The picture on the previous blog post (and I put it above as well) about the firing of the music teacher who publicly announced his fake marriage is from a manuscript of Dante’s Inferno. It depicts a scene in Canto XV where Dante and Virgil encounter Brunetto Latini, a former teacher of Dante’s who is consigned to eternal torment in hell for the grave sin of sodomy.
This Canto is a very poignant one, and presents Brunetto Latini’s many favorable characteristics and his positive influence on Dante. He is noble, he is wise, he is a sympathetic character. Dante addresses these words to him:
Within my memory is fixed-and nowmoves me-your dear, your kind paternal imagewhen, in the world above, from time to time
you taught me how man makes himself eternal;and while I live, my gratitude for thatmust always be apparent in my words.
And yet, at no point does either Dante or Latini rail against God for the sentence under which the teacher suffers. Nor does either defend sodomy as a lifestyle. In fact, part of the sympathy Latini’s character engenders comes from his acceptance of his sentence, which his behavior shows is justly imposed.
My point is that the behavior of sodomy, which scripture includes as one of the sins that “cry out to Heaven for vengeance,” is condemned because it contravenes the natural law and leads souls to hell. Any particular person who is tempted to this sin may have many outstanding qualities. In fact, his struggle against the force of this temptation may be truly heroic, especially since nearly everyone in society today would tell them that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the act. The duty of a Christian is to help them, not to encourage them to continue down a path that leads to temporal and eternal ruin. Charity must inform our actions towards these persons; but charity must be supported by the truth.