Latest developments as Emmanuel Macron pledges to rebuild cathedral after catastrophic blaze
The Vatican has has issued a statement through its spokesperson:
The Holy See has heard with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.
We express our closeness to French Catholics and the people of Paris. We assure our prayers for the firemen and all those who are doing everything possible to deal with this dramatic situation.
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At Notre Dame, under occasional showers of light rain, firefighters were this morning examining the building’s facade, walking across the tops of the bell-towers and along high viewing points favoured by tourists.
Several officers could be seen on one of the highest points of the north belfry inspecting damage. The esplanade in front of the cathedral, usually thronging with crowds with selfie-sticks was deserted, cordoned off by police.