PopeWatch: Dante




Pope Francis is an admirer of Dante:

In the message, the Pope began by saying that he joined “the chorus of those who believe Dante Alighieri is an artist of the highest universal value, who still has much to say and to give, through his immortal works, to all those who are willing to walk the path of true knowledge”.

He said that a number of his predecessors including Blessed Paul VI , Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had referred to Dante in Papal documents.

The Holy Father added that he himself in his first encyclical Lumen Fidei, chose to tap into the immense wealth of images, symbols, values contained in Dante’s works.

On the eve of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the Pope said it was his hope that the celebrations of the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth, like those in preparation for the VII centenary of His death in 2021, could again make Dante’s work understood and valued.


Go here to read the rest.  Dante is an endless store of wise commentary on the human condition as it is touched by the Divine.  This quotation is appropriate for our time and all times:

Consider your origin;
you were not born to live like brutes,
but to follow virtue and knowledge.

More to explorer


  1. Intellectuals of the Darwin class will consider their origin, and then act out of it perfectly. No spirit. Just animal instinct and kill or be killed mentality.
    I guess this class will end up most likely returning to their believed origin. A darkness unending. A place where primordial goo slithers off the rock and finds itself in the eternal shadow.

    Poor lot.

  2. Philip is correct. Because liberal progressive Democrats believe they are evolved from apes, they believe that the morality which applies to apes applies to themselves – that is to say, no morality. So of course they sanctify the worst of sexual practices as marriage and justify the worst of murders as reproductive choice. Just as to a baboon the titillation of the genitals is paramount, so also to a liberal progressive Democrat. Because they reject that they have been made in God’s very image and likeness, personally responsible and accountable for their actions, they make themselves into the rapid, sex-crazed animals from which they say they have evolved.

  3. I’m sort of surprised that Pope Fracis went there. The gay gestapo will chafe at Dante’s damnation of sodomites in Hell. Hasn’t Dante been banned from campuses?
    I think that Dante’s value is as an artist/allegorist/poet not a theologian. Although, for me, each canto of the Purgatorio has personal value.

    “His (Dante’s) purpose is to put such (secular) wisdom in its proper place by making it subservient to God, by whom it was ordained to serve man’s practical intellectual needs, and by excluding it from all questions touching matters of faith.” Archibald T. MacAllister, July 7, 1961, in his Introduction to The Purgatorio, Dante Alighieri, translated by John Ciardi.

    In addition to the deadly sins, the betrayal of Jesus, etc., Dante (allegory/fiction) places “poor damned souls” (Kipling) in Hell based on his ideas about their guilt for Church corruption, harm to Florence and affronts to his family’s and his political faction’s interests.

    Dante, Paradiso, Canto XVII, Fifth Sphere: Mars, The Warriors of God. Cacciaguida prophesies that the Divine Comedy will outlive the proudest Florentines and bring shame to their evil memories for ages to come.

  4. Paul. Your post reminds me of something I heard from Archbishop F.J. Sheen; “It is interesting that those who wish to profess Darwin live their lives just a fraction above the actions of animals, yet those who believe in Almighty God strive and succeed in living lives just short of the Angels.”

    It’s been some time since I’ve quoted this, so it might not be perfect, however it’s very close. His observation is similar to yours, Paul Primavera.

  5. Paul: Do not put animals down. Titillation of the genitals, sodomy and killing of the offspring are not the norm. Only man possessed by the devil does those things. Then he blames his behavior on the innocent animals.

  6. I attribute my conversion to Catholicism to the Holy Spirit’s influence through Dante back in 1981. I was in an honors program at a secular college studying Medical Technology in my late 20’s and had to study the Divine Comedy as part of an Honors classic literature class. I was very impressed by it and chose to write my Honors thesis on it. I didn’t become Catholic at that time, but because of the way it upends the values of the world it was the main influence leading to my conversion about 3 years later. I went back several years later and told my old college professor that I had become Catholic in large part due to the influence of The Divine Comedy and his exact words were “That seems anachronistic.” College Professors are hilarious. Ummmm – isn’t it the enduring value of it that has made it worthy of study through the ages? I’m very thankful for it and for all the other literary figures who dedicated their own works to translating and analyzing it.

  7. “I think that Dante’s value is as an artist/allegorist/poet not a theologian.”

    I’m not so sure. You can study anatomy by reading books dissecting corpses, but you can also do it by watching a tennis game. It goes beyond “this is what we are” and becomes “this is how we move”. Dante is like watching the muscles of Catholicism performing feats of athletics.

  8. Grammy – It’s like the Newman quote, that to study history is to cease to be Protestant. Inhabiting Dante’s world has the same effect.

    I think of Dante, and I think of order. It’s perfect that Darwin would have come up in this conversation, because the two opposing camps in Western thought are perfectly represented by Dante and Darwin. In Dante, we see order. A God who created us and structures everything. Heaven and Hell and everything else is where it is ordained to be, as is every living creature. The saints are those who fit themselves into God’s order, and the souls in Hell are those who opposed the Divine order. Every syllable in Dante’s work is where it belongs. In Darwin’s world, everything is happenstance. Genes get miscopied and species blur; even the atoms themselves aren’t really made of anything but likelihoods. Natural law has no meaning because nature itself is lawless.

    For me the vexing thing is that the Darwin world provides a great template for free markets and democratic society. But Dante’s world provides meaning. To think solely in Darwin’s way is to lose purpose.

  9. Pinky.

    This era is insane as the Darwin camp has seemingly been the dominant victors in culture and politics.
    They are self-destructing and a strong Dante class is growing in the wings.
    Example. Our tiny community at Holy Rosary just started a mens Holy Hour group. Last night was our first meeting.
    We had 41 men participate. Out of the 41, twenty five we’re below forty five years of age. What a sign!

    The debauchery of the past Darwinian age is catching up to itself.

    Thank God!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: