“Dante learns a great many things about the metaphysical world, but this blog post is mostly concerned with the temperature of the 9th circle of hell. For those who haven’t read it, this circle is not a fire pit with little devils poking bare-bummed sinners with pitch forks. It’s frozen solid, and at the very epicenter, Satan is frozen mid-waist, eternally munching on Brutus, Cassius, and Judas in his three mouths. It’s pretty gruesome but not unlike what’s going on in San Francisco this winter.” [. . .] —Snotting Black, January 15, 2013
“But some Catholics and evangelicals say they know of an even greater crime — the deliberate killing of untold millions of unborn babies by abortion. They have determined that a fetus is a person and abortion is therefore murder. This is a crime of such magnitude that some Catholic bishops are trying to deny the reception of Holy Communion by the president of the United States for not working to prevent it.
“No one told Dante that this was the worst crime, or he would have put abortionists, not Judas, in the deepest frozen depths of his Inferno. But in fact he does not put abortionists anywhere in the eight fiery tiers above the deepest one of his Hell.” [. . .] –Garry Wills, “The Bishops Are Wrong About Biden—and Abortion,” New York Times (June 27, 2021)
Read the rest of Wills’s opinion piece at the New York Times.
See also this response to Wills’s essay in The National Review, which includes an extended discussion of Dante and his era.
Contributed by Hilary Barnes (Widener University)