April 17, 2019
/ / /

The tragedy of Notre Dame de Paris is nothing anyone is about to forget. Just like I remember gasping when I saw the Towers of the World Trade Center collapse, I could not help doing the same when the “flèche” of Notre Dame fell.

The big difference between the World Trade Center and Notre Dame is the number of casualties: the fire at Notre Dame (at least so far) did not result in any deaths. The World Trade Center, 18 years later, is still killing first responders and others.

There stops my comparison. Let’s look now at the hypocrisy of those willing to give millions to rebuild Notre Dame. Notre Dame, an asset of the city of Paris, is well insured as a landmark monument. When it caught on fire, it is likely the cause was negligence from the construction company handling renovations: they too, have to be bonded and heavily insured before being authorized to start a project of that magnitude. The French government, who is NOT supposed to have any connection with the Catholic Church, will find large sums to contribute to the disaster. Last but not least, the Vatican, although it does not own Notre Dame, has a very clear interest in demonstrating financial support.

Why, you will ask me, the ongoing “pissing contest” (for lack of a better expression) between France’s richest citizens pledging ridiculous amounts to rebuild the cathedral: so far, I believe they have committed enough to rebuild Notre Dame ten times over. Bernard Arnault, Forbes’ third richest man in the world, when he heard that Francois Pinault (Salma Hayek’s husband) had pledged $100 million euros, went ahead and offered $200 million euros. Then the daughter of the late Liliane Bettencourt (who was, for 30 years, the richest woman in the word) committed $100 million euros of her personal money AND $100 million euros from L’Oreal, the family business. A few “small timers” helped the numbers grow by gifting $10 million euros apiece.

I betcha some of these generous donors never set foot in Notre Dame, for religious and other reasons.

By the way, the great majority of the above “gifts” are tax deductible.

Let me ask the following question: with close to one billion dollars, what would a hypothetical Jesus do?
He does not need money to buy fish, since he can make as many as necessary.
Likewise, with bread.
He could, however, save Puerto Rico from decay.
He could finally have clean water for the residents of Flint, Michigan.
He could support high school students marching for a world without guns.
He could keep politicians from building bridges to nowhere, just because they can.
He could work on the mental health issues in our country.

And, with the leftovers, he could try to save our planet.


  1. OWEN DORSEY April 18, 2019 5:23 am

    A rather moot point, but He might likely remind us to not judge others lest we be…..

  2. André van Hall April 18, 2019 6:21 am

    Nicely said! We have so many humanitarian crisis in the world and none of them has grabbed the “passion” of the world like Notre Dame has!

  3. Ellen Adelman April 18, 2019 8:37 am

    Absolutely right on!

  4. Dolbeau Hubert April 18, 2019 8:38 am

    La religion la citoyente l histoire
    les arts la culture le respect du passé la confiance en l avenir ç est finalement chaqun de nous qui formons un peux de cette humanité
    Thanks for your words Ben

  5. gaetano ascione April 18, 2019 10:02 am

    Great,great and more great.you are so right about this ippocrytes
    it is just a show off. a lot of people in france could use help,and here also

  6. Heinrich Morio April 21, 2019 7:15 am

    Donating money to Notre Dame is good PR…unlike donating money to ease world hunger / poverty / disease, that’s something we have gotten used to and its not news worthy….

  7. Peter Nowotny April 21, 2019 7:32 am

    Jesus is a busy man (can I still say man?) because of the ever increasing population. All what we know many of the catastrophes that has happened. Question is, do we know who many Jesus has prevented?

  8. Robert Watson October 16, 2019 3:25 am

    What we do for ourselves dies with us
    What we do for others remains forever

    Are all those millions donated for PR reasons or as a sop to their own egos?


Leave a Reply to André van Hall Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *