Paper Chase: The Conspiracy Against the Shroud

imageBT from the Coast Guard Academy in New London emails:

I enjoy the enlightening comments of many people in this blog, none more so than those of Dave from New Zealand and none specifically more than the comment about Ulysse Chevalier. A hearty thanks to Dave for the link he provided and a special thanks to Jack Markwardt for a wonderful paper.

Dave wrote:

. . . Canon Chevalier was the acknowledged leader of a progressive faction around 1898, when Pia’s first photographs of the Shroud appeared. A hitherto barely noticed relic suddenly seemed to be on the verge of becoming authenticated – worse, it tended to corroborate the orthodox position, thus threatening the schemes of the progressives to usher the Church into the twentieth century and into modernity, ostensibly setting aside old out-worn beliefs and practices, but in fact promoting a type of reductionist liberalism. Both Chevalier and Rev Herbert Thurston fell back on their version of the D’Arcis memorandum to discredit it. The two reverend gentlemen appear to have entered an unholy conspiracy to discredit the Shroud, not by an objective scholarly representation of the D’Arcis memorandum, but by deliberately and fraudulently misrepresenting it by twisting facts, and the deliberate omission of material, and hence concealing their lie, Regular bloggers will be aware of a common public misperception that the D’Arcis memorandum discredits the Shroud, apparently in an authoritative way, as being a man-made object from the 13th – 14th centuries. This misrepresentation is solely due to the work of Chevalier and Thurston.

The case against them is clearly set out in a paper: "THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE SHROUD"; By Jack Markwardt, 2001. Markwardt’s spine-chilling paper against the two conspirators can be found at:– Recommended reading for all who have an interest in the truth concerning the Shroud!

12 thoughts on “Paper Chase: The Conspiracy Against the Shroud”

  1. I question Dave of New Zealand’s implication that progressives in the modernist controversy in the Catholic church were promoting “reductionist liberalism.” The primary doctrine of Christianity is that Jesus is alive in a new life with God and if you follow Jesus the same good thing can happen to you. The doctrines about the incarnation, trinity, virgin birth, and papal infallibility are secondary matters. I think the disagreements between progressive and conservatives was over tertiary matters. Liberal Christians do not believe in life after death. They think that life ends in the grave, and we are better off knowing this so we can concentrate on achieving self-realization and serving our fellow human beings.

    The resurrection of Jesus is an historical event that can’t be explained in terms of any other historical event. The best explanation for the Shroud of Turin, in my opinion, is that it was generated by Gnostics in the 1st or 2nd century using a crucified victim and methods that have been lost to history. The Holy Shroud and the Resurrection are two separate reasons to believe in Jesus. Chevalier and Thurston may not have understood the miraculous nature of the Holy Shroud and were ignoring that fact that it is a reason to believe in Jesus. Advocates of the authenticity of the Shroud are confusing the resurrection of Jesus as an historical event and the resurrection of Jesus as an object of faith.

  2. “Modernism” in the early 20th century covered a very broad spectrum of ideas, with its various promoters holding them to various degrees and with a variety of interpretations – ‘quot homines, tot sententiae’! The encyclical of Pope St Pius X.”Pascendi Dominici Gregis” September 8, 1907, which the historian Anne Fremantle has described as “longest of encyclicals”, sought to address the problem. I’m afraid it makes for some fairly tiresome and heavy reading.and could only recommend it to serious students of the movement, A more succinct syllabus of errors “Lamentabili Sane” of July 3, 1907 lists some 65 specific errors to be condemned. You can probably find both encyclicals by simply googling on “modernism encyclical Pius X”. The various errors are not ranked as ‘primary’, ‘secondary’ nor ‘tertiary’ but all are equally condemned

    Modernism seems to have had its primary roots in much of the 19th century biblical exegesis carried out by various German Protestant studies taken to excess. Catholic biblical studies have moved on since the early 1900s and encyclicals starting with the time of Pope Pius XII to our present Pope Benedict XVI, have actively promoted serious scholarship and biblical studies.

    Readers can come to their own conclusions as to whether they can accept David Roemer’s thesis: “The best explanation for the Shroud of Turin, in my opinion, is that it was generated by Gnostics in the 1st or 2nd century using a crucified victim and methods that have been lost to history.” I know of no evidence that would support such a position and cannot concur with it. With their emphasis on the spiritual, “true knowledge” and denial of the significance of the corporeal, Gnostics would have no good reason to manufacture such a relic. Contrariwise, David Roemer apparently asserts “the miraculous nature of the Holy Shroud” – the two positions are mutually contradictory. The Holy Shroud may be miraculous, or it may not, Many readers seem to consider that while the Shroud is providential, it is but naturalistic.

  3. It all depends on the kind of Gnostics to which reference is being made. While they would not have manufactured such a relic a supernatural interpretation of the image would certainly be welcome.

  4. I find this whole conversation a unnecessary detour from the real issues we face in the Church. It is an accurate observation that there was a reaction against the Shroud epitomized by Thurston and Chevalier. But that was then and this is now. I don’t anyone would confuse me with a conservative but I find that the evidence for the authenticity of the Shroud is overwhelming and that the issues raised by the Shroud are quite germane to the direction of the Church and science.

