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French Senate votes to keep Notre Dame Cathedral as it was before the fire

French Senate votes to keep Notre Dame Cathedral as it was before the fire

And FYI: The president doesn't have veto power.

The French Senate is standing up to efforts in the French government to give Notre Dame Cathedral a modern redesign following the massive fire last month.

According to multiple media reports, France's Senate passed a bill to restore the centuries-old Catholic worship site after a lengthy debate and stipulated that the structure must be restored as it was before the conflagration.

On April 15, a fire tore through the historic building, engulfing the structure's roof and hallmark spire but miraculously leaving the sanctuary's altar and cross intact, as well as sparing other historic treasures. The cause still officially unknown.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the question of how to rebuild and restore the church has turned into a fraught battleground between traditionalists who want to see the world famous church rebuilt as it was and those who favor a more modernist approach.

Shortly after the fire, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild Notre Dame "more beautiful than before" and announced an international design competition for the restoration plans. That announcement spurred a slew of possible new designs for the cathedral. One widely criticized design proposed turning the more than 800-year-old sacred space into a greenhouse.

A survey published at the end of April found that a 54 percent majority of French respondents would like to see the building returned to its historical appearance, while just over one-fifth had no opinion on the matter.

Notre Dame Cathedral was taken over by the country's new secular, republican government during the French Revolution and remains public property to this day, even though the Catholic Church has exclusive rights to the use of the building and grounds. That arrangement leaves the oversight of building repairs under the jurisdiction of the national government.

While the office of the president of France does carry more power than government leaders of other European countries, Macron does not have the power to veto legislation in the same way a U.S. president would; he can merely ask the French Parliament to revisit the issue.

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