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The Gates of Heaven

· The Essay ·

Writing rather as though it were a thriller, in Le porte del cielo. I giubilei e la misericordia (il Mulino, 2015) [The Gates of Heaven. Jubilees and Mercy], Lucetta Scaraffia retraces the history of jubilees – of very ancient origins – which became a practice in the Church with Boniface viii, prompted by the awareness that there was a need for a period of purification during which, through prayers and offerings, eternal salvation might be attained. What with sins and popes, authenticity and yearnings, felicitous inventions (such as the Holy Door) and lucrative tourism, relics and the meaning of confession, mercy and modern anguish, this essay ends up being a mirror of the history of the Church and her faithful over the centuries. Outstanding among the others is the chapter dedicated to the presence and participation of women in the Holy Years: because, as Scaraffia says, “the Jubilee does not mean the same thing to women as it does to men”. This is an important constant, all too often disregarded, in the history of Christianity. (@GiuliGaleotti)

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