Shroud lore

Once upon a time I was in Chicago to address a Legatus chapter and I met a fine from from Skokie (I really enjoy writing Skokie!).  As I was saying, he is from Skokie.  You may I heard of this priest, or even heard this priest: Fr. Richard Simon, Pastor of St. Lambert Parish… in Skokie … and a host of Relevant Radio’s “Go ask your Father”. He has a blog called Reverend Know-It-All inspired by the alter ego of Bullwinkle J. Moose.  An inspiration for us all.

Fr. Simon has a post on his blog in which he engages a rabbi. In this post he mentions the Shroud of Turin and includes this tidbit which I did not know.

To me the most telling point about the Shroud is that it is covered by a certain kind of limestone dust. Richard Levi-Setti of the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago and Joseph Kohlbeck, Resident Scientist at the Hercules Aerospace Center in Utah, identified the dust as travertine aragonite limestone, having the exact same chemical signature as the limestone of the empty tomb of Christ in Jerusalem. That type of stone is unique in all the world. Anyone who has been to Jerusalem and seen that lovely pink-golden limestone glowing in the sunset knows it is unique. “Jerushalayim shel zahav… Jerusalem is golden….”

Some time ago, I posted a POLL about the Shroud.  The overwhelming number of votes were in favor of authenticity.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Legisperitus says:

    Yet another puzzle piece falling right where it should. Every piece of accumulated scientific evidence seems to be in favor of the Shroud’s authenticity, and the amount of evidence is overwhelming. Yet all we continue to hear about from secular sources, if anything, is the 1988 carbon-dating fiasco, with no mention of the fact that it has been completely invalidated.

  2. Faith says:

    I’d be more convinced if the early writings of the apostles mentioned it. They don’t. Yet, they’re so meticulous about everything else.

  3. Sissy says:

    As an historian of the ancient Mediterranean littoral, I have studied this subject with great interest. I am convinced that the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of this being the actual shroud. Faith, you might be interested in the conclusions of Dr. Frank Tipler who did an analysis of the DNA on both the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo. He was converted to the faith as a result of his studies. There are many things the writings of the apostles don’t mention, as explicitly confirmed by St. John himself!

  4. Katheryn says:

    First of all, I LOVE Fr. Simon. One day, i will make it out to St. Lamberts… He and Fr.Z are my favorites to read!
    Secondly, I wonder if the DNA testing from the Shroud has been compared to any of the Eucharistic Miracle samples (the one from Brazil comes to mind). Perhaps if the results are consistent, it would be an even greater boon to the authenticity.

  5. Sissy says:

    Katheryn: I totally agree on Fr. Simon. He is a real gen. His essay on the Hootenanny Mass is hilarious and sad at the same time.

    I’m not aware of any comparisons that have been done along the lines you suggest. Here is a link to an Anglican site that reviewed Dr. Tipler’s book “Physics of Christianity”. Dr. Tipler holds the chairs in both physics and mathematics at Tulane. He is a highly-respected genius in both fields.

  6. Jim says:

    Speaking of Fr. Richard Simon, if there is anyone here who hasn’t read Fr’s “A short history of the Hootenanny Mass & other absurdities”, you should:
    A short history of the Hootenanny Mass & other absurdities

  7. Phil_NL says:

    “blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed”

    I always feel a tad uneasy with objects like the Shroud. On the one hand, it’s clearly not the habit of God to shower us with miracles and (other) proof; faith requires belief too. On the other hand, God, in his mercy, won’t leave us unaided, and perhaps this aide for us men can come in the form of a relic like the Shroud.

    The problem is, that too much of a fixation on those supposed aides may backfire if some of those relics are from a different origin – and plenty of them probably are forgeries. To me, the tiresome debates about authenticity outweigh any benefits – but that might be me.

    That said, chances are I’ll find myself near Turin in the not so distant future, in which case I won’t hesitate to visit the Shroud, should there be an exposition.

  8. norancor says:

    There is also pollen common to first century Palastine woven into the individual fibers of the cloth as well, that would have been impossible to insert ex post facto.

  9. Late for heaven says:

    What sends a chill down my spine is the finding that the Shroud is a hologram. I’m pretty sure there is no way that technology was available in the middle ages.

  10. lelnet says:

    Well, evidence for its authenticity keeps appearing on more and more advanced sorts of scientific tests. Tests which modern science shows to be quite useful, but which are based on principles utterly unknown and unanticipated at the time when the forgery (if it were a forgery) would have been committed. This, to my mind, argues against forgery.

    If, on the other hand, the shroud’s authenticity were to be disproven, it’s not like it would cause me to doubt God. I already know that the world contains many liars, and many products of their frauds. The shroud didn’t bring me to God, and nothing I might learn about it would change anything except to resolve what has been an interesting mystery for contemplation.

  11. Legisperitus says:

    Katheryn: I’m pretty sure I read that the blood type is AB positive and corresponds to test results from Eucharistic miracles. Can’t point to anything right now, though.

