Flames ate away at the heart of France, black smoke curling into the sky on April 15th, and the world jumped into action. Money flowed like water, quenching the flames with capital instead.
In the wake of the Notre Dame fire, people have donated over a billion dollars in order to help repairs. The French construction union, Unitec, estimated repair costs between 330 million and 670 million dollars, and that goal was reached within the first 10 days.
Humanity is rallying together to save a building- a symbol of faith and corruption. Or maybe it’s just the Catholics, the art history majors and the billionaires rallying while everyone else focuses on the pressing issues of daily life.
With all assets pooled together, the Catholic Church is worth over 78 billion dollars. It doesn’t need your money, and neither does the French government. There are so many issues that desperately need the world’s attention that are conveniently swept under the Anglo-centric rug.
Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean water. Sri Lanka is reeling from Easter Sunday attacks. The Bangladeshi government is struggling to cope with an influx of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar persecution. According to the EPA, climate change will cost the United States billions of dollars annually by 2100.
These crises are garnering less support than an 856-year-old building for one reason. Modern day indulgences are a billion dollar ticket to salvation, not a charitable donation. In the 16th century, the Catholic Church sold ‘good deeds’ to supposedly save the populace from purgatory-really, they needed the money to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica. History repeats itself, time after time.
Martin Luther is rolling in his grave.
Notre Dame is history, fossilized and preserved in an increasingly flammable casing. Buildings can be rebuilt, history can be remembered. However, the problems of our current society-from the environment to political coups and mass shootings-require immediate attention.
Billionaires could solve world problems through charity work and donations, but instead, they are throwing money at an organization that doesn’t need their support. It is a vain effort to feel like the Catholic Church’s “Good Samaritan of the Week.” Save your soul for a million dollars apiece.
The world doesn’t want ‘Good Samaritans of the Week’. What it needs is a government, a people, a society willing to prioritize problems and work together to solve them. Don’t just be a good Samaritan for a singular Western, Christian cause. Expand outwards.
Every single problem in the world deserves support and recognition from society. We don’t get to pick and choose the cause. Eternal salvation from purgatory set aside, every single crisis affects human lives and the world differently.
Good Samaritan or not, the world needs your help. So instead of donating to the Catholic Church in the name of a building, focus on the crises that desperately need resources. Even a dollar will do.