Non-Fiction: The Vatican Prophecies Available September 15

September 2, 2015 2 comments

It looks like there are a twenty of more pages on the Shroud of Turin

imageThe Vatican Prophecies: Investigating Supernatural Signs, Apparitions, and Miracles in the Modern Age  by John Thavis (Author of The Vatican Diaries)

The Chapters:

      Introduction: At the Crossroads of Reason and Wonder

  1. A Piece of Holiness
  2. Mother of God
  3. The Sacred Image
  4. Full of the Devil
  5. The Miracle Trail
  6. Prophecies, End Times and Alien Saviors
    Editions at Amazon:
  • Kindle $14.99  Read with Our Free App
  • Hardcover $17.29
  • Audio CD $34.95

“The process by which these supernatural events are authenticated is expertly told by John Thavis, one of the world’s leading Vaticanologists. In fact, that a book on so secretive and complex a topic is so deeply researched, beautifully written, and artfully told is something of a small miracle itself.”—James Martin, S.J., author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Vatican Diaries, a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at how the Vatican investigates claims of miraculous events

Apocalyptic prophecies and miraculous apparitions are headline-grabbing events that often put the Catholic Church’s concept of “rational faith” at odds with the passion of its more zealous followers. To some, these claims teeter on the edge of absurdity. Others see them as evidence of a private connection with God. For the Vatican, the issue is much more nuanced as each supposed miraculous event could have serious theological and political consequences. In response, the Vatican has developed a highly secretive and complex evaluation system to judge the authenticity of supernatural phenomena.

Former journalist John Thavis uses his thirty years’ experience covering the Vatican to shed light on this little-known process, revealing deep internal debates on the power of religious relics, private revelations, exorcisms, and more. Enlightening and accessible to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, the book illustrates the Church’s struggle to balance the tension between traditional beliefs and contemporary skepticism.

Pre-Release Editorial Reviews:

“Thavis’s second book is a lively, far-reaching exploration of the paranormal aspects of the Catholic faith, investigating both the role that such phenomena play in the lives of parishioners and the official stance of the institutional church . . . . [The Vatican Prophecies] is an engaging introduction.”   —Kirkus Reviews

“This engaging overview of contemporary supernatural occurrences is filled with stories and case studies. Catholics and those interested in Christian history will appreciate this exploration of the efforts to balance modern rationalism with traditional devotional practices.” —Library Journal 

About the Author:

imageJohn Thavis is the prizewinning former Rome bureau chief of the Catholic News Service. He has written extensively on religious issues in Europe and the Middle East, has lectured on Vatican affairs in the United States and Europe, and has won awards for his firsthand reporting on the war in the Balkans. In addition to numerous awards for individual excellence and analytical reporting, he has received the St. Francis de Sales Award, the highest honor given by the Catholic press.  He lives in Minnesota.

Categories: Books

Ian Wilson’s 1978 Book for a Penny

September 2, 2015 Leave a comment

Hurry. There are only 83 copies available at this price.

 

imageimageThe Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ? Hardcover – 1978

by Ian Wilson (Author)

11 customer reviews


See all 4 formats and editions


Note: This item is only available from third-party sellers (see all offers).

One of the most baffling questions concerning the Shroud’s authenticity is how – and where – it was preserved through the centuries. Ian Wilson traces the history of the cloth from its creation almost two thousand years ago. He propsess ingeniuos solutions to the gaps in its history – explanations that link the Shroud to the Mandylion that belonged to the Emperors of Constantinople, to legends of Veronica’s Veil and the Holy Grail, as well as to the powerful Knight’s Templars of Medieval Europe. The Shroud Of Turin is a fascinating detective story that offers some intriguing answers to questions that have surrounded this frail piece of linen for centuries.

Hat tip to Joe Marino

Categories: Books

Checking in on Stephen Jones’ Blog

September 1, 2015 1 comment

imageStephen has been discussing the side strip: Sidestrip #5: The evidence is overwhelming that the Turin Shroud is authentic!

< CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE >

Problem for the forgery theory. That the Shroud has almost invisible stitching in its seam that is identical to stitching found elsewhere only at the Jewish fortress of Masada, which was last occupied in AD 73, is yet another (see #1, #3 and #4) problem for the forgery theory. Since a medieval forger would be most unlikely (to put it mildly) to even know about almost invisible first century Jewish stitching; and even if he did know about it, he would be even more unlikely to go to the trouble of adding it to his forgery (what use would almost invisible stitching be to a forger?); and even if he wanted to use it, he would be most unlikely to have the high degree of skill needed to do such stitching. So again the forgery theory would need to resort to the pre-1988 fall-back position of the late leading anti-authenticist Walter McCrone (1916-2002), that "a first century cloth could have been found and used by a 14th century artist to paint the image":

"A carbon-dating test would be final if it led to a date significantly later than the early first century. A first century date, on the other hand, would remove almost all obstacles to universal acceptance of the `Shroud’ as authentic. Only the careful objective scientist might still point out that a first century cloth could have been found and used by a 14th century artist to paint the image"[18].

But, leaving aside whether that would be "objective," for anti- authenticists to claim that a medieval forger forged the Shroud’s image on a 1st century cloth would, as we saw in parts #3 and #4, mean admitting that the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud claim was wrong…

Does Stephen mean this is overwhelming – the emphasis on the word in the title of his posting is his – or that this argument, in conjunction with a gazillion other (or a few other) arguments, is overwhelming. I think he means the latter. I’m just not a big fan of piling up weak arguments one on top of the other. But then, again, that’s just me. And maybe it’s not weak.

Your thoughts?

Categories: Uncategorized

Hey, Guardian. That’s My Job

September 1, 2015 1 comment

imageLast week, The Guardian dredged up a 1988 article for us; maybe some editor thought we missed Turin Shroud leak starts unholy row. Following the lead which reads, “Scholars at Oxford University believe the linen, said to have wrapped the body of Jesus, may be a fake,” the article begins:

Representatives of the Archbishop of Turin condemned Oxford University last night for allowing news to leak out that the Turin Shroud – revered by Roman Catholics as a bloodstained relic of the crucified Christ – is a medieval forgery. They announced that the university could not possibly know.

The furore began after Dr Richard Luckett, a fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge, wrote in the Evening Standard yesterday that a date of 1350 “looks likely” for the 14ft piece of linen, which bears the imprint of the face, the thorns, and wounds of Jesus’s body.

He referred to laboratories as “leaky institutions”. A fragment of the shroud is being radiocarbon-dated at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at Oxford. At Magdalene the message was that Dr Luckett was away for the weekend.

It is now twenty-seven years later, and just in case we still had questions, The Guardian included this last line with a link that reads, “Scientists and the church still disagree about the authenticity of the shroud.”

Despite the fact that the cloth was radiocarbon-dated to the 14th century in 1988, an array of theories continue to be presented to support its authenticity – including, this year, the idea from scientists at the Politecnico di Torino that an earthquake in AD 33 may have caused a release of neutrons responsible for the formation of the image.

But, according to research by British scholar and author Charles Freeman, to be published in the journal History Today, the truth is that the shroud is not only medieval, just as the radiocarbon dating suggests, but that it is likely to have been created for medieval Easter rituals – an explanation that flies in the face of what he called “intense and sometimes absurd speculation” that coalesces around it.

Doesn’t the mainstream media understand that it is the job of bloggers to dredge up old news that nobody cares about when we don’t have anything else to say?

Categories: Article

Interesting Discussion About the Percussio Blow and Barbet

August 31, 2015 Leave a comment
Categories: History

Colin Berry’s and My 3D Plotting Problems

August 31, 2015 4 comments

Having said all this, I do doubt Colin can get good, shroud-like 3D from his flour-power model.
I am willing to be proven wrong.

A reader from Baltimore writes:

If you look at the illustration “3D-rendered image of plastic toy” on Colin Berry’s other blog you can see that he is incorrectly using ImageJ and as a consequence drawing false conclusions. He is using the image he is plotting as the texture.  In effect he is plotting on a plot.  That is a big, big NO NO.   That he is doing so is obvious when you  look at dark areas on the arms and legs that rise to the level of adjacent bright areas.  It is also obvious because of the color we see. The best texture to use is #808080 for all pixels. Some perspective would also be helpful.

Is it a no-no?  I wonder.

The image, shown below, can be found at  Is a high energy laser beam really needed to model the Turin Shroud? Maybe those Italians should have tried pizza ingredients first, and a hot oven…:

image

 

Yes, I must say I agree that there is a problem here. I see it and I’ve been thinking about it for nearly a day now.  I still need to do some experimenting to understand this better. But I do see that plotting without loading a texture and allowing the software to use the image itself as the texture (which seems to be the default) will lead to erroneous interpretations. 

Colin follows the image in his blog with this paragraph.

