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Macron Promises to Rebuild Notre Dame Within 5 Years

President challenges France to make cathedral even more beautiful
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2019 3:46 PM CDT
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, and his wife Brigitte, walk away from Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday night.   (Philippe Wojazer/Pool via AP)
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(Newser) – France will rebuild Notre Dame "even more beautifully," President Emmanuel Macron told the nation Tuesday in a televised address. "And I want it to be completed in five years." One day after fire ravaged the cathedral, Reuters reports that Macron laid out the challenge ahead: "It is up to us to convert this disaster into an opportunity to come together, having deeply reflected on what we have been and what we have to be and become better than we are," he said. "It is up to us to find the thread of our national project." Macron had visited the site Monday night. "The fire at Notre Dame reminds us that our history never stops," he said in the speech, per Euronews. Pope Francis made a similar point: "Notre Dame will always remain—and we have seen this in these hours—a place where believers and non-believers can come together in the most dramatic moments of French history."

More than $700 million has now been pledged for the rebuilding, per CNN, led by wealthy donors and companies. The work begins with a damage assessment, which is now being conducted by national, local, and church authorities, NPR reports. The investigation of the cause of the fire also has begun, but officials caution that it will be long and complex. Dozens of investigators will, among other things, interview workers involved in the restoration project that was underway when the fire broke out. The investigation is limited until experts are sure the building remains structurally sound, making it safe to enter the nave. Some visitors remained hopeful when visiting the damaged cathedral: "Yesterday we thought the whole cathedral would collapse," said a nun who rushed to another church to pray while the landmark burned. "Yet this morning she is still standing, valiant, despite everything." (Read more Notre Dame Cathedral stories.)

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