    It’s a no-lose scenario for us because our Faith doesn’t depend upon the authenticity of a relic. But if it is genuine, it may present a threat to the beliefs of many atheists.

  12. bohannons says:

    Our Good Lord gives us what we need in every age. Just as our culture begins to use scientific proofs as a way to discredit His very existence we are given this Shroud that science is unable to explain away. Apart from faith there is no way to explain the three dimensional image as well as all of the ancillary evidence such as the linen type, pollen, limestone dust. And yes blood typing has matched the shroud with confirmed Eucharistic Miracles. I don’t believe because of the Shroud or other externals but I do thank God for such edification.

  13. Faith says: I’d be more convinced if the early writings of the apostles mentioned it. They don’t. Yet, they’re so meticulous about everything else.

    John 20 contains a post-Resurrection mention of the shroud and the napkin over Jesus’ face (probably the Sudarion), and it seems improbable that the same Christians who prized the Apostle Paul’s handkerchiefs so highly did not also preserve these relics. But perhaps they were discreet about certain things, to keep them out of the hands of persecutors and other dubious characters.

  14. P.S. Remember that the end of John’s Gospel says that Jesus did many more things than are recorded; otherwise, the world itself could not contain all the books that would then be written.

  15. ghp95134 says:

    Father Know-It-All’s intro ought to be modified:

    No doubt about it, I’ve got to get another biretta!

  16. Gail F says:

    The Reverend Know-it-All blog is FANTASTIC. Google it and read it, if you’ve never seen it!

  17. Gail F says:

    if you know anything at all about medieval art, the Shroud seems likely to be real just because it is nothing at all like medieval art. The face veil that is supposedly made from mussel silk LOOKS like a medieval painting. Christ’s nose is even crooked! But this looks nothing at all like medieval painting. Medieval people would never have made the effort to make the thing look so realistic. They didn’t value photo realism the way we do. If they made it from an actual person’s body in some way, that would be different. But no one can figure out how they did that, if they did.

  18. q7swallows says:

    Being curious to see a sample of this stone, I researched it and discovered this cool info on a mineral website: “some calcite and aragonite specimens are fluorescent in ultraviolet light.” So, how it–in its turn–must have lit up at the Resurrection!

  19. Horatius says:

    Also, the evidence of the cloth itself is strong for authenticity. I do not have the reference at hand.

    I always balk at the Medieval fake pseudo-explanation. I would love to know why the image is obvious only in the photographic negative, and why nothing in the style of the image, lifelike in the smallest detail, appears in any Medieval art portraying Christ in any country.

  20. Sissy says:

    Horatius: there is a great deal of evidence for both the fibers from which the cloth is woven and the pattern of the weave both being from Judea in the 1st C A. D. . In fact, of all the various modern studies, not one has pointed in any direction other than authenticity. We cannot say it is the shroud of Jesus. But we can say that it is a shroud, woven in Judea during the 1st C AD, that was the burial cloth for a man who was scourged and crucified while wearing a crown of thorns. He had the same blood type of the man whose blood is on the Sudarium of Oviedo, and the blood stains on each relic match up perfectly. The image on the Shroud of Turin is a photographic image, made by an intense flash of light. No historian, physicist, or artist can explain how the image was created 1800 years before photography was invented.

  21. mrsschiavolin says:

    I find this side of Catholicism very difficult to accept and am glad the faith doesn’t require it of me.

  22. Mariana says:

    I enjoy reading qualified information about the Shroud, but am also happy that I’m not required to believe in it, as I, like Phil-NL do think “…it’s clearly not the habit of God to shower us with miracles and (other) proof; faith requires belief too…”

    If the Shroud is authentic wouldn’t all Christians want to leave all and be close to it always and move to Turin?

    I’d be grateful for links to sites that readers here find dependable re this!

  23. Sissy says:

    Mariana said: “If the Shroud is authentic wouldn’t all Christians want to leave all and be close to it always and move to Turin?”

    Jesus is right here with me, so I don’t need to move to Turin (although I wouldn’t mind!). I get to be with him anytime I want. Here’s a place to start if you want more information; STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) has been a clearinghouse for scientific studies of the Shroud since the 1970s:

  24. Mariana says:


  25. Mariana says:

    Should have added, I have Lutheran friends who believe the Shroud is real and are greatly comforted by that, I hope it will lead many to the Catholic Church!

  26. acardnal says:

    Mariana, Jesus is right there in your neighborhood parish’s tabernacle! One cannot be any closer to Jesus than in the Blessed Sacrament . . . body, blood, soul and divinity. Jesus is on earth now in a very real and substantial manner!

  27. acardnal says:

    Also, a collection of three scientific documentaries on the shroud is available on this dvd:

    The Shroud of Turin: 3 Film Collector’s Edition from Amazon.

  28. Sissy says:

    Mariana: your very welcome! You’ll find plenty there to keep you busy. It’s fascinating.

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