Italian Studies Director Serves on Vatican Dante Centenary Committee

Author: David Lummus


Dante Now 2017
Professor Cachey recites passages from Dante's Divine Comedy with students during Notre Dame's annual "Dante Now!" game-day celebration.

Ravarino Family Director of the Center for Italian Studies and Devers Family Program in Dante Studies, Professor Theodore Cachey, has been invited to sit on the scientific committee for the 2021 Dante centenary organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture.

For the seven-hundredth anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri (1321-2021), the Pontifical Council for Culture will celebrate the "profound link between the Poet and the Holy See and between his literary production and the Catholic Faith."

"Dante is ours! By ours, we mean, of the Catholic Faith" (Paul VI, Altissimi cantus).

Professor Cachey, who teaches Dante in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, is the sole representative of Dante Studies outside of Italy to participate in the deliberations of the planning committee, which includes scholarly representatives from universities across Italy and which is presided over by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi.

Professor Cachey says of his participation on the committee: "I am humbled by the honor of having been invited to join the committee. I hope that Notre Dame students and faculty, both here and at the Rome Global Gateway, will have the opportunity to participate in the Vatican commemorations of the Dante centenary."

The Center for Italian Studies and Devers Program in Dante Studies is also organizing a series of local, national, and international events to celebrate the Dante centenary. More information on Notre Dame's initiatives is available here. Dante has been at the heart of Italian Studies at Notre Dame since its very beginning.

Luca Signorelli, Dante (detail), part. affresco della cappella di San Brizio, Duomo, Orvieto.

The Council will sponsor exhibits, conferences, readings, and publications on Dante for the year 2021 and following. "The conference sponsored by the Pontifical Council of Culture," Prof. Cachey notes, "will be one of the most important of the worldwide events celebrating Dante and his Commedia scheduled for 2021. I am especially looking forward to what promises to be a landmark exhibition of rare codices of Dante’s works from the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana."

The Council publishes a newsletter in English, which provides regular updates on the Council's many initiatives. The Vatican Council for Culture was created by Pope John Paul II in 1982, "with the aim of establishing dialogue between the Church and the cultures of our time, so that they could open themselves up to the Christian faith, which is a creator of culture as well as a source of science, letters and the arts." In 1993, Pope John Paul II united it with the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-believers and, in 2012, Pope Benedict XVI united it with the Council the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Goods of the Church. More details on the Council and its mission can be found on its website.