After 700 years, Divine Comedy still resonates: Pope

A bust and etching of Italian poet Dante Alighieri at the University of Bologna in Ravenna, Italy (CNS/Marco Bucco, Reuters via CNS)

In the run-up to next year’s 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, Pope Francis said he hoped people would read the Italian poet’s work, especially the Divine Comedy, which still resonates today. Source: Crux.

“Dante, in fact, invites us once again to rediscover the lost or clouded sense of our human journey,” he said during an audience at the Vatican on Saturday with a delegation from the Italian Archdiocese of Ravenna-Cervia.

Born in Florence in 1265, Dante played an essential role in Italian literature by writing in the vernacular, not Latin, making literature more accessible to the wider public.

His final work was the Divine Comedy, which imagines an allegorical journey through hell, purgatory and heaven and is considered one of the masterpieces of world literature. It was completed while he was in exile in Ravenna, where he died on September 13, 1321, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

The Pope, who has listed the Divine Comedy as one of his favourite works, said he hoped next year’s celebrations would “stimulate us to revisit his work so that, made aware of our condition as exiles, we allow ourselves to be motivated to that path of conversion.”

Dante’s work still resonates with people, especially when students have the opportunity “to approach Dante’s poetry in a way that is accessible to them.”

“This happens especially where the fascination of the true, the beautiful and the good, ultimately the fascination of God makes its powerful attraction felt.”

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Dante is prophet of hope along life’s journey, Pope says (Crux

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