Yes. one can enter 2D diagrams with no 3D history, like those concentric circls above, and they show a comparable 3D response (top left) to that of the model image OR the TS. Why is that? Look at the z scale next to the red arrow. It is on its default MINIMUM setting of 0.1. The software sets that non-zero default setting, meaning that ANY image one enters that has any kind of intensity gradient, simple stepped ones included, produce a 3D response.

What in the world is Colin saying that is not fully obvious? Back in November of 2013, I noted that:

Ray Rogers used to point out that a drop of ink on a filter paper would look like a mountain when plotted the same way (e.g. VP-8).  Colin Berry is right that scorch marks and holes on the shroud produce 3D images; the scorches, obviously, are not spatial information.

Colin continues that paragraph of his, writing:

The latter is entirely artefactual unless one has evidence to the contrary. This investigator knows of no evidence to suggest that the so-called "3D properties" of the TS image are any different from those of contact imprints generally.

Colin may be right, at least to some degree. If he will post the base images (or send them to me) I will plot them with a neutral texture. If  he has a paint program he can create  his own; just create a rectangle the size of the image with a middle gray background, say RGB 128/128/128. 

I’m looking at the following image I plotted with ImageJ and wonder if I did it right.  Did I use a proper neutral texture or did I use the image as the texture? Look at the color. I probably made the same mistake. See Teaser of the Day (#3): Why many state that the Shroud is a 3D image.

I just installed Windows 10 and ImageJ won’t work for me. So be patient as I figure out what is wrong.

image

 

Having said all this, however, I do doubt Colin can get good, shroud-like 3D from his flour-power model. I am willing to be proven wrong.

Categories: 3D

Show Me. Prove It.

August 30, 2015 1 comment

If scientists are gradually losing their position as high priests of society,
generations educated in a system governed by the scientific method still carry the
burden of doubting Thomas. Although faith does not rest on scientific evidence, unbelievers
continue to clamor "Show me," "Prove it."


imageMUST READ:  Republished, yesterday, August 29, 2015, in the English edition of the Russian Orthodox internet portal, Pravosvie Ru, The Shroud of Turin: A Mystery Across the Ages warrants your full attention:

On this day, the Church celebrates the icon of the Savior "Made Without Hands" -the prototype of which is believed to be an image of Jesus Christ’s holy face, left on a cloth used to cover His face at burial after the crucifixion. An exhaustively researched and highly interesting article by Fr. Alexy Young, Nun Michaila, and Mary Mansur was published a number of years ago in the periodical, "Orthodox America" ​​on the Shroud of Turin and the Holy Napkin. We present it today in the spirit of the present feast.

Science, although not incompatible with faith when properly understood, has more often served to reduce the wonders of nature to molecular conglomerates than to awaken man to the infinite wisdom and power of God as reflected in His creation. Because it acts to unlock the mysteries of nature, science has long been cast in the role of a protagonist by those seeking to destroy the stronghold of faith. Historian Lewis Spitz writes:

"The scientific revolution, which made its first giant strides in the 17th century, has won such a total victory through its apparent domination of nature that the Western mind has virtually capitulated to its truth."

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.    (Heb. 11:1)

If scientists are gradually losing their position as high priests of society, generations educated in a system governed by the scientific method still carry the burden of doubting Thomas. Although faith does not rest on scientific evidence, unbelievers continue to clamor "Show me," "Prove it." Ultimately the case rests on the question of Christ’s Resurrection. While there is not, and can never be, a scientific test for the resurrection of Christ, skeptics have used the lack of material evidence in their favor. Is it not providential that today, in this age of science’s hegemony, they are being challenged by a mysterious piece of cloth, the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ?

To say that the Shroud is a challenge to hard-line materialists is not to say that the debate over its authenticity is neatly divided between believers and unbelievers. Not at all….

Read the full article, which leads to this interesting Conclusion:

As Orthodox Christians, do we need the relic of the Lord’s Shroud? As far as the fullness of the Faith, "given once and for all to the saints," is concerned, we do not. The image on the Shroud adds nothing doctrinal to what has already been revealed; neither does it take anything away. Had it not survived Apostolic times, as some think, our faith in Christ and His Church, the Ark of Salvation, would be the same. Nor do we seek after signs and wonders to confirm our faith in Christ. On the other hand, the Shroud provides a visual document of something that the Evangelists describe in only a few terse words: "They crucified Him,"

In the image on the Shroud there unfolds before our very eyes the story, the process of indescribable suffering, those physiological processes which took place in the human Body of Christ. This is all precisely documented on the Shroud, attesting to our Lord’s humanity and at the same time revealing His divine power, for He arose as God, rising in such a way as to leav e all the evidence imprinted upon the Shroud and miraculously undisturbed,., containing a providential meaning which is not being revealed."

