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It’s a shame, but our western identity is being replaced by an empty shell that seeks to put no meaning in the spiritual, social, and historic buildings that had stood strong for more than a thousand years. They are now turning to dust under the constant erosion of our times. Notre Dame Cathedral is a perfect example of this assault on our traditions.
Notre Dame, converted into an ecological altar
On November 26, the Telegraph published the alarming news that the renovation of the historic French cathedral will not return it to its glory days, but will take the opportunity to “modernize” it.
Yes, the exterior of the church will be restored to its pre-fire form, but its interior will be reportedly transformed into a “politically correct Disneyland” that will replace altars and confessionals with “emotional spaces.”
The grotesque project of lights, with ecological messages included and promoted by none other than the archbishop of Paris, is not only a crime against history, architecture and the identity of the city of light, but also a dramatic reflection of a reality that encompasses a good part of religion, the family and the homeland of our countries.
The plasticized shell of the West
The Telegraph quotes French architect Maurice Culot, who explains that “it is as if Disney were entering Notre Dame… It is a kind of theme park, childish and trivial”. That diagnosis of “thematic, childish and trivial” — in which the facades remain a curious vestige or a mere aesthetic legacy void of meaning — can be applied to many other aspects of the West’s identity.
One of them is marriage. Western couples spend thousands of dollars on wedding ceremonies that are little more than a pantomime of ancient celebrations. They swear eternal love to each other in front of friends, family and some priest, pastor or nondenominational minister, but no one there (starting with the officiant) expects that oath to be fulfilled in earnest.
The bride, groom, priest and guests know that more than half of all marriages end in divorce and that, if they do, the couple will not face any social or legal consequences for breaking their vow of eternal love (except for alimony).
Marriage is thus stripped of its transcendent meaning and of its link to the tradition and collective identity from which it was initially derived. What remains is, increasingly, a party and a recitation of vows in a fancy place. That is to say, the empty shell, which even progressively remains abandoned in the families of the West.
Another example of this is religion. The empty shell is becoming more and more obvious also in the Christian structures themselves. In a large part of the world, temples were closed for weeks or even months because of the pandemic, with practically no one missing them. The worship of God was not declared an “essential activity” and hardly anyone was outraged, often not even the pastors.
The uncomfortable truth is that for more and more Christians, with and without cassocks, religious practice is more a ritual of personal growth and “harmony with the world” than a connection with God. They act as if God does not exist, or at least as if God does not intervene. This Christianity turned into an empty shell then becomes a stage for ideological projections. This is exactly what the bishop of Paris seeks to do in the cathedral of Notre Dame.
The same thing happens in Western countries with the sense of nationality, gender and many other elements of traditional identities. The buildings, the aesthetic details and the charm of the ceremony remain—but people believe them less and less.
What is the new civilization?
The new civilization, a replacement for the West, is based on new paradigms, including, first and foremost, the personalization of identities. You can choose (and customize) your gender, religion, homeland and politics. This brings with it a multitude of problems, starting with the fact that if everyone can be everything, then categories become meaningless and reconfigured to the point of absurdity.
This is how we came to change the term “women” to “pregnant people”. We can also see hundreds of thousands celebrating on TikTok the “baptism” of a cat. We see how Pachamama walks around the Vatican and transcendent ecumenism degrades into the irrelevance of a menu of spiritual signs meant to look pretty even if they don’t really matter.
And worse things will come… Or, at least, different ones.
Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”