On April 15, 2019, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was engulfed in fire. The conflagration was eventually extinguished - but it wasn’t long before flames were once again being fanned.
Plans for re-building the church have ignited controversy, with some critics arguing that the proposals are tantamount to the “Disney-fication” of the 900-year-old monument to Our Lady.
The debate is made all the more complex by the fact that the cathedral isn’t actually owned by the local Archdiocese. Like tens of thousands of churches in Europe, it’s owned by the State.
Our guest for this episode is one of the most well-known expatriate art historians in Europe. Dr. Elizabeth Lev has lived and worked as a tour guide in Rome for over 20 years. She teaches at Duquesne University’s Italian campus as well as the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas. Dr. Lev is the author of multiple books, the most recent of which traces the history of St. Joseph’s depiction in art.
Dr. Elizabeth Lev’s official website
Dr. Elizabeth Lev, “Sorry, Internet: Notre Dame is not being ‘wreckovated’”, The Washington Post (December 8, 2021)
“France Approves Controversial Plan to Renovate Notre-Dame Cathedral”, Smithsonian Magazine (December 14, 2021)
“What is Notre Dame Cathedral for?” The Pillar (November 30, 2021)
“Notre Damned”, The Catholic Herald (January 27, 2022)
History of Notre-Dame de Paris, Britannica.com
Please note that this podcast has been edited for length and clarity.