Vatican Offers Technical Know-How to Help Rebuild Notre-Dame

A crane lifts up construction material as scaffoldings surround Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 17, 2019, two days after a fire that devastated the building in the centre of the French capital. - French President vowed on April 16 to rebuild Notre-Dame cathedral 'within five years', after a fire …

As pledges for hundreds of millions of dollars stream in to rebuild the ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Vatican said its unique contribution will be in the area of technical know-how.

“I think one of the greatest contributions the Holy See can make … will be above a technical one because we have, for example, the Vatican Museums,” Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi told reporters this week.

“We have the type of know-how that the whole world recognizes as being of a high quality. That is why I think an eventual future offer by the Holy See will be significant,” he said.

“We can contribute to the resolution of certain specific tasks, but it should be the result of a dialogue,” Ravasi said.

The cardinal’s words came in response to a question by reporters whether the Vatican will provide support for the reconstruction of the cathedral, which was devastated by a nine-hour fire Monday evening. The cardinal underscored that France is economically “self-sufficient” and that the entrance fee to visit Notre Dame was intended “as a fund for eventual situations and restorations.”

“The Holy See will be able to contribute, especially from a technical standpoint, because in this field we are recognized for our high-quality competence,” he said, adding that “a future offer” will have to be born from a dialogue among the involved parties.

Financial pledges to help in reconstruction have not ceased since the day of the fire, and include contributors as diverse as luxury brand manufacturers, Apple Computer, Disney, French Oil and Gas, and video game makers.

Speaking of his specific department, Ravasi said that the Pontifical Council for Culture “has connections with the whole horizon of this immense ecclesial patrimony, which, even if it is no longer the property of the Church – as in the case of Notre Dame Cathedral, which is the property of the French State – remains always a living creature in which one celebrates the liturgy, people gather for the faith, and in even unbelievers come to admire its beauty.”

Cardinal Ravasi made these remarks during a press conference Tuesday on the topic of the Vatican’s first-ever pavilion at the International Exposition of Horticulture, which will take place in Beijing, China, from April 28 to October 7 with the theme “Live Green. Live Better.”

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