Fr. John Hogan, OCDS, a Secular Discalced Carmelite priest in Ireland, is the founder and current Father Director of the Fraternity of St Genesius, an international association of prayer for those in the arts and media. He has responded eloquently and forcefully to Tom Chiver’s article in The Telegraph (see my earlier posting on it here):
The Shroud of Turin is a fake, some scientists and atheists say. "We know it’s a fake. Okay all the evidence (scientific, historical, literary, botanical) suggests it may be authentic. We can’t figure out how the image was made – we can’t reproduce it correctly with all our technology, but that doesn’t mean a medieval artist couldn’t do it. We stick by the carbon dating tests that have now been discredited – we refused to accept that they are discredited. It is a fake. Okay, there are more questions than answers and every scientific examination presents even more questions – it is a mystery – but it is not the shroud of Christ."
Such is the response I hear in Tom Chivers’s article ("The Turin Shroud is Fake. Get over it.") in the Telegraph. In terms of our faith, it matters little that it is the Shroud of the Lord – our faith does not depend on it. However, without being credulous, we must also be open to the possibility that God might actually have left us a document of the Resurrection to strengthen our faith. That may well be the Shroud of Turin.
That said, it seems, given the big picture, with all the evidence before us, the chances are that it is authentic. The only (and the I mean the ONLY) examination which casts doubt over authenticity is the carbon dating, and a number of scientists have doubts about those results. If this was a court case and the jury had to take all evidence into account, they would probably go for authenticity, and question the only test over which there is a shadow. Perhaps scientists that doubt may need a chat with the very uncomfortable archaeologists who have discovered Sodom and Gomorrah.
So, will we revise Chivers headline and suggest: "The Turin Shroud may be authentic, get over it!"?