On Sunday 13th January, following the March of Parisian Pride the night before, a handful of Generation Identity activists attended a traditional Catholic mass at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris. We battled our tiredness from the rally and set off for the Île de la Cité in the brisk winter’s morning. We stopped off at a café and enjoyed a croissant and coffee as we admired the sight of the island. It is truly a monument to French architecture and city planning. The buildings occupying the island are of varying age and function – some are medieval religious sites; others are war memorials and civic buildings – but they are in perfect harmony thanks to the orchestration of architects. We ambled around the Notre-Dame’s grounds, seeing monuments to Charlemagne and the apostles as we went, before being invited inside by a tremendous chorus of cathedral bells. As soon as we crossed the threshold, the bells were joined by an angelic choir and rumbling organ, enhanced by echoing corridors and a roof that seemed to press against the firmament itself.
As we stood at the entrance of the cathedral, we were struck with the sense of awe one feels in a place of great significance. We could feel the connection with our ancestors who stood in the same spot hundreds of years earlier. We heard the same chants, smelled the same incense, and saw the same stained glass icons as those who came before us. We were informed by many signs that the cathedral had been continually repaired, restored and added to in the nine centuries since its construction. This did not detract from the feeling of tradition, but enhanced it – such a magnificent monument was the culmination of hundreds of years of effort, a true labour of our forefathers’ love.
The same sense of tradition we felt so sharply in the pews of Notre-Dame is present in Christianity as a whole. One cannot overstate the importance of Christianity in European tradition. It is a thread that runs from the Roman Empire to the present day, a constant through a time of great change. Practising the same liturgy, singing the same hymns and walking the same halls as our ancestors allows us to feel connected to them and appreciate their experiences despite them often seeming so far away.
We left the mass with a reinvigorated sense of duty, which remains to improve our homeland as our forefathers improved it before us. To do this, we must actively promote expressions of European tradition and resist any and all attempts to erode it, which would sever the thread of continuity running through our history. Tradition serves as the roots of a people. With strong, deep tradition, a people will flourish, rooted firmly in their past but stretching far into the future; without it, a people will wither and weaken.