Dec 20, 2019

Notre Dame won't hold Christmas Mass for first time since French Revolution

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

Paris' famed Notre Dame will not hold Christmas Mass for the first time since the French Revolution — over two centuries — following a devastating fire in April, the AP reports.

Why it matters: The 855-year-old cathedral stayed open during both world wars and was only closed for Christmas in the period after 1789 when French revolutionaries turned the building into "a temple of reason," Notre Dame's rector told the AP. There will be a "Christmas-in-exile" at another Paris church, Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois, with one of Notre Dame's most famous sculptures "The Virgin of Paris" present.

Go deeper ... Notre Dame fire: Which artifacts were saved and lost

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Notre Dame rector warns cathedral has "50% chance" of being saved

The back of the Notre Dame Cathedral on Dec. 24. Photo: Estelle Ruiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As Notre Dame Cathedral awaits restoration in 2021 after this year's devastating fire that destroyed much of the historic landmark's roof, the rector of the church said there's a “50% chance” the structure may not be saved, AP reports.

Why it matters: The scaffolding installed before the fire in April risks collapsing during clean-up.

Go deeperArrowDec 25, 2019

Pope Francis at Christmas Eve mass: God loves even the worst of us

Pope delivers his homily during the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Vatican. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Francis delivered a message to the world's 1.3 billion Roman Catholics during Christmas Eve Mass in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican: "Christmas reminds us that God continues to love us all, even the worst of us."

The big picture: The BBC notes the Pope "alluded to the clerical abuse" and "financial scandals" when he said: "Whatever goes wrong in our lives, whatever doesn't work in the Church, whatever problems there are in the world, will no longer serve as an excuse ."

See photosArrowDec 25, 2019

French government to meet transportation strikers next week

Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

French government officials will begin talks with labor unions on Tuesday to end the country's longest transport stoppage since the mid-1980s.

Why it matters: It's been 29 days since transportation workers in France started striking in protest of President Macron's proposal to overhaul the pension system.

Go deeperArrowJan 2, 2020