Benedict XVI Set to Visit Turin in May

Zenit is reporting: Benedict XVI Set to Visit Turin in May

On Occasion of Exposition of the Holy Shroud

TURIN, Italy, OCT. 28, 2009 ( Benedict XVI will visit Turin next May on the occasion of the exposition of the Holy Shroud, revealed the archbishop of Turin
Cardinal Severino Poletto confirmed the Pope’s May 2 visit in a press statement Tuesday, the day after the Holy Father received him in audience.
"As the first ceremony of the visit, the Holy Father will be recollected in personal prayer before the Holy Shroud," Cardinal Poletto explained. Then "there will be a solemn Eucharistic concelebration for all pilgrims in St. John’s Square, which will be followed by the recitation of the Angelus prayer."
"In the afternoon, the Pope will meet with young people in the
Church of the Holy Face (Chiesa del Santo Volto) and, during the trajectory, he will stop briefly in the Cottolengo to meet and bless the residents of the Little House of Divine Providence," he added.
St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo (1786 – 1842) founded the Little House of Divine Providence, a shelter for the poor, and is listed among the saints of charity in Benedict XVI’s encyclical "Deus Caritas Est."
During his visit to Turin, Cardinal Poletto continued, "the Pope will want above all to express a word of consolation to the many persons who are suffering, in keeping with the theme of the exposition of the shroud, ‘Passio Christi, Passio Hominis’ (Passion of Christ, Passion of Men)."
"Moreover, in the spirit of his latest encyclical, ‘Caritas in Veritate,’ he will encourage and give hope to all those who are worried about a job in this city, always regarded as the ‘city of work and industry,’ but which at present feels more than others the consequences of a vast and prolonged crisis beyond all expectations," he added.
For the cardinal, "the day the Holy Father will spend in Turin will be for all of us an occasion to meet with him, to pray for him and with him, and to listen to the particular message he will bring to the Church of Turin and to all the civil society of our territory."
For the city and Diocese of Turin, this visit will be "an extraordinary gift of his fatherly heart," and "we will receive him with great affection and enthusiasm," Cardinal Poletto added.
"That will be for him support and encouragement to continue for a long time offering the beautiful testimony of his faith and of the great wisdom with which he is guiding the Church, thus becoming also, for the whole world, a point of reference of primary importance for the defense of the fundamental values of humanity," the cardinal concluded.
A Pope’s wish
Benedict XVI expressed his desire to go to Turin in 2008 when he received in a special audience at the Vatican 7,000 pilgrims from Turin, and he repeated his wish last July when he had lunch with Cardinal Poletto and others at his summer residence of Les Combes.
"If the Lord gives me life and health, I too hope to come," the Pope told the Turin pilgrims. The exposition, he continued, "will provide an appropriate moment to contemplate that mysterious face which silently speaks to the hearts of men, inviting them to recognize therein the face of God."
The last time the shroud was exposed for the public was 10 years ago. The upcoming exposition is scheduled for April 10 to May 23, 2010.
The shroud will be on display for the first time since its 2002 restoration, in which the patches sewn onto the cloth in 1534 by Poor Clare nuns to repair the damage caused by the 1532 fire were removed.
Without the patches, the holes burned into the cloth are visible. The backing cloth, known as the Holland Cloth, was also removed and replaced with a new, lighter-colored cloth.
The 2010 exposition will also include a new tour to inform visitors of the history and significance of the shroud, complemented with unpublished high-resolution photos.
The shroud, measuring 4.39 meters in length and 1.15 meters in width (14.5 feet by 3.5 feet), is kept in a climate-controlled urn in the chapel of the Turin cathedral.

ZENIT – Benedict XVI Set to Visit Turin in May

Richard Dawkins on the Shroud of Turin

richard-dawkins Richard Dawkins discusses the Shroud in his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, (September 22, 2009). Obviously, he is being selective with evidence. Here is what he says:

