THE HOLY DOOR

The sign of the Holy Door, so outstanding a sign of the Jubilee, evokes the passage from sin to grace which every Christian is called to accomplish. More…

VIRTUAL JUBILEE 2016

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Certificate of Participation

People from all around the world can also participate to the Jubilee 2016 virtually and they will be given a Virtual Participation Certificate. We understand that some pilgrims will be unable to make the trip to Rome to participate to the Jubilee, for this reason The-Jubilee2016.com has therefore instituted a Virtual Participation Certificate to allow people from all around the world similar opportunities as regular pilgrims. More…

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DANTE ALIGHIERI

The poet of theologians

 

It was Cardinal Paul Poupard, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, that recalled Paul VI's appreciation for Dante Alighieri during a meeting in the Franciscan Cenacolo at the Church of Santa Croce in Florence on 17th March 2015 to commemorate the 750th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s birth and the fiftieth anniversary of the Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio written by Paul VI entitled Altissimi Cantus. It is no accident that this document was preceded by two letters, one written to the Archbishop of Ravenna and the other to the Archbishop of Florence, followed by Paul VI’s personal greeting to the directors and associates of the Dante Alighieri Society given at a General Audience in Rome on 21st January 1966.


Cardinal Poupard noted that Paul VI, just like his predecessor Benedict XV, believed that the beauty of Dante’s work consists in both the manifold way it brilliantly reveals truth, and in its use of a wide range of artistic devices. Paul VI even set up an endowed chair for Dante studies at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, emphasizing the “ecumenical” aspect of his work. Dante is a universal poet for all people and all times. In fact, his grandeur “embraces heaven and earth, eternity and time, the mystery of God and the affairs of men, both sacred and profane teaching, as well as the understanding made possible by divine revelation and the light of natural reason.” At the same time, Paul VI noted that the goal of the Divine Comedy is “preeminently practical and transformative,” the objective being to help man pass from disorder to wisdom, sin to holiness, misery to happiness.


Paul VI thus celebrates Dante as the poet of theologians and the theologian of poets, a “master of exalted lyricism” insofar as his subtlety of mind renders him a sharp theologian, the perfect guide within the sanctuary of poetry. A clear sign of Paul VI’s passion for Dante is the gift he gave to the conciliar Fathers at the Second Vatican Council: a special edition of the Divine Comedy.


In 1921 Benedict XV, paying tribute to Dante in his encyclical letter In praeclara summorum copia hominum, wrote, “who can deny that, at that time, the behavior of some members of the clergy was reprehensible, deeply disturbing to a soul as devoted to the Church as Dante’s?” In the encyclical the Pope offers Dante as an exemplary witness to the religious values that contribute to the promotion human learning and, consequently, how their absence from the formation of young people undermines their maturation and intellectual growth as well as their acquisition of civil virtue.


Benedict XV thus wishes Dante to be taken up as a teacher of Christian doctrine, both in the practice of the fine arts and in the development of virtue. In another passage of the encyclical, Benedict XV remarks that the greatest praise that can be given to Dante is that he was a “Christian poet,” in other words, “someone who sang Christian doctrine in an almost angelic voice; a doctrine whose beauty and splendor Dante contemplated with his entire soul.” Calling the Commedia the “Fifth Gospel,” Benedict XV declared that Dante is “the most eloquent bard to sing and announce Christian wisdom.”