Dante encounters pope Celestine who in his eyes opened the door of corruption for the
Catholic Church. The next element of the opposition of the papacy would be Dantes encounter with Count Guido De MonteFeltro. Guido explains to Dante about how he was brought back to his earlier sins.
The first element of corruption in the Catholic Church is displayed within the vestibule of hell. Here, Dante encounters the former pope Celestine who supposedly opened the door of corruption when he left the Papacy. Pope Celestine had not done any direct harm to the Catholic Church. He was a good man whose selfish actions led to the worst for his people, especially Dante. “
A humble man, Celestine felt unfit for the papacy and longed for the life of a monk, focusing on God alone. He was canonized in 1313.
However, his "refusal" of the papal crown led to the ascendancy of Benedetto Caetani,
Boniface VIII, a man whom Dante believed to be completely wicked and who was the
pope reigning during the fictional time of the
Divine Comedy (that is, at 1300). If
Celestine is indeed the person described here, Dante is interpreting his abdication as a cowardly act of selfishness, not the act of humility and devotion it is now believed to
have been” (Enright, Nancy). As a result of Celestine’s acts of self regard, Dante places him in his vision of hell along with the opportunists and the ones who take no side of good or evil. Dante recognizes this figure as a dark shadow, “Last of all, I recognized the shadow of that soul who in his cowardice, made the great denial.” (Alihgieri,55) This phrase represents that it was not Celestine who caused harm to the church directly.
However, his selfish and cowardly decision to abandon the papacy to Boniface opened the door for corruption within the Catholic Church. In all, it was Celestines actions that led to his life of pain and exile.
Dante Portrays Catholicism through scandals in the Papacy when he encounters
Pope St. Nicholas in Canto nineteen. Nicholas first mistook Dante as Boniface, “Are you there already Boniface? Are you there? He cried. By several years the writ has lied and all that gold and all that Care” ( Cite inferno). Given from this line, it can be concluded that Pope Nicholas expects Boniface to enter hell because of all the corrupted things that he has done that he has done throughout the Catholic Church. He explain his own sins in lines….“ Beneath my head are dragged, all who have gone before me in buying and selling holy office.” (Alihergi). In other words, Pope Nicholas illuminates that his committed sin that his committed sin of buying and selling holy office, led him into hell.
This sin portrays the Papacy