    It would not surprise me if it were some conservatives who might be dragging there heels now. The Shroud is a revelation that will ultimately be beyond the control of any particular faction of the Church or society. It leads us towards profound issues of consciousness and existence at the quantum level. It is no accident that most of the analytical devices that have revealed so much about the Shroud in fact function at the quantum level. It was the photon that ushered in quantum mechanics and it is photons of light we receive and analyze from the Shroud.

    The only comparison as to its impact as revelation I can make is probably Guttenberg’s bible. Hang on to your hats brothers and sisters, it may be a bumpy ride.

  5. I can take John’s point that every generation has its preoccupations and challenges. The issues faced by a Pius X were certainly different from those now faced by a Benedict XVI, and the world is very different now. From the time of Pia’s photographs in 1898 however, here was independent testimony to a real suffering Christ, no mere archetypal myth derived from the seasonal dying and resurrected autumn god to be resurrected in the spring according to ancient myths, as a reductionist liberalism might have it, but a real Christ who had suffered and died as recorded in the gospels. It had to be the beginning of a true awakening.

    John’s mention of quantum mechanics, brings to mind that even in 1905, the renown physicist Ernst Mach was still able to deny the very existence of atoms. Today subatomic particles are the stuff of everyday life in our communications, and our understanding of material existence. The political emphasis has now shifted away from the concerns of European national.states of those times, to the global village and political awakenings in Asia and Africa. The interim has seen the rise and fall of Soviet Communism, two major world conflicts, civil wars, an Arab Spring, and the rise of radical Islam There is now the potential for some fool with the power to do so, to destroy this fragile planet from the very stuff of quantum physics, through nuclear destruction. In the meantime, the rest of us set about doing much the same in a questionably more benign manner by industrial pollution, the elimination of the Creator’s work through the destruction of species, and continue to exploit the vulnerable through their forced labour in sweat shops.

    The image of the suffering Christ depicted on the Shroud may awaken us to His reality in history or herstory as the case may be; We can ask why this had to happen; Was this the Redeemer of humankind? Did His sufferings open the gates of heaven as the old theology would have it? Or else we can go deeper and ask what was the message of this god-man? That message was Love! Real love, without reservation! He asks that we follow Him in His example of Love! This man was certainly a radical, overturning conventions that imprisoned the culture of His time. To probe deeper into the message is the task that every generation must pursue each in their own era, to bring about God’s kingom on earth.

    May the blessings of Christmas be yours: To Yannick, Max, Chris, John, Gabriel, Anoxie, Kelly to David, Davor Colin and Hugh and all those who regularly contribute to this wonderful site, and especially to Dan who keeps us all attuned with such regular and provocative postings.that we may become all the more enlightened.

  6. The critical issues that the Church will have to tackle are very deep and do not involve the TS. Many have left the fold because they have seen a lot of superficiality and idle talk, little in practice. They are not interested in the relic and find it absurd that some Christians use it to keep their faith going. Who knows, if there is some ego-bashing in the realm of Shroud studies, that could help stimulate more belief in God indirectly.

  7. Hi everyone!

    You may have seen this archaeological unearthing, but I’m posting the link for those who may not have read the article.

    Tomb Exploration Reveals First Archaeological Evidence of Christianity from the Time of Jesus. Link below or google title.

    Hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you a very happy year ahead.


  8. Angel, Sorry to tell you that those who are agenda-driven are making the most noise in this topic and the link has merely given them attention. Happy New Year and all the best!

    1. Louis, I understand!

      One question, why is the church suddenly releasing relics of Jesus? Supposedly, these items will be placed on display in Chicago.

      In one example there are fragments, believed to be from Jesus’ manger and in another case the photo image shows a gold encased vial with the label “Blood of Jesus.” Do you know what year the Church acquired this blood?


  9. Hullo Angel, It is doubtful that these relics are genuine since they appear to have been traced only till the fifth century and the credibility is probably due to the fact that there is no feather from St. Michael the Archangel. The Archdiocese of Chicago will have better information for you since the Church is said to have authenticated them in 1972. One must know the criteria that was employed.

    The phenomenon of incorruption is much more interesting and more palpable and there are cases like those of Bernadette Soubirous, the Arab Charbel Makhlouf and Blessed Charles I (von Habsburg-Lothringen), last emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to name a few. Some years ago reports said that the Church had ordered an investigation.

    All best wishes!

  10. Thank you, Louis.

    I appreciate your effort, with respect to all the information you have provided. I only glanced over the article, but was surprised to see there were fragments from Jesus’ manger. Further, I thought if the church had blood samples, why haven’t they compared that blood to the blood on the Shroud or the blood on the Sudarium of Oviedo?

    At any rate, enjoy the New Year holiday.


  11. There’s no need to thank me for anything, Angel, I’m just trying to help. As I said, the relics are said to have been traced only to the fifth century and details about the 1972 authentication are needed. Only then can further discussion come.
    Happy New Year and best wishes!

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