L’AQUILA – “The Pope’s visit Francis in L’Aquila could affirm and consolidate the profound meaning, for the present and for the future, of Celestinian forgiveness, no longer as a worldly event, but as a moment of encounter, on a planetary level, of the great secular and religious spiritual guides, the great cultural personalities, capable of reflecting on the universal meaning of forgiveness “.

It is the suggestion in the form of a concrete proposal, of Umberto Dante74 years old, Roman by origin and L’Aquila by adoption, former professor of history at the University of L’Aquila and Sapienza in Rome, former president of Iasric, the Abruzzo Institute for the history of resistance and contemporary Italy, which essays dedicated to the history of Abruzzo and beyond, in particular focused on the 1900s, with eclectic forays into the world of cinema, media and artistic expression.

Abruzzoweb ​​asked him for the fourth interview in the series dedicated to the constellation of meanings of Pope Francis’ visit scheduled for August 28, on the occasion of the Celestinian Forgiveness, in its most intense and solemn moment, the opening and crossing of the Holy Door of the basilica of Collemaggio, for obtaining forgiveness from sins. A visit that has the authoritative cardinal among the main architects Giuseppe PetrocchiMetropolitan Archbishop of L’Aquila.

Epochal event because before now no pope has participated in the Perdonanza, established in September 1294, as the first true jubilee in history, by the Molise hermit Pietro Angelerio pope for only four months, from August to December 1294, to then do “per viltade the great refusal”, to use the immortal words of Dante Alighieri in the third canto of Hell. A choice that Celestino V motivated “for the humility and weakness of my body and the malice of the Plebs, in order to recover the lost tranquility with the consolation of former life”.

Umberto Dante in the interview, first of all believes that “without prejudice to the great historical and religious personality of Celestino v, it is necessary to go further, not only look at the medieval past, and its re-enactment, but above all at the present, and the fulcrum must be in my opinion, the universal value of forgiveness, which is more relevant than ever, in a world experiencing the threat of nuclear war, of the global clash between superpowers, with Russia of Valdimir Putin which explicitly states that the West is decomposing and that it is a perverse world, an attack to which the West is called in some way to respond ”.

The presence of Pope Bergoglio could consolidate and affirm precisely this perspective.

“Pope Francis is a great personality of the contemporary world. He is a pontiff who is open to other religions and to dialogue between different faiths. We have all seen it, just a few days ago, with the native Canadian headdress, an immense gesture, asking for forgiveness for the historical sins of Europe and the Catholic Church that invaded, colonized and bloodied those lands. Personally, seeing the pontiff with feathers, first I smiled, then I was almost moved. A gesture that fully embodies the Celestinian message. Bergoglio is also a Jesuit, who rose to the papal throne and gave himself the name of Francis, the poor man of Assisi. This is also a choice of no small importance, one of reconciliation, given the frequent conflicts, especially in his South America, between the Jesuit order and that of the Franciscans ”.

Coming therefore to the meaning of forgiveness, the historian observes, “on it L’Aquila and its Perdonanza can become a great point of reference. But it is necessary to go beyond the worldly and folkloristic dimension of this anniversary. We can say that fewer singers and dancers, VIPs and well-known faces, and more figures, elevated to protagonists, who each embody in their own way a holiness, a strong spirituality, as was for example Maria Theresa of Calcutta, and more personalities, would be needed. religious, culture, philosophy and science “.

“And I want to insist on the concept of holiness – continues Dante -: in the Middle Ages it also assumed a great unifying, social and political value, from the year 1000 to the fourteenth century, therefore also at the time of the birth and affirmation of L’Aquila as one of the most important cities of Europe. Suffice it to mention three saints, Celestine himself, who instituted the first jubilee in history, exalting the value of reconciliation and pacification, Saint Francis of AssisiIt is no coincidence that the patron saint of Italy, Giovanna D’Arco, one of the landmarks of France and Europe. But it could also be added San Bernardino of Siena, co-patron of L’Aquila, for his extraordinary preaching ability to make himself heard and understood even by the humblest people. Also in this case an exercise of unification of torn social contexts “.

Forgiveness, however, the new “claim” of forgiveness imagined by Professor Dante, is certainly not an easy spiritual exercise.

“Let’s look at the news of the last few days, at the 16-month-old girl who died because she was abandoned for six days at home by her mother, who had joined her partner in a village in the Bergamo area. How can such a thing be forgiven? The greater the inhumanity, the wickedness, the brutality, the more difficult forgiveness becomes. Yet what other way, alternative to an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, to revenge, hatred and war, can we take to create a more human, livable and peaceful world? “.