A MUST READ by Martha of Ireland for the Internet Monk on Relishing Relics:
You may be astounded, shocked and surprised to the point of your hair turning white to find out that the Catholic Church does not demand belief in the reality of relics – nope, not even the Shroud of Turin (which is a whole cottage industry on its own) or the Veronica or the Mandylion. If some experiment in the morning proved that the Shroud was indeed a 14th century fake, this does not mean that every Christian in the world would have to say “That proves the Resurrection never happened!” and have to rip up their Bibles. We don’t believe it because we have ‘proof’ in the form of the Shroud; the Shroud is venerated because (a) we believe in the Resurrection beforehand (b) it can be taken as an image of the Crucified Body of Christ, just like all those crucifixes in churches and paintings and hanging around people’s necks, which we use as a symbol and as a focus for prayer.
A similar version of this image is available at the shroud.com gallery.
Go read Relishing Relics