[Carbon dating] has revolutionized archaeological dating. The most celebrated example is the Shroud of Turin. Since this notorious piece of cloth seems mysteriously to have imprinted on it the image of a bearded crucified man, many people hoped it might hail from the time of Jesus. It turns up in the historical record in the mid-fourteenth century in France, and nobody knows where it was before that. It has been housed in Turin since 1578, under the custody of the Vatican since 1983. When mass spectrometry made it possible to date a tine sample of the shroud, rather than the substantial swathes that would have been needed before, the Vatican allowed a small strip to be cut off. The strip was divided in three parts and sent to three leading laboratories specializing in carbon dating, in Oxford, Arizona and Zurich. Working under conditions of scrupulous independence—not comparing notes—the three laboratories reported their verdicts on the date when the flax from which the cloth had been woven died. Oxford said ad 1200, Arizona 1304 and Zurich 1274. These dates are all—within normal margins of error—compatible with each other and with the date in the 1350s at which the shroud is first mentioned in history. The dating of the shroud remains controversial, but not for reasons that cast doubt on the carbon-dating technique itself. For example, the carbon in the shroud might have been contaminated by a fire, which is known to have occurred in 1532. I won’t pursue the matter further, because the shroud is of historical, not evolutionary, interest. It is a nice example, however, to illustrate the method, and the fact that, unlike dendrochronology, it is not accurate to the nearest year, only to the nearest century or so.

It is a well written book, and for people who enjoy the subject of evolution, as I do, it is a good read. But, as with theology, he is careless with material he doesn’t understand. Too bad.

Kenneth Hynek is right, of course

at least on this point. It’s an interesting point:

image The logic you’re using here is the same logic as that of the recent “debunkers” of the Shroud of Turin, whose basic argument seems to be that because they were able to produce a forgery of the Shroud, the Shroud itself must be a forgery as well. I will grant that our senses can be fooled, a fact which different people exploit to different purposes. But equally, the fact that our senses can be fooled does not mean that every single instance of witnessing something profound and apparently supernatural is necessarily an illusion wrought by a human actor only.

KHdN – Kenneth Hynek (dot Net) » Blog Archive » In lieu of posting new content…

Another Novel? Another Jesus DNA Story?

We have what looks like the beginning of a new novel over at The Original Nappy-Headed Ho: Story Beginning

image It’d been another long night. Yes, my passion was in this. Yes, I’d do it for free if I had other means of support. But after a string of nights seeing the dawn peaking through the lab window, I was getting hinky. I was irritated and short tempered.

Charlie, my partner in business and science, my friend for over 15 years, slid his chair back from his microscope and exhaled sharply. “I’ve isolated complete DNA strands from the Shroud of Turin.”

A pet project, Charlie had been intrigued by mysticism, religion and science over the centuries, and their effects on popular culture. Recently he’d gotten permission from the Vatican to sample a bit of the fabric of the Shroud of Turin. Not new material, but leftover material from the 80s when an attempt had been made to determine the age of the cloth. The results of the original test where that the shroud was no more than twelve to fifteen hundred years old, much too young to have been Jesus’s own burial cloth. The technology had been primitive to today’s digital microscopic standards, and Charlie insisted modern carbon dating put the date of the cloth at between 400 BC and 200 AD. Quite a difference.

"Say again?"

. . .

I’m not sure how long we stared at each other, but for two insecure scientists to look each other in the eye for anything more than a second was unusual.

"Charlie, are you telling me you think we have the DNA of Jesus?"

Read the whole post at The Original Nappy-Headed Ho: Story Beginning

2010 Exhibition Official Site

Well, this bills itself as the official website for the 2010 exhibit of the Shroud of Turin. The English version leave much to be desired. You would have thought they would have found someone who speaks English to do the translations. Did they use Google Translate? Most tabs in English simply say translation is coming soon or are in Italian. Online reservations are only in Italian. There is a big Multimedia section that takes forever to load and looks really cool, if you know Italian. Here are some:

Welcome Service tab:

The Shroud exhibition is an important pilgrimage opportunity but a chance to better know the Church of Torino, its territory, the province and Piedmont as well. The diocese of Torino, just like for all the former exhibitions (1998 and 2000) has arranged many services and initiatives to welcome groups from other Churches and christian communities as far as both the liturgy and the reciprocal acquaintance are concerned.

Moreover, the local turinese and piedmontese authorities have planned religious and cultural touristic initiatives linked to the exhibition.

For any information on tourist welcome, please check Turismo Torino.

The volunteers will be the first to welcome the visitors in the city and all along the exhibition route from the beginning to the end at the exit of the Cathedral. The volunteers for the Shroud and those of the City will also be present in other points along the route and in Torino.

Exposition day and hours tab:

During the exhibition the Mass will be celebrated in the Cathedral, in front of the Shroud, every morning at 7 and the Lodi prayer will be said at the end.

