Two months after the fire, the Notre Dame cathedral will be a place of worship again with a mass, celebrated by the Archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit, in front of about thirty people. At the entrance Monsignor Aupetit, the rector Patrick Chauvet, the priests, some workers and some lay people of the diocese of Paris will be invited to put on a protective helmet because even though the works have just begun inside, the structure is still considered unstable. The faithful will not be able to enter – the security measures will not allow it – but they will be able to watch the live TV broadcast on the Catholic Kto channel.
The Mass will be a first moment of recollection, an occasion to return to the spirit of communion and unity. In recent weeks, the plans to reconstruct the broken and collapsed spire and the restructuring plans for the entire wounded cathedral have been accompanied by many controversies, revived yesterday by the news that for now only 9 percent of the 850 million promised have actually been paid, equal to to 80 million.
Only the small contributors have really paid private individuals, especially Americans, who provided the money used to pay the 150 workers to work on the construction site immediately after the fire was extinguished. “But the big donors did not pay, not even a penny,” says André Finot, a spokesman for Notre Dame. They want to know exactly where the money will end up and choose which part of the financial reconstruction they want to contribute to”. Immediately after the fire, when the media around the world re-launched the images of the flames, the greatest fortunes of France had engaged in a race of generosity: François Pinault at the head of the Kering group immediately promised 100 million, followed by rival Bernard Arnault patron of LVMH which announced 200, and by Patrick Pouyanne (Total) and the Bettencourt Schueller (L’Oréal) foundation, 100 million each.
But even then someone criticised these gestures as a marketing strategy, and yesterday the councilor of the municipality of Paris responsible for housing, the communist Ian Brossat, commented “here is the difference between taxes and charity: taxes are 100% collection and 0% advertising; the charity is 100% advertising and 9% collection”. Brossat alludes to the tax breaks that would go to the benefactors, even if the Arnault family immediately specified that they will not enjoy it. “Payments will be made as the work progresses,” the LVMH group reassured. “We will pay as promised once the contractual framework has been clarified,” said Jean-Jacques Aillagon on behalf of the Pinault family. When tenders are called, the most important contributions will also arrive.