The church cares for the people, and so should the rich


Emma Thumann

During the 15th and 16th of April, the world watched with despair as the historic cathedral Notre Dame collapsed from a devastating fire. Built in 1163 in Paris, this beloved building was one of the most famous landmarks in France. Its unique French Gothic architecture has lured tourists for centuries.
French president Emmanuel Macron launched a fundraising campaign to rebuild Notre Dame. Companies such as Apple, L’Oreal, and Dior, and Disney donated funds as have Catholics and citizens from around the globe. Even President Trump has been considering donating out of his own pocket, but this has not been confirmed. All in all, 995 billion dollars were raised not even two days after the fire.
It was as if the whole world put their differences aside for just a few moments and donated to help a country in peril, except France wasn’t in peril, but grieving from the loss of a historical building.
It’s interesting to see how much money was raised in such a short amount of time. Imagine if that amount of money was raised for a more prolonging cause. It would be a better use of money and it benefits people that need it.
The question is, why was so much money donated so quickly in the first place?
“… it is one of the oldest structures in Europe in terms of [that] it’s iconic, it’s historical, it’s cultural, it’s religious as well, being a Catholic church,” English and Public Speaking teacher Mr. Stevens said. “[And] I think a lot of people gave emotionally. They see something like that happen and [they do] what’s called ‘emotional giving’, people give based on how they’re feeling in the moment.”
Emotional giving wouldn’t just happen in this scenario, but if other iconic structures collapsed or were broken by some kind of terrorist attack. One would assume that if the Statue of Liberty collapsed, more than enough money would be raised to repair it.
Basically, people don’t want to lose national treasures and structures because they’ve been around for so long, they’ve almost become a part of the peoples’ identity.
But what good is repairing buildings and other treasures if there aren’t people around to visit these wondrous landmarks essential to tourism? With all of this money donated, numerous problems pertaining to people that are actually in peril would have been fixed quickly, or at least coming to a solution faster.
“…there’s so many social problems between world hunger, poverty, and healthcare and so many problems in the third world countries as well, some that we don’t even think about, vaccinations, clean water in other countries, digging wells…” Stevens said.
Even half of the money donated could help solve minor problems such as the still ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Sure, money may not be the only solution, but it still would be a huge help, as the only way for the city to get fresh, clean water is to replace all the old lead water pipes that have contaminated it. According to The Guardian, it would only cost 55 million dollars.
“[Donating] really comes down to every person evaluating in their own hearts, ‘what is really important to me’? And, hopefully, at the end of the day, every person would be able to say ‘the most important thing to me is people,’” Science teacher Michael Abadir said.
If CEOs, billionaires, and America’s own government can sit down and write out checks to fix a building, they can definitely write one to help out the people who build it. Even the smallest check would suffice. One question remains: Do they even care, or do they just want to make a good impression by helping other countries’ problems instead of their own?