Teenagers, he said, feel a “surprising resonance” with the masterpiece

Pope Francis said October 10 that the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri should inspire people to rediscover the Italian poet’s Divine Comedy.

The Pope made the remark in an address to a delegation from the Italian Archdiocese of Ravenna-Cervia, in which he announced that he was preparing “a more extensive reflection” on the leading poet of the late Middle Ages to be released next year.

Dante died in exile in Ravenna, northern Italy, in 1321, after completing the Divine Comedy, a long poem which describes the poet’s journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven.

The Pope noted that “Teenagers, for instance — even those of today — if they have the opportunity to encounter Dante’s poetry in a way that is accessible to them, find on the one hand, inevitably, a great distance from the author and his world, and yet, on the other, they perceive a surprising resonance.”

He continued: “This happens especially where allegory leaves space for the symbol, where the human being appears most evident and exposed, where civil passion vibrates most intensely, where the fascination of that which is true, beautiful, and good, ultimately the fascination of God, makes its powerful attraction felt.”

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