The Holy Sacrament will be exposed in the penitentiary at Palazzo Chiablese (at the end of the exhibition route map, penitentiary) all day long. The chapel will be reserved for silent prayer and eucharistical worship.

Some priests will be at disposal to hear confessions and administer the sacrament of Reconciliation in the penitentiary.

The route will be open from the end of the Mass up to 8 pm to attend the Shroud exhibition (reservations are required). It will be possibile to enter the Cathedral by the main door but then the Shroud will be only visible from a distance. The nave will be reserved to prayers and silent reflections.

In the evening, according to the calendar, the Cathedral may be open in case of particular ceremonies or religious cultural events.

Getting here tab:


Churches and religious functions  tab:

Attend the Shroud exhibition is an occasion to better know the Church of Torino visiting its temples and sanctuaries as well. During the exhibition many churches will welcome other pilgrimage moments, before and after the visit to the Shroud. Here you can find all information you may need about services and contacts.

Penitentiary tab:

The «penitentiary» is after the Shroud route, inside Palazzo Chiablese and immediately before Piazzetta Reale.

All day long, some priests will be at disposal to hear confessions and administer the sacrament of Reconciliation.

The chapel, where the Holy Sacrament is exposed everyday, is near the penitentiary and reserved for silent prayer and eucharistical worship.

Sacra Sindone – Welcome service

So what if the Shroud of Turin is a fake: Misses some points

John Dodge over at smartplanet has written a level-headed article entitled So what if the Shroud of Turin is a fake. I have no problem with his skepticism. I do with perception of facts. I once shared his skepticism about the Shroud. No longer. But I do share the so what: I’ve inserted some comments in bold:

In 2004, a 10-year-old cheese sandwich with a likeness of the Virgin Mary reportedly sold for $28,000 on eBay. And on slow news days, local TV stations report Virgin Mary sightings on fogged windows and in cloud formations.

Many like me discount such fantasies as ridiculous, but what counts is the meaning of the cheese sandwich in the eyes of the beholder. Quite frankly, the site of a freshly grilled cheese sandwich makes me hungry.

That brings us to the Shroud of Turin, which was in the news again last week. I don’t pay a huge amount of attention to such things, but if someone asked me if the shroud was really Christ’s burial garb, I’d say “nonsense.”

Last week, Italian chemist and professor Luigi Garlaschelli also said “nonsense” after he recreated a shroud using the image of one of his students.

The Shroud next to Garlaschelli's student (right) credit:

The Shroud next to Garlaschelli’s student (r.) credit:

“Luigi Garlaschelli created a copy of the shroud by wrapping a specially woven cloth over one of his students, painting it with pigment, baking it in an oven (which he called a “shroud machine”) for several hours, then washing it,” according to a CNN story (see pic). “Then for the sake of completeness I have added the bloodstains, the burns, the scorching because there was a fire in 1532,” Garlaschelli said.

He claims his tests prove that some of the unique characteristics of the shroud such as the absence of paint or pigment can be replicated by an artist or his case, a scientist. Shroud defenders have long argued the shroud cannot be recreated.

Two points: 1) Garlaschelli was not able to create an image that has the same chemistry, physical properties and unique so-called 3D (height-field) characteristics of the image. He admits this. It looks something like the Shroud but that is not the point. 2) Only some Shroud defenders have made the claim that the image cannot be recreated. Most are more tempered saying that, so far, no one has been able to reproduce the images. Dodge would have us believe that authenticity proponents are “God-of-the-gaps” sorts. Not so.

Garlaschelli, also a professor at the University of Pavia,  is not the first to debunk the shroud. In 1988, three universities conducted carbon dating tests and concluded it was created between 1260 and 1380. That, of course, set off a firestorm. And some like have rushed to discredit Garlaschelli’s findings, claiming he was funded by an “Italian association of atheists and agnostics.”

I agree that the funding issue is immaterial. In fact, the fact that he is a member of the funding organization is immaterial.

As for the carbon dating, the statement is true but misleading. In 2005, a peer-reviewed paper published in a scientific journal concluded that the tests were invalid. Now, you don’t have to accept that. But you should not ignore it. Mention it or mention it and explain why you disagree. You might want to note that the work was done by someone who was trying to defend the 1988 dating. You might want to mention that this work was later independently confirmed by a forensic material analyst at Georgia Tech as well as by a team of nine chemists at Los Alamos.

