Monday, May 19, 2014

St. Peter Celestine and Dante on the responsibility of high office

Fr. Z:
Dante, in his Divine Comedy, in Inferno 3, places in hell someone whom we think may be Peter Celestine V. Dante calls him “the shade of him who in his cowardice made the great refusal”. ”The great refusal” being the rejection of the highest office to which one might ascend in this world, with all the duties and responsibilities and implications for the bonds of society that that office carries.

Remember that the
Divine Comedy is about, among other things, the interrelationship of the secular and the sacred. Dante was writing political theory in the Divine Comedy. His Hell is constructed to reflect the ways in which people harm not just themselves, but also the bonds of society. Dante would have hated Peter Celestine’s abdication also because he opened the way for Dante’s great enemy Boniface VIII, whom he detested.
Cf. Hilary here. He's still Benedict the Great in my book, but.

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