By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent
NEW YORK – In an effort to quell controversies over the planned rebuilding of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, the French Senate passed a bill on May 27 stipulating that the it must be rebuilt to the “last known visual state.”
After an April 15 fire ravaged the cathedral, resulting in the collapse of its famed spire and rooftop, debate has ensued over whether the restoration efforts would possibly include a modern redesign or whether it will be rebuilt to reflect the last iteration of the 12th century structure.
French President Emmanuel Macron has insisted, and the latest bill affirms, that plans are for the cathedral to be rebuilt before the city plays host to the summer Olympic games in 2024.
More than one billion dollars have been pledged to assist the efforts, but preservation experts have warned against an expedited process for the restoration.
Notre Dame was nationalized in 1789 during the French Revolution, and remains the property of the French State. By law, the Catholic Church has exclusive use of the building, but the government covers the cost of building maintenance and repairs.
In May, the National Assembly, France’s main legislative body, debated a bill which was meant to establish a national fund for the restoration and give executive decision-making authority to Macron.
Following the vote in the French Senate, the upper body of the French parliament, the National Assembly and the Senate must now seek to a common version of the bill that will pass both bodies.
According a poll conducted by YouGov from Le HuffPost and CNews, 54 percent of French adults seek to restore the cathedral to its original form, with another 25 percent seeking a modern addition. 21 percent of respondents did not have an opinion on the matter.