Notre Dame Cathedral fire


The head of the Vatican press office, Alessandro Gisotti, spoke of the Pope’s shock and sadness:

‘The Cathedral of Notre Dame is a symbol of Christianity in France and in the world… The pope is close to France, he is praying for French Catholics and for the people of Paris in face of the terrible fire which has ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral. He offers his prayers to those trying to cope with this tragic situation.’

The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, said on BBC Radio 4 TODAY, that the fire was terrible and tragic:

‘It is somewhere near the heartbeat of our human story. And what struck me was the people on the streets, there were thousands and thousands, who were silent and deeply upset and some of them crying. And every now and again, there were pockets of people praying and singing hymns – and it was almost as if that voice expressed deeply what was in the hearts of everybody. So it’s a fascinating story about the role of religion in a society which is largely a secular culture, yet somehow a building like Notre Dame somehow those voices give expression to what is deepest in our longings and in our human experience.’

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said:

‘Tonight we pray for the firefighters tackling the tragic NotreDame fire – and for everyone in France and beyond who watches and weeps for this beautiful, sacred place where millions have met with Jesus Christ. Nous sommes avec vous… In November 1940, Coventry Cathedral burned. It was rebuilt to the glory of God and stands today a symbol of hope and resurrection. May NotreDame also rise again in the power of God.’