Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy: Groaning to Be Set Free

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*Image: The Awakening Slave by Michelangelo, [Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, Italy

By Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap., The Catholic Thing, May 24, 2021

Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, a prolific writer and one of the most prominent living theologians, serves as a member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. His newest book is Jesus Becoming Jesus: A Theological Interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels.

 I’m grateful for the generosity you’ve shown this weekend, but in a way not surprised. If I had been reading the likes of Brad Miner and Fr Paul Scalia the past few days, I’d be feeling rather grateful myself. I hope those of you who still have not given may be moved by Fr. Weinandy’s equally inspiring reflections in today’s column. We’re now one whole week into this drive and almost halfway there. And we’re about ten days from our thirteenth anniversary (JUNE 2). It would be great if we could be done by then. That’s the challenge. Can you do your part to help us meet it? –Robert Royal

Michelangelo (1475-1564) was a sculptor, painter, architect, and poet. Although he lived to the fine old age of 88, he accepted more commissions than he could ever complete – even if he lived to be a hundred. He has, therefore, left behind some unfinished works, particularly his incomplete bound “slave” statues that were to adorn the tomb of Pope Julius II, also left unfinished.

I am sure that, at the onset, Michelangelo intended to complete them. When he realized that he would never accomplish what he set out to do, however, I believe that he purposely left them unfinished. Why would he intentionally do so? Michelangelo, I would argue, realized that these unfinished statues of the bound slaves simultaneously exemplified both a sculptural principle to which he adhered and to a theological truth that he believed. …

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