When I noted that some in his day were said to have viewed Dante as a magician (the original question was how was he viewed in his day), I was not suggesting that he viewed himself that way. He was very obviously a follower of the same religion as everyone immediately around him even if he was uneasy about having to condemn people like Virgil, a person more worthy of respect than the popes of his own day, to some sort of hell. Dante's poem is profoundly influenced by the religion he was taught growing up. He was such a powerful artist that he made visions of hell much more vivid for many millions who followed, yet hell is not what his poem about. It was about rising above all of that. I agree with that completely.
I am in an unusual situation in that I am working on a vast spiritual project (the equivalent of 20,000,000 words if what they say about pictures is true) which is to serve as a sort of bookend to Dante's work when it is done, but I am not a Catholic. I am only interested in Spirit and God, not names or religions. There is symmetry in the fact that my inner guide and teacher is Dostoevsky.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]