On the occasion of the 7th centenary of the death of Dante Alighieri (1321-2021), the Pontifical Council for Culture, aware of the profound link between the Poet and the Holy See and between his literary production and the Catholic Faith, has set up a scientific-organizational committee to express the Holy See's desire to honour the memory of the Sommo Poeta, the most eloquent herald of Christian thought (Benedict XV, In Praeclara Summorum), and to explore this person and his work in the religious and spiritual dimension.
This privileged relationship of the Poet with the Church, "Most Holy Mother", is expressed in the mutual belonging, highlighted by the Magisterium: "Our is Dante! By ours, we mean, of the Catholic Faith" (Paul VI, Altissimi cantus).
The universality of the Church operating in history, exalted in Dante's writings, is accompanied by the universality of the poet in the ultimate and fundamental questions that he poses on the meaning of existence, the human tendency as viator toward the truth, the constant search in which the poet elaborates the spiritual and personal experience of the encounter with God, "necessary to all in all times" (G. Ravasi).
Dante's topicality today is vital for an articulated philosophical and theological reflection on the great themes, for the spirit of scientific and spiritual research, for the acute and profound observation of humanity, in a deep and concrete anthropological path that is capable of touching every man and woman of every time so much so that "in him briefly the divine and human things seemed to be stopped" (G. Boccaccio, Trattatello, c. VIII).
The centenary of Dante in 2021 thus becomes a new opportunity for a dialogue of broad anthropological and theological scope in the cultural world, not limited to Catholicism. Such a quest admires the expressive power of the Poet and thereby views the sincere search of human persons with their experiences, aspirations and contradictions, starting from the mystery of our freedom and our constitutive being of and in relation to others, putting "existence in order" (R. Guardini).
Aware of the extent to which faith was a source for Dante's inspiration, the Pontifical Council for Culture with its Committee is committed to promoting an articulated path of study, scientific research and documentation through publications and public initiatives for a broad project of dissemination and communication of Dante and his literary production on the 7th anniversary of his death.
This path in synergy with international cultural institutions and bodies aims to know and make him known as "a prophet of hope, a herald of humanity’s possible redemption and liberation, of profound change in every man and woman, of all of humanity. He invites us to regain the lost and obscured meaning of our human journey and to hope to see again the bright horizon which shines in the full dignity of the human person" beyond the dark woods of life (Francis, Message).
S. Em. Rev.ma il Cardinale Gianfranco Ravasi
S. Ecc.za Rev.ma Mons. José Tolentino de Mendonça, Archivista e Bibliotecario di Santa Romana Chiesa
S. Ecc.za Rev.ma Mons. Domenico Pompili, Commissione Cultura Conferenza Episcopale Italiana
Prof. Luca Azzetta, Università degli Studi di Firenze
Mons. Marco Ballarini, Prefetto della Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Prof. Theodore J. Cachey jr, Notre Dame USA Centro Studi Danteschi
Prof. Albertina Cortese, Centro Scaligero Studi Danteschi
Prof. Giuseppe Frasso, Università Cattolica di Milano
Mons. Pasquale Iacobone, Segretario della Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra
P. Ivo Laurentini, Direttore del Centro Dantesco di Ravenna
Prof. Claudio Marazzini, Presidente dell’Accademia della Crusca
Prof. Emilio Pasquini, Emerito Università degli Studi di Bologna
Prof. Luca Serianni, Emerito Università Sapienza di Roma
Secretary: Fr. Antonio Appella