Interesting article about the Shroud of Turin

CNA has a cool Shroud article.

A detail I did not know:

[W]e know that the blood contacted the shroud before the body “because there’s no image beneath the shroud.”


Pope Benedict has announced that the Shroud will be open for public viewing in 2010 and that he is planning to visit the image at some point during its exposition.

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  1. Luke says:

    The mystery of the Shroud seems to point to the reality of the awesome
    Resurrection of our Savior. What science can’t explain based on what’s
    known could very well be from the only One who’s known death and realized
    Bodily Glory afterward. I’ve always found meditation difficult or impossible,
    but this article on the Shroud brought a flood of images of the Passion along
    with it. I recommend reading the article. The Shroud takes on a new beauty
    against the description of the copy as “grotesque.” I’m not sure how we could
    authenticate it, but I know that we can’t understand it in a natural light. Thanks, Father!

  2. mpm says:

    I first heard Dr. Jackson speak about the results of the scientific tests (which he and his team performed) on the Shroud in a 1978 RAI documentary. One of the facts they learned at that time was that there were spores in the Shroud which originated in Palestine (flora), and carbon-dated to the 1st Century.

    Since then scientists have determined that the image is not formed (as the article points out) by pigment mixed into the fibers. A similar discovery was made by scientists with respect to the Tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    Also, the carbon-dating of the 1990s was accepted as flawed by one of the heads of the prestigious US carbon-dating labs, who dying of cancer, spent his last year re-examining the evidence in the light of objections which had been published, and came to agree with the reasons given for the flaw. This man was not a Catholic, just a hard-headed scientist.

    So, there is an expectation now that sometime in the near future new samples, untainted with threads from the middle ages will be used to conduct new tests.

    Interestingly, the Church has never “authenticated” the Shroud (or anything else that I am aware besides Sacred Scripture and the Saints), it is science that feels the need to authenticate or debunk (usually on the side of the latter, though the more they actually know, the less inclined they are to debunk it). One of the members of Jackson’s original team, the head of their photographic efforts, is Jewish, and it is very interesting to hear him talk about the various things science has not been able to explain about the Shroud. He has no skin in the Christian game.

    On the art-history front, there is a “view” that a certain iconic tradition of Christ’s face, is due to an image called the Holy Face of Edessa (because it was kept there for centuries). Some think that the Holy Face may have been the folded-up Shroud, with just the face visible inside some reliquary. That image was removed by Crusaders in the middle ages, and hasn’t been seen as such again. Some time later, the Shroud as such appears in France. The “theory” reflects the fact that in many ancient images of Christ’s face the facial structure and features are quite similar, and they are all similar to the face on the Shroud.

  3. maynardus says:

    I didn’t know that either (I presume the author meant to write “…there’s no image beneath the blood“).

    My own faith doesn’t stand or fall based upon the authenticity of the Shroud, or the image of Guadaloupe, but on balance I think the scientific community’s inability to explain or reproduce these items should be reassuring to the believer and disturbing to the non-believer.

    To accept the premise that the Shroud is a Medieval forgery is to suspend disbelief. This bit about the blood only adds to what is already known. To believe that this unknown forger, using an unknown technique, not only used human blood as described (centuries before any significant science of haemotology existed) but had the presence of mind and the artistic skill to apply it to his cloth before imprinting the image is just too much for even a schoolchild to accept.

    Keep at it, scientists. Perhaps you will eventually uncover the Truth!

  4. mpm says:

    I often wonder if after a century of testing, or so, scientists will actually be “inspired” by some of what the learn from the Shroud and/or the Tilma, to propose some important theory or discovery for the benefit of mankind.

    Fr. Stanley Jaki’s frequently-made argument about the bases for the modern scientific project reaching man from Revelation, especially the dogma of Creation ex nihilo and in tempore (in spite of what scientists who are not philosophically realist say about that project).

    Of course, alongside whatever it may do for their personal spiritual lives!

  5. ssoldie says:

    In the milliniam year of 2000 was the last time the Shroud of Turin was displayed, now 2010 it will be displayed again, also the Passion Play at Oberammago, 2000, 2010. I was privileged to have been able to be at both.

  6. ar_danziger says:

    If anyone happens to be in SoCal, the Shroud Center in Fountain Valley, CA is definitely worth a visit:

    It’s only about the size of a small dentist’s office, but it’s jam-packed full of information, research, photos and artwork, plus life-size replica displays of both the shroud and the sudarium. After seeing the evidence gathered across several fields of study, the medieval forgery idea goes right out the window :)

  7. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I believe that Jesus was God incarnate, was crucified, died buried and rose again.

    I believe that after the Apostles (except John) abandoned him at Gethsemane, they >must< have witnessed the resurrected Christ for them to go throughout the world and suffer ever indignation for the sake of the Gospel.

    Whether the Shroud of Turin is the True Shroud or a mere artwork means little, if anything, to me.

  8. thepapalbull says:

    “but on balance I think the scientific community’s inability to explain or reproduce these items should be reassuring to the believer and disturbing to the non-believer.”

    Just yesterday Fox News posted a story of a successful reproduction of the shroud using medieval techniques. Interesting coincidence on the timing…

  9. maynardus says:

    papalbull et al:

    The (linked) CNA article was actually about that purported “reproduction” but it includes specific criticism from various scientists and sindonologists. Even if science is able to duplicate the image using 21st century technology that would tend to further disprove the notion of it being a Medieval forgery.

    We should not underestimate how many people are moved toward Christ by the Shroud, the image of O.L. of Guardalupe, etc. Every time there’s some coverage on t.v. of these items I’m invariably approached the next day by at least one co-worker: “hey, you’re, like, a practicing Catholic, right? What’s up with this thing?” The notion that “science-cannot-explain-it” can be a real pique to one who has long since accepted the modern view of virtually everything.

  10. Sleepyhead says:

    The previous postings didn’t include a link…

  11. Mitchell NY says:

    Interesting point about science or no one else for that matter has been able to produce a replica…Seems science can expalin it as not what many believe but can not tell us what it is. I put my faith in believing its’ authenticity, until they can produce one.

  12. trespinos says:

    No, of course our faith doesn’t depend in any way on the Shroud’s authenticity. But since the overwhelming evidence is that it does constitute a not-made-by-human-hands relic which, providentially, through all kinds of hard scientific investigation, speaks to the 21st century man about the crucified and risen One, I would have no problem with the Holy Father taking the exposition in 2010 as the appropriate time to accord the Shroud additional honor as chief of relics, verily the historical shroud of the Lord Jesus and a fifth Gospel. Let scoffers break their heads over what level of assent each Catholic would then be expected to give; the evidence is sufficient, let the faithful profit spiritually by study and veneration.

  13. jaykay says:

    What is almost as fascinating is the Sudarium of Oviedo (a city in northern Spain) for which it would appear there´s a good case to be made that it was the cloth wrapped around the head of the man in the shroud. The blood stains match (type AB) and some of the pollen spores found on it are from Palestine, as with the shroud. I found out all this from a very detailed website by a man called Mark Guscin, which is (hope you don´t mind links to another website, Fr. ?)

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