Actually, the official Vatican position on the shroud is quite rationale, focusing more on what the it means to believers rather than defending its authenticity.

“For the believer, what counts above all is that the shroud is a mirror of the Gospel. We cannot escape the idea that the image it presents has such a profound relationship with what the Gospels tell of Jesus’ passion and death, that every sensitive person feels inwardly touched and moved beholding it,” Pope John Paul II wrote of his 1998 visit to the Turin Cathedral where it is housed.


John Paul II also said that proving or disproving its authenticity should be left to scientists. Who can argue with that?


I have no problem with people believing what they want and I know faith has served powerfully in the lives of many. What the shroud represents is more important than whether it’s real on not. Unless someone invents a time machine so we can get a `film at 11′  eyewitness account, it will never be definitively proven one way or the other although the carbon tests seem pretty convincing.

I also think that heathen Garlaschelli who confesses to being a non-believer is onto something. As for the cheese sandwich, I have a hard time swallowing it, but someone willing to pay 28 grand didn’t.

So what if the Shroud of Turin is a fake – SmartPlanet

Is the Shroud of Turin a Fake?

Russ Breault writes:

There have been numerous attempts to replicate the Shroud. Another one was announced recently by an Italian scientist presenting at a paranormal conference. It appears to be just the latest version of many such attempts and was funded by the Italian Association of Atheists and Agnostics.

As of this writing all the details of their image are not yet available. According to press reports, they took a volunteer, covered him in red ochre pigment along with a mild acid solution. The body was wrapped. After leaving an imprint from the ochre it was heated to simulate aging and then washed to remove the pigment. The result is an image that looks Shroud-like. The claim is that by using materials available during the Middle Ages, it proves the Shroud is a medieval fake. Is that the case?

One of the things proven by numerous tests is that pigment is not responsible for the image. We won’t know what they have really achieved until they make samples available to be analyzed under a microscope. The problem with all such attempts that use reverse engineering to re-create a Shroud-like image is that it is not a credible argument. We can make an artificial diamond that looks real, but it is still not an authentic diamond. Making something that looks like the Shroud does not prove it is a medieval fraud.

The qualifying criteria are very specific. The image must be so superficial that it penetrates only the top two microfibers, about the depth of a single bacterium. There can be no coloration beyond the crowns of the fibers and no image on the side of the fibers or under the fibers. For this we need a microscope to validate. The image must demonstrate to be an accurate negative image and also possess accurate distance information where parts of the body still reveal an image even though not in direct contact with the cloth of distances up to 4 cm. However this is only half the problem. There are two sets of images: body image and blood image.

Interestingly, there is no image under the blood meaning that the order of events is blood first followed by image. This is the correct sequence if authentic but nearly impossible for an artist. As such, according to the article, they added blood after the image was already created. That fact alone invalidates their claim.

Another interesting fact is that the blood on the Shroud is not painted blood. They didn’t just go out and kill a goat and paint the blood on the cloth. The blood chemistry is very specific. It is blood from actual wounds. We do not see whole blood, we see blood clot exudates, blood that oozed out of the wound. There are very few red blood cells because they appear to be on the body forming the clot. We see blood components such as bile, bilirubin, heme, serum but not whole blood. Some blood flowed before death but most after death. The side wound and the blood that puddled across the small of the back are post-mortem blood flows…blood that flowed after death and show a clear separation of blood and serum. Even the scourge marks on the back reveal a distinctive halo effect under UV light, where the blood contracted leaving a ring of clear blood serum. There is also evidence of gravity, that these wounds were inflicted while the body was upright. The blood also has a high bilirubin content which would have been released into the blood under conditions of severe stress. Bilirubin has a bright red color which also explains why much of the blood on the Shroud still has a reddish tint instead of turning black which generally occurs with old blood.

There is more evidence on the part of forensic specialists and coroners that indicate a body was in the Shroud and the body died from the wounds that stain the cloth. How the image got there is anyone’s guess but one thing is for sure, the blood was on the cloth before the image. This one fact alone negates this recent claim of successfully faking the Shroud image.

Russ Breault is a lecturer and researcher on the Shroud of Turin. He has participated in numerous international conferences and is President of the Shroud of Turin Education Project, inc. He conducts multi-media presentations at colleges, univeristies and churches across the country including Auburn, West Point and Duke. He has addressed the American Chemical Society and has appeared in numerous national documentaries.

Is the Shroud of Turin a Fake?