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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

PEWS Can Grow Longer

A confession (ha!): I don’t know much about the cardinal virtues. I do know a fair bit about the seven deadly sins. This helpful mnemonic will help you to remember them in the proper order. From really, really, really bad to just really bad:


I studied the Divine Comedy in university, as did everyone who went to my school (it’s required reading for all students). At that time, the course was taught by Father Robert Crouse. An Italian-poetry scholar might be able to confirm this, but I seem to recall that he is, or was, the world expert on the Divine Comedy.

I don’t recommend the Paradiso. Everyone is happy, so it is pretty boring.

If you are into hopeful pain and suffering, the Purgatorio is the book for you. I wrote my research paper about this book – it is nicely divided into sections of misery, from people with giant stones on their backs to people with their eyes sewn shut, to people standing in a wall of fire. You can’t negotiate your way out of having to go through the wall. Nice try, sucker.

If you are a slow reader, you will probably get stuck in the Inferno. (Ha! Ha!) The question is whether you get stuck in the mud (glutton!) or in a desert of burning sand (sodomite!).

One of the students in my year was asked during the oral exams why Dante needed St. Bernard to help him get into heaven. The urban myth was that the student’s response was “Because all dogs go to heaven”. I, of course, rushed to consult my notes, and learned that it is because you need the eyes of a saint to get into heaven. I remember this much more clearly than I remember any of my classes in Canadian history.