The late Archimandrite Constantine (Zaitsev), an eminent Church writer who wrote these words, was so impressed by the powerful testimony of the Turin Shroud that he urged the widespread dissemination of this "discovery," which he said "lies with the conscience of each faithful Christian soul who becomes acquainted with it." [53] What precisely is the value of the testimony offered by the Shroud?

All in all it is a startling medical documentary of what was described so briefly in the Gospels. Dr. John Heller biophysicist

The Russian bishop-saint, Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-1783)–as so many spiritual directors–was alarmed at the cold-hearted insensitivity of people, at the callousness, indifference, and wordliness of the average soul, joined to complete love of self. In our own day, most pastors would add to this list the soul-killing sin of self-righteousness and "zeal not according to knowledge," which stems from the Luciferian sin of pride.

As a spiritual remedy, the Saint urged people to "keep in your house a picture of the passion of Christ, look at it often and with reverence …. the whole deepest content of the Gospel is portrayed in the passion of Christ and incites us to imitation."[54] To imitation of what?

St. Tikhon observed that "God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into the valleys." And it was this awesome humility of the Lord on the Cross that St. Tikhon wished his spiritual children to imitate. But how to find humility? In union with all Orthodox Fathers, St. Tikhon taught that each individual must seek to know himself as he really is, without self-deception. Seeing thus his own wickedness, he must then consider "the suffering of Christ, the magnitude of whose love and suffering surpasses our understanding."[55] Christ’s example of humble obedience "even unto death" inspired this Saint to instruct his spiritual children to "remember often, especially during the night, the suffering of Christ. It will kindle in you love for the Sufferer; this love will preserve you from sin. Meditate upon His Passion …. The suffering Christ is like a saving bock from which we learn…repentance, faith, devotion to God, love of our neighbor, humility, meekness, patience, detachment from worldly vanities …" [56]

What is it, then, to follow Christ? To do good and to suffer for the sake of the will of God… to endure all, looking upon Christ Who suffered  St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

St. Tikhon was not here introducing some novelty into Orthodox piety or theology, It must be made perfectly clear that he was not suggesting the use of imagination–a common element in Western spirituality–in order to create dangerous emotions that lead to "prelest" or spiritual deception. St. Tikhon understood that the Son of God suffered not just a death such as might come to any man, but a terrifying emptying of His divinity joined to an unimaginable physical, mental, and spiritual agony that we cannot comprehend.  But we can, even with sinful eyes, gaze upon it, as those who put the Lord to death stood by and watched and some, like the blessed Centurion, even confessed Christ. The image on the Shroud vividly tells us, in ways that words often cannot, what unutterable suffering was endured for our sake, and the high price with which cur souls were ransomed from eternal death.

And then there is the cry in a scientific  age, “My Lord and My God!”:

Together with this universal significance which applies to all Christians at all times, the Shroud may also be said to be uniquely relevant to our 20th century, in which science has had such a powerful voice. Some believe that this image was encoded on the fibers of the cloth like a time capsule intended specifically for our materialistic age, when only the tools of modern science could begin to decode or unlock its secrets, when belief in God would be so weak or non-existent that even faith in science would testify to "the things of God."

There is a poster, plastered on walls in the Soviet Union, which shows a smiling astronaut flying through space. The caption reads: "There is no God," For individuals raised under the forced domination of ‘scientific-atheism," the inability of scientists to disprove the Shroud does not go unnoticed. And there is reason to believe that the scientific evidence in favor of the Shroud’s authenticity has been instrumental in opening doors to faith behind the Iron Curtain. (A report on the Shroud, written by a scientist in the Soviet Union, is said to be circulating there in Samizdat.)

We, too, in the free world, have been greatly influenced by the scientific-materialist outlook. And it seems that now, at a time which many believe to be the 11th hour, the suffering yet serene face looking at us from the Shroud confronts us with the REALITY of Jesus Christ. Can it be that in this age of diminishing faith, when even believers are crying out "Lord, help Thou my unbelief," the Lord in His mercy has condescended to reveal Himself to men in a special way, that seeing they might believe and exclaim with Thomas: "My Lord and my God!"

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