Does it matter if relics are fake?

imageAccording to the Catholic Herald in the U.K., Archbishop Nichols “suggested that it didn’t necessarily matter if a relic was authentic or not.”

As for the Shroud of Turin, the article states:

Pope Benedict XVI, visiting the Turin Shroud last year, did not address whether or not it was authentic, but spoke of its “intensity”: it was, he said, a symbol of the darkest, loneliest moments of Christ’s suffering, yet was also the brightest sign of hope.

There is plenty of debate in the comments and not much support for Nichols’s position. It makes for interesting reading at Debate: Does it matter if relics are fake? |

Great New Article in Open Salon: The Shroud of Turin, Resurrection and Joe Kennedy

J.C. KlotzThis new, brief article by John C. Klotz in Open Salon is one of the most interesting, well argued papers on the Shroud of Turin.

Now let’s turn to the Shroud of Turin. What circumstances lead me to believe that the case is closed and the Shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth and quite probably proof of his resurrection. In this case, there are not two circumstances to draw a straight line, but hundreds.

Of course, you are going to need to read “The Shroud of Turin, Resurrection and Joe Kennedy” to understand what John means by not two circumstances. Do read it.

David Rolfe Interview with Avinoam Danin on the Shroud of Turin

imageDavid Rolfe writes:

While in Torun recently I managed to spend some time with Professor Danin who kindly gave me an extended interview. We discussed, among other things, how it might be possible to assess the validity of his work. The interview can be linked from the opening page of 

* * * or better yet CLICK HERE. And from the resulting page (pictured):

Plants first became relevant to the Shroud investigation as the result of a "spur-of-the-moment" idea from the late Max Frei (Frei-Sulzer to give him his fall name) who is pictured left above. He was an eminent Swiss criminologist based in Zurich and a frequent visitor to Turin where he was often consulted on local investigations. On one such visit in 1973 he was asked to witness and authenticate a new set of photographs that were being taken of the Shroud. He took out a roll of clear sticky tape that he carried as part of his investigator’s tools and asked if he could press it against the Shroud to take away some of the microscopic bits of dust that would stick to it. Permission was granted. Professor Avinoam Danin – an eminent Israeli botanist – (pictured right) was drawn into the Shroud investigation as a direct result of Frei’s work. He has been credited with producing the most supportive evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity. Max Frei begins the story in the first clip below.

See: Plants

Another Renaissance Artist Theory for the Shroud of Turin

imageThis story broke while I took a weeklong break from blogging for a hip replacement.* It seems to be just another ‘theory’ among so many theories about how or by who the Shroud of Turin was faked:

Italian art historian Luciano Buso has a new and unique theory about the Shroud of Turin, the controversial 14-foot-long cloth in which some people believe Jesus Christ was buried. Rather than dismissing the battered linen relic—which may rank among the world’s most studied artifacts—as a fraud, he has suggested in recent interviews and a book that an authentic version did indeed exist at some point in history. By the early 1300s, however, it had disintegrated so much that the Catholic Church asked the famous Renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone to create a precise replica, according to Buso’s hypothesis. The original, meanwhile, either crumbled into nothingness or was lost or burned.

It is somewhat amazing to see another ‘it-was-painted’ theory emerge after it has been shown, so many times and so clearly, in peer-reviewed scientific journals and other reputable sources, that it is not and cannot be a painted fake relic.

Here is one version of the story: Shroud of Turin: The Work of a Renaissance Artist?

*Thanks to all of you who sent emails and comments. I’m doing well. The surgery, a total hip replacement, was last Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. I was home by Monday walking with a cane but mostly nodding off from medications while trying to write or read. 

Where have you been?

A readers asks: “Where have you been? Hardly any postings coming from you.”

Another wrote: “I have come to expect a blog entry every day. That is not a complaint.”

I had a total hip replacement last Friday. I’m fine. But the pain meds are having more of an effect than I thought they would. Another day or two, maybe.

Sent from iPhone at 9:28 AM

It is impossible to say that the image of the Holy Shroud is a fake?

Marcel Alonso wrote this email to the members of the Shroud Science Group.  I was interested in what he had to say and asked him for permission to reprint it:

Dear Researchers,

I have read ( – May 18, Conferences at the pontifical University Regina Apostolorum of Rome) that "the scientist Paolo Di Lazzaro, doctor in physics and researcher at Research center ENEA of Frascati (Rome), claimed that the image of the shroud of Turin “was not explained yet in scientific terms”. He recalled that the “scientific method is based on the reproduction of the phenomenon, and that it is only from there that it is possible to know the nature and the origin of the phenomenon”. To date, he raised, “nobody was able of reproduced the image of the Saint-Shroud in all his chemical and physical characteristics, despite all efforts in this direction and various attempts of periodically announced copies”. After years of investigations, experiments, errors of evaluation, and on the basis of obtained results, it is impossible, according to the expert “to draw sure and final conclusions on the origin of the image of the Saint-Suaire”.

I take this opportunity to address some evidences: In Science, it is well known that it is not possible to match, with a new experiment (artificial), ALL the characteristics of a previous
one (natural). What is only possible is to simulate it, as close as possible, for a given class of characteristics, specially chosen. For example, we are able to match all the physico-chemical
characteristics of the ordinary salt (NaCl) by mixing artificially HONa and HCl. But if this "salt" has been cropped in a natural environment, with its local phenomenology, it composition will
differ, more or less, but will differ, from the theoretical product NaCl. The best that we can do is to try to reproduce the local conditions in order to match the complex composition of the "salt" considered.

Similarly, is it reasonable to expect a result by "mixing" (linen and UV) or (linen and CD) etc, with various intensities and durations? Such attitude isn’t it like that of a Chemist varying concentration and temperature of HONa and HCl, in order to obtain a product whose physico-chemical characteristics would match those of a natural salt ? What could be expected other that NaCl, a pure ersatz of the natural one ?

Further, how can we claim that the Shroud image is the result of a single phenomenon: the yellowing UV, CD, Lasers, radioactive elements, etc? Is it reasonable to expect to match all the characteristics observed by the various researchers with one experiment alone? Have we forgotten that the image on the Shroud is basically the imprint left by a crucified Man on a linen cloth, after 36 hours in a cave? Not basically the imprint left by an hypothetical and undefinable earthquake!!!

Who has sacrificed a man at 3h pm, in April, shrouded him (in a specific linen), put him in a cave during 36 h, then aged the imprints in desertic conditions during centuries? Which Expert can state today that "it is impossible to draw sure and final conclusions on the origin of the image of the Saint-Shroud”. IMHO, one can say only that, after years of investigations, on the basis of the results obtained, it is impossible to say that the image of the Holy Shroud is a fake. (emphasis mine)

Concerning what relates to my findings and thinking today, I would say that there are various possible types of images (at least five which could be explained and simulated individually), but impossible to be reproduce simultaneously.