According to the Washington Free Beacon, for some inexplicable reason, the journalistic outlet to rival all other outlets – The New York Times – reported that the “body of Christ” saved from the flaming Notre Dame cathedral earlier this week was a statue, even though no other media outlet reported it as such, and even though the most rudimentary understanding of Catholicism would lead one to conclude the term “body of Christ” does not refer to a statue.
The Times story detailed the heroic work of Paris Fire Department chaplain, Father Jean-Marc Fournier, and his effort to save priceless relics from the Notre Dame fire, including the crown of thorns (believed to have been worn by Christ at his crucifixion) and the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, also known as “the body of Christ.” Here’s what the article said:
As the chaplain began removing a statue of Jesus, he said, his colleagues were fighting the fire from the cathedral’s towers. The flames had started to threaten the wooden structure around the belfry — putting the whole cathedral at even greater risk.
With the statue in hand, Father Fournier, alone in the nave, gave a benediction to the cathedral, he said.
‘I thought Jesus could help us a little bit and work, too,’ he said. ‘I invited him to worry about his own house if he didn’t want to finish the night under a tent by the Canal Saint-Martin.’
Catholic doctrine states that the wafer and wine become the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ when a priest consecrates it while still retaining its original form – a process known as transubstantiation.
As noted by the Washington Free Beacon, what was most odd about Times referring to the “body of Christ” as a statue is that no other outlet made that reference – not even CNN.
“Weirdly, there was no other reporting about Fournier saving a Jesus statue from Notre Dame. For that matter, Notre Dame cathedral doesn’t even have a Jesus statue,” reports the Free Beacon. “He co-stars in the famous Pieta and a statue of the Virgin and Child (both unharmed), but neither could be lugged around by an elderly priest.”
Later, the New York Times added a correction to the article saying, “an earlier version of this article misidentified one of two objects recovered from Notre-Dame by the Rev. Jean-Marc Fournier. It was the Blessed Sacrament, not a statue of Jesus.” While some might simply write the mistake off as a poor translation of Father Founier’s words, the Free Beacon noted that “the Times reporter in question appears to be fluent in French.”
Despite the mishap, Father Fournier did indeed save the Blessed Sacrament from the fire that night along with the crown of thorns. He told reporters that his profound faith in the sacrament motivated him to save it as the cathedral went up in flames.
“I asked Jesus — and I really believe he is present in these hosts — to fight the flames and preserve the building dedicated to his mother,” said Fournier, according to the National Catholic Register.
When asked about his thoughts at the moment, Fournier said he remembered the blessing on Ash Wednesday: “Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.”