Paris, France, Dec 27, 2019 / 09:12 am America/Denver (CNA).
This year Christmas Mass was not celebrated at Notre-Dame de Paris for the first time since the French First Republic, and the cathedral’s rector says that there is a significant chance the building cannot be rebuilt safely.
The church “is not out of danger,” Monsignor Patrick Chauvet said to the Associated Press Dec. 24. “It will be out of danger when we take out the remaining scaffolding.”
The scaffolding, which was present on the building prior to the April 15 fire due to restoration work, fused together during the blaze. There are an estimated 551 tons of metal still present on top of the cathedral.
“Today we can say that there is maybe a 50% chance (the cathedral) will be saved,” said Chauvet. “There is also (a) 50% chance of scaffolding falling onto the three vaults, so as you can see, the building is still very fragile,” he added.
The last time Christmas Mass was not celebrated at Notre-Dame was in 1803, the final Christmas under the French First Republic. In 1793, amid the French Revolution which established the republic, the cathedral was “re-dedicated” to the “Cult of Reason,” a state-created religion that was intended to replace Catholicism. It was returned to the Church in the early 19th century.