Now the eagle or the multitude of just soul speak to Dante with one voice.
"Justice and piety
Raise me up here, where no desire for glory
Can e'er outrun the great reality."
(Canto XIX. 13-15)
The just and merciful rulers were raised by God to the degree of glory they now enjoy where it surpasses by far any earthly desire for glory.
Who understands Divine Justice? For example, some say, "Why must I suffer for what Adam and Eve did long ago?" Dante hoping to understand fully Divine Justice says:
"Well know I, if God's justice is beheld
Among these spheres in any mirror glassed,
Yours above all must gaze on it unveiled.
(Canto XIX. 28-30)
The just souls with one voice explain that God who traced the confines of creation, of all things visible and invisible, could not impress on one or all of his creatures his infinite understanding of justice. They explain,
"Such vision, then, as you on earth receive
Drowns in eternal Justice evermore,
Like sight in ocean, whelped beyond retrieves;
For while it sees the bottom near the shore;
In the great main no bottom's to be seen,
Though it is there; the deep has sealed it o'er."
Now the Eagle gives voice to a perplexity in Dante's mind. Take a man in India who does not know Christ but lived a good life and died unbaptized. Where is the justice which condemns this man for unbelief?
"O mind of earth! O clods! it ne'er could be
That Primal Will, good in Itself, should quit
Its very Self, of Good the A per se."
(Canto XIX. 85-87)
"The will of God, being just, cannot depart from justice; therefore man cannot ask whether the judgments of God are just but only whether a judgment is in conformity with the will of God; if it is, it is just." (Paradise, Penguin Classics notation) Recently Pope Benedict XVI has made the following statement: "Whoever seeks peace and the good of the community with a pure conscience, and keeps alive the desire for the transcendent, will be saved even if he lacks biblical faith." (Zenith.org)
Still we do not see where those who have not known Christ on earth fit within the heavenly scene of things. The voice of the just heaven rulers continues.
"None ever soared
To this high realm that had not faith in Christ
Ere He was nailed on tree, or afterward.
But see! full many shall cry aloud; Christ! Christ!
Who in the Last Day shall be sent to lodge
Further from Him than they who know not Christ."
(Canto XIX. 103-108)
What Dante is saying is that faith in Christ either before or after his coming is necessary to enter the "high realm" but the some who believed in Christ will be cast into Hell. The presumption today is that good pagans will share in the vision of God in the afterlife but to what degree will they have it? Will it be less than those who believed in Christ? Remember what Christ said, "In my Father's house there are may dwelling place." (Jn 14:2) The insistence of Christ that man must recognized as the Son of God makes a difference for the salvation of mankind.
The Eagle goes on uttering condemnation of the rulers of Dante's day.
Canto XX-Jupiter: The Eagle Eye, Divine Grace