Earlier this week the world watched in horror as the Notre Dame went up in flames. Although the roof and its spire were lost, the main body of the cathedral survived. So did most of its holy artefacts, and the gleaming, golden cross above the altar – which graces this week’s magazine cover.
The outpouring of grief and sympathy around the world – from Christians and atheists alike – showed how beloved the Notre Dame is as a historical and architectural icon.
However, Damian Thompson, Spectator Associate Editor and host of the Holy Smoke Podcast, says we must not forget that the Notre Dame is primarily a Catholic place of worship. And since its foundations were laid 800 years ago, the church has seen the continuous rise and fall of Catholicism in France and Europe.
Damian joins us on the podcast to discuss what the Notre Dame means to Catholics: along with journalist Matthew Walther.
Also on the podcast: euthanasia is illegal in the UK, but a recent poll shows 90 per cent of the UK support assisted dying for terminally ill people. Euthanasia is already legal in countries like Netherlands and Belgium – so could the UK be next?
The Spectator’s Literary Editor Sam Leith, and Spectator Associate Editor Douglas Murray have opposing views on the matter – so they debate the upsides and potential pitfalls of legalising the practice.
Sam says it is an issue of bodily autonomy. ‘It shouldn’t be the business of the state to tell you what you can and can’t do with your body’, he says.
Douglas, however, thinks legalising euthanasia could lead to a very real slippery slope, where vulnerable and elderly people may be at risk.
To round off our special Easter episode: Ysenda Maxtone-Graham writes in this week’s Spectator that hymns should not just be resigned to half-empty church halls. Far from being old-fashioned, she says, hymns are the perfect antidote to our current, troubled times.
She is joined on the podcast by the Dean of Westminster, The Very Reverend John Hall, where they discuss the beauty of church choirs.