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ERASING CHRISTIANITY IN FRANCE


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n early March, the organizing committee for the upcoming Paris Olympics released its official promotional poster, featuring familiar Parisian landmarks—the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Dôme des Invalides—dropped into a brightly colored and surrealistic landscape of stadiums, Olympic rings, and cheering crowds. Something was conspicuously missing, though. The poster depicts the Dôme des Invalides, commissioned by Louis XIV and repository of Napoleon's tomb, without the gilded Christian cross that has adorned its pinnacle since its construction in the late seventeenth century. Instead of a cross, the poster shows a simple spike, like the one on top of the Chrysler Building.

French conservative lawmakers were outraged. Nicolas Meizonnet of Marine Le Pen's National Rally complained that the omission of the cross represented “wokeism” at its fawning worst. Other politicians on the right accused the organizers of erasing France's distinctive history and national identity.

The Dôme des Invalides, considered a masterpiece of baroque architecture, was originally a royal chapel commissioned by Louis XIV as part of the Hôtel des Invalides, a hospital for wounded soldiers that is now a French army museum. In 1861 Napoleon’s remains were transferred to the Dôme. Napoleon was an enemy of the Catholic Church, or at least of the papacy and the Papal States, which he regarded as challengers to his goal of French-dominated European republicanism. Still, Napoleon received the Catholic last sacraments before his death in exile on Saint Helena in 1821. Although Les Invalides is no longer a religious edifice, a Catholic Mass is still celebrated in the Dôme on May 5, the anniversary of Napoleon's death.:snip:

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