Monday, July 1, 2013

Dante's Circles of Hell for Today

First, a confession.

I have not read all of Dante's Inferno.

I've read a few parts of it - but not the entire poem. Mea culpa.

I'm sure there's a Circle of Hell for folks like me. Maybe one where I'll have nothing to read except bad romance novels.

Still, I have enough familiarity with the poem that I can fake my way through writing about it, and, specifically, the circles.

I know there are circles devoted to various groupings of sins - lust, greed, heresy, treachery, etc. But I must admit my ignorance of whether there are specific punishments doled out for some contemporary sins. (More than likely there are - at least indirectly. And some sins are not new.)

What is the punishment for celebrities who live with and even reproduce with people to whom the are not married, and who openly celebrate their choice? The Jessica Simpsons and Kanye Wests of the world have enough money to help compensate materially for their sins, but what about all the young men and women they help to delude and inspire?

Maybe they would have to watch reruns of the once supposedly Christian Simpson's Newlywed reality show. Oh, and eat chicken out of a can.

Then there are the Catholic politicians who betray their faith on issues like birth control, abortion, and homosexual so-called marriage. Yeah, there are Biden, Pelosi, Gillebrand and others, but I'm thinking right now of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo - and he's a two-fer, promoting non-Catholic beliefs on these issues, and living with his girlfriend. Maybe he'll suffer punishment in two circles! How about he has to watch Sandra Lee being forced to cook using only chicken from a can. As for the other betrayers of their faith, maybe they'd have to eat whatever she produces.

And what about the providers and supporters of abortion? Not only the political types, but anyone involved with organizations like Catholics for a Free Choice; the parents who help their daughters get abortions so a baby won't interfere with prom or college plans, then show up in the Communion line; anyone involved with or donating money to Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and so on. To borrow a page from Jonathan Swift, maybe they'd have to spend eternity eating a Sandra Lee ragout made entirely from "products of conception."

(Yeah, I know, gross. But so is what they support.)

I could go on. Maybe if we made the punishments more "understandable" for contemporary folks, even for sins that have been with us since The Fall, they might think twice.

As for me, I'm going to finish reading the The Inferno.

I don't want to get stuck reading those bad romance novels for all eternity.

Pax et bonum

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