Uccel di Giove (Jove’s bird ) is the Holy Roman Pontiff

Blessed be the man that trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence. And he shall be as a tree that is planted by the waters, that spreadeth out its roots towards moisture: and it shall not fear when the heat cometh. And the leaf thereof shall be green, and in the time of drought it shall not be solicitous, neither shall it cease at any time to bring forth fruit. Jeremias 17:7

Most commentators like Joan Ferrante claim that uccel di Giove ‘Jove’s bird’ (Pur.canto xxxii) is the Holy Roman Emperor. The better interpretation is that uccel di Giove is the Holy Roman Pontiff. It fits better with the whole theme of the poem, especially when looking at the Tree as representing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. If the Tree is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Jove’s bird (the one who descends on the Tree) is the Holy Roman Pontiff, then the only one allowed (tolerated by God) to change the Liturgy (for better or worse) is the Holy Roman Pontiff. The Liturgy is a spiritual matter and it is left up to the Pope, not the temporal authority to make any changes in the rubrics or prayers of the Mass. Regardless of the outcome for good or ill in changing the Mass, it is the popes office to do such things.So here is a better interpretation of the following canto:Stripping the Mass of most of it’s prayers by the Holy Roman Pontiff (bird of Jove):

As I beheld the bird of Jove descend
Down through the tree, rending away the bark,
As well as blossoms and the foliage new,
And he with all his might the chariot smote,
Whereat it reeled, like vessel in a tempest
Tossed by the waves, now starboard and now larboard.

This is Dante’s prophetic vision of Pope Paul VI (Jove’s bird) stripping the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Tree) of most of it’s prayers and ceremonies. The Tree is better interpreted as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because some medieval writers have compared the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to a tree. The prayers and ceremonies of the Mass are compared to a tree’s leaves, blossoms, bark and branches. When the leaves, blossoms, bark and branches are stripped from the tree, the tree is not capable of bearing fruit. This is why the Mass is compared to a tree, because when the prayers and ceremonies are stripped away from the Mass it is difficult for the faithful to bear spiritual fruit. Most of you who have attended the New Mass know this by experience. Who can say otherwise?

So I think the above is the better interpretation of Dante’s vision of Jove’s Bird. Hopefully this interpretation will become the only interpretation of the above. If so, then it would be difficult to destroy this interpretation. Better writers will expand on this, if it is true. Granted the above is taken from a few medieval writers from the 1600’s: Fr. Hill, Fr. Heighman and Fr. Puente. Maybe they were influenced by Dante, I don’t know. The comparisons of the Mass to a tree were found in works on the Mass and meditations on the Sunday Gospels


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