Fox News host HANGS UP on Catholic guest 'suspicious' about Notre Dame fire
Neil Cavuto, a Fox News host HUNG UP on guest Bill Donohue after the Catholic League president stated his suspicions that the recent Notre Dame Cathedral fire was part of a series of attacks on Catholic churches in France.
At the commencement of Holy Weekl, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has been ravaged by fire after as a blaze took hold of the wooden roof of the historical building during restoration works.
Paris officials have launched an inquiry to establish the cause of the fire which resulted in the top spire of the cathedral to collapse on itself as the world observed in horror.
While discussing the potential amount the Catholic Church will need to raise to rebuild Notre Dame, Fox News host Neil Cavuto HUNG UP on Catholic League president Bill Donohue for claiming the fire may have been the result of a targeted attack.
Mr Donohue said: "If it is an accident, it’s a monumental tragedy but forgive me for being suspicious.
"Just last month, a 17th Century church was set on fire in Paris. We’ve seen tabernacles knocked down, crosses have been torn down, statues have been snatched."
Despite having being asked to "avoid what your suspicions may be", Mr Donohue persisted in suggesting the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral may have been the result of an anti-Christian attack.
He continued: "First the Catholic Church will get to the bottom of it and they will rebuild it, there is no question about that.
"Certainly, they will come up with the money for it, that’s not even a question.
"But I’m sorry - when I find out the Eucharist has been destroyed and excrements are being smeared on crosses. This is going on now."
Mr Cavuto then intervened for a second time before cutting off Mr Donohue: "Wait a minute, Bill. Look, I love you Bill, but we can’t make conjectures about this so thank you very much.
"Bill, I’m sorry. I do want to let people know – and again, I’m not trying to be rude – there is so much we do not know about what happened here. We do know that about four hours ago something started here.
"There have been incidents that have been raised against the Catholic Church, a lot of popular tourist sites, certainly in and around Paris, but it is another leap to start taking views like that when we don’t know."
According to a mass attendee, Notre Dame staff raised the alarm in the evening of April 15 at around 6.50pm local time.
Paris authorities began investigations almost immediately after firefighters started vital work to save the cathedral, where the fire was tackled nearly nine hours after the first alarm bell was rung.
French media has linked the start of the fire to recent construction work being carried out on the monument.
Some parts of the 850-year-old structure have been wrapped in scaffolding as renovation works started last week.
Culture minister Franck Riester confirmed the majority of the artwork inside the Cathedral has been saved as he thanked first respondents for their work: "I want to render homage to all the fire officers and all the staff that was mobilised in yesterday’s operation.
"Fire officers are trying to work out the best thing to do to be able to preserve everything that has been threatened."
While Notre Dame is undoubtedly the most well-known landmark to be affected, Paris’ second largest church, Saint-Sulpice, briefly burst into flames on March 17.
The fire that hit Saint-Sulpice reportedly started in a pile of clothes left outside the cathedral, before climbing up the door and to the stained glass.
The clothes are believed to have been left there by a homeless person.
Police said the fire was “not accidental,” but the pastor of Saint-Sulpice argued it was not an anti-religious attack.
Unlike in the Notre Dame fire, the damage to Saint-Sulpice was relatively minor.
The church, founded in the 17th century, houses three paintings by 19th century Romantic artist Eugene Delacroix, none of which were damaged.
Fortunately, many of the relics in Notre Dame escaped the fire unscathed.
The ancient Crown of Thorns and the tunic of St. Louis were transported safely to the Paris City Hall.
The cathedral frame itself also remained intact, though its roof and spire collapsed.