Paradiso Canto 32




Tom Hibbs is the J. Newton Rayzor Sr. Professor of Philosophy at Baylor University. His research is on Thomas Aquinas, the philosophy of religion, Medieval philosophy, and ethcis, and he is the author of Wagering on an Ironic God: Pascal on Faith and Philosophy and Virtue’s Splendor: Wisdom, Prudence, and the Human Good.

Questions for Reflection

  • Note that Bernard is completely absorbed in his delighted contemplation, and yet he still manages to teach Dante. What does this say about the nature of contemplation?
  • Why does Dante quote Psalm 51 here at the conclusion of Paradiso in line 12: “Miserere mei”? How does this take us back to the Pilgrim’s first words to Virgil in Inferno 1? How is the mercy Dante is asking for here differ from the mercy he needed in Inferno?
  • Why would the celestial rose hold those babies who died before they could exercise free choice? What enables them to be saved (32.42-45)? How does this reflect back to Inferno 4’s unbaptized babies in Limbo? How does the contrast between the Empyrean and Limbo here indict the Church’s failure to fulfill its vocation?
  • What role does Mary play in this canto? How is Dante to gain grace (32.147)?


  • Dr. Tom Hibbs
  • Baylor University
  • Run Time 7:59