capabilities of the human mind, and specifically the European mind, are our shared landscape. It is attested in stone, in our hearts and in the specific ways that we orient ourselves upward.

Image by Gerhard Bögner, courtesy of Pixabay

So, I repeat: Catholicism is not a personal faith — not concerned with a personal Saviour, but celestially with the Saviour of humankind. Its very name implies this. Nor is it a faith to be celebrated alone, but instead ties together the celebrants. It binds together — and is bound to — each congregation and the Church as a whole. Indeed, it once bound together the whole of Latin Christendom, our entire civilisation.

Today, we call this civilisation ‘the West’. Its political vision then was the res publica Christiana, a living European unity which reaches far beyond the cadaverous artificiality of the EU today. It’s no longer a direct or clear influence in politics, but the Catholic heritage (even more so than the institutions of the Roman Catholic Church itself) affects the destiny of every nation on our Continent through its immense cultural — one could say meta-political — influence.

https://twitter.com/DamienRieu/status/1117852138531479552

The world has changed, but a profound truth remains, which we can express by reversing the famous phrasing of Hilaire Belloc: Europe is the Faith and the Faith is Europe.

Secularised and sublimated though it may be, the Catholic vision of Christendom — of salvation, vocation and fundamental European unity — belongs to the permanent cultural and political heritage of Europe today. We are, in some ways, farther from that vision than we have ever been, but in other ways, we’ve never been closer to it.

In any case, an attack on the monuments of the Faith, on our sacred heritage, is an attack on Europe itself as a whole.

War is coming. We’ve already experienced the beginning of reverse-colonisation, low-intensity invasion and demographic displacement and destabilisation. The constant attacks on our low-attendance churches is a repeated test to ensure that we’re ready for the next phase. It’s eerily similar to how warring tribes of primitives test one another’s readiness, resilience and territorial integrity.

This is what happens when the numbers of hostiles grow. In the Philippines, the world’s third-largest Catholic country by population (81% Catholic), attacks by Muslims on Catholics have become a regular occurrence. Two bombs ripped through Our Lady of Mount Carmel cathedral in Jolo this January; the first blasting through the assembled parishioners in the pews and the second set off near the exit to shred survivors of the first as they attempted to escape to safety. Twenty people lost their lives and over a hundred more were seriously injured.

In Jolo, only three percent of the population are Roman Catholic, surrounded by a hostile and lawless Muslim majority, in contrast to the nation’s average of 81% Catholic. Catholic majority cities and islands in the Philippines are far more orderly and welcoming, while the Muslims This is what happens when the numbers of hostiles grow unchecked and you allow them to organise their own “communities” (read: colonies) within your nation.

Nor can we seek friends among the New Atheists who decry extremism in all forms (except for autistic raging against the religious), but seem always to single out Christians in practice. Similarly, we’ll be rewarded with nothing but subversion and whining about oppression, if we seek allies among the goblins. The moment they’ve extracted what they want, they’ll chant “Save Barabbas” as readily as their ancestors did. They will–and do–practice duplicity as readily as their congeners, the conversos of Spain, who unlocked the doors of the Iberian peninsula for the Moorish occupation.

Make no mistake: the forces of darkness surround us and simply wait for our vigilance to falter, for us to fall asleep at the wheel.

All of this raises difficult questions, even personal ones. Who will raise his voice to say ‘No more’ and return, at last, to the higher path? Who will wear a crown of thorns, like the one cherished in Notre Dame itself, for the sake of the starry crown above? Who will forsake the laurels of cheap praise for the buckthorn of eternal destiny?

The night is darkest before the dawn, as the saying goes. In the darkest hours of the night, throngs of French kept vigil — ‘vigil’ being, appropriately, a most Catholic term — and sang as the faithful until the dawn. They joined their voices in traditional hymns like ‘Je voue salue Marie’ (see the video below), in celebration of their ancient birthright.

Of course, it doesn’t take a statistician to realise that most of those singing hymns are ethnic French and those who aren’t French are from elsewhere in Europe —  but all are white Europeans. The non-Europeans present are the exception proving the rule: they don’t sing along with the hymns (which are likely not a part of their upbringing). Only the Europeans do. Why would it be otherwise? After all, the church burnt is a piece of their heritage. Their ancestors were already French when this monument to French faith was built — and,  in some cases, they were even the builders.

France is theirs.

Those to whom it doesn’t belong—  that is, the carpet-kissers who have no loyalty to France or its history; those who speak little to no French; who live off welfare and breed like rabbits; who disregard the public laïcité laws; the Halal Brigades who block roads to pray on rugs in the street in contravention of law, not to mention decency; the sandlanders who rape French women for dressing according to French norms —  they had best remember this.

France is stirring.

Today, the young French are remembering and even singing the hymns they learned as children. They’re coming together in solidarity to watch over Our Lady, as she’s watched over them and their forebears for the better part of a millennium. Before Monday afternoon, they had perhaps taken her for granted, but they do so no longer; before, her permanence was a given, but now they guard it as the most invaluable treasure. This embodies man’s alignment with the ultimate spiritual and psychological purpose of permanence — the permanence of the higher Self; and, dare I say it, the permanence of one’s cultural validity, one’s people, one’s way of life.

We’ll need a lot more than flashmob hymns to rebuild — and renew — the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris. Nevertheless, these hymns and the reawakened awareness in those who sing them are a promising sign in the highest degree.

We mustn’t go back to sleep. Hopefully Our Lady will continue to remind us of that.