The rector of Notre-Dame said the iconic Parisian cathedral has just a “50% chance” of being saved from the devastating fire in April.

This year was the first time since the France Revolution, more than 200 years ago, that a Christmas Mass was not celebrated at the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

After a Christmas eve Midnight Mass was celebrated in its place at the nearby Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois Church across from the Louvre Museum, rector of Notre-Dame Monsignor Patrick Chauvet commented on the cathedral’s restoration efforts.

“Today it is not out of danger. It will be out of danger when we take out the remaining scaffolding.”

When the Notre-Dame went up in flames in April, nearly 50,000 scaffolding tubes criss-crossed it’s edifice as it was undergoing renovations. The fire damaged some of the scaffolding, and removing the remaining pieces while supporting the damaged structure remains the biggest obstacle before restoration can begin.

Chauvet said the cathedral has just a “50% chance” of being saved, and also has the same odds that the scaffolding falls into the remaining vaults and collapses the vulnerable arches keeping the structure standing.

“Today we can say that there is maybe a 50% chance that it will be saved. There is also 50% chance of scaffolding falling onto the three vaults, so as you can see the building is still very fragile.”

Chauvet said until the scaffolding is removed and the remaining structure made safe, restoration cannot begin. He said restoration won’t begin until 2021, and even then it would be another three years after that in 2024 until it would be safe to enter.

“We need to remove completely the scaffolding in order to make the building safe, so in 2021 we will probably start the restoration of the cathedral. Once the scaffolding is removed we need to assess the state of the cathedral, the quantity of stones to be removed and replaced.”

Click here to watch a an exclusive new look at the ongoing restoration efforts, and click here to watch an exclusive interview with the lead chief architect.

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