Pope Francis, Mattarella pay tribute on Dante Day

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(ANSA) – ROME, MAR 25 – Pope Francis and President Sergio
Mattarella paid tribute on Thursday as Italy’s celebrated Dantedì – Dante Day – to mark the 700th anniversary of the death
of the author of The Divine Comedy.
    Pope Francis released an Apostolic Letter entitled “Candor lucis
aeternae” marking the anniversary, highlighting the relevance,
timelessness and depth of faith in The Divine Comedy.
    “At this particular moment in history, overclouded by situations
of profound inhumanity and a lack of confidence and prospects
for the future, the figure of Dante, prophet of hope and witness
to the human desire for happiness, can still provide us with
words and examples that encourage us on our journey,” the pope
    “Dante can help us to advance with serenity and courage on the
pilgrimage of life and faith that each of us is called to make,
until our hearts find true peace and true joy, until we arrive
at the ultimate goal of all humanity”:
The great poet died in Ravenna after being exiled from Florence
due to his political activities.
    “Dante gave a lesson of coherence for everyone, politicians
included, because you must not go against your conscience,”
Mattarella told Corriere della Sera.
    “And one of the most important parts of his legacy is the
dilemma between justice and compassion”.
    The ‘Supreme Poet’ will be celebrated across the country with
the highest-profile event being a televised reading of Canto XXV
of the Paradiso by comic actor, director and Dante buff Roberto
Benigni at the presidential Quirinal Palace at 19:10 in the
presence of Mattarella and Culture Minister Dario Franceschini.
    In the famed canto, Dante’s muse Beatrice vouches for the poet
and pilgrim’s possession of hope in redemption.
    March 25 was chosen as Dante Day as scholars believe it was on
this date that Italy’s greatest poet descended into Hell for the
first part of his epic journey through the Inferno, Purgatorio
and Paradiso.
    Later on Thursday Benigni will recite on Rai3 the iconic Paolo
and Francesca episode from Canto V of the Inferno, a tale of
forbidden love and honour killing that has inspired artists
including Rodin and Dante Gabriele Rossetti, as well as
countless musical interpretations.
    Dante as a pilgrim was so struck by the story of passionate love
that he fainted in Inferno, while Dante the philosopher and
religious thinker condemned the lovers for their adultery.


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Pope says Dante prophet of hope


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