From Allison, who writes a very nice family blog:
It was a blessing of many facets to be able to see and touch an exact replica…one of only 9 in the world….approved by the Vatican and touched to the actual…. of The Shroud of Turin!
A local, Ukrainian Catholic Church hosted the event and our Pastor asked if the homeschoolers would like to join him on a tour and visit. The turnout was great and their hospitality was like a warm embrace amidst their sumptuous gold and jewel-toned soaked Church. The highlight, of course, was learning so much about this incredible object. but each of us also felt delighted to meet the fine pastor of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and learn about their Mass. We plan to pray the Mass with our new friends one Sunday.
The year was 1988. Peter Jennings was still alive. He had reached the pinnacle of T.V. News journalism. ABC’s Nightly News with Peter Jennings was ranked # 1 and had the largest viewing audience of any of the competing 6 O’Clock evening news shows. He came on that night with a blazing headline. “Shroud of Turin is declared a fake”. I was personally astonished, having had some contact with members of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project members, Dr. John Jumper and photographer Barrie Schworz. The 1978 report of STURP, as it was known, was very positive and encouraged belief on a purely scientific basis, that the shroud was the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
I listened carefully and heard that the Cardinals in Rome, who had temporary custody of the sacred garment (on loan from the House of Savoy, its owners for 8 centuries), had permitted a small “slice” of the garment to be submitted to radio carbon-dating testing. In the interests of creating a “triple blind” experiment, the small slice was, itself, cut up into 3 smaller slices. Each smaller slice was then sent to independent carbon dating labs around the world: one in Zurich Switzerland; one at Oxford University in London and one at The University of Arizona in America.
And there was this comment from “Anonymous” that I caught:
The vanillin testing was interesting as well. Has your Dad seen the comparison of the Shroud to the original Divine Mercy painting? You can see an image comparison here: http://www.sanctepater.com/2010/04/shroud-of-turinvilnius-divine-mercy.html
I have to admit, I really dislike the current textbook I’m required to teach from for one chemistry class. Rather than use something appropriately stored and well suited to carbon testing as an example, it talks about how the Shroud was proven to be a forgery, sigh. Of course that gives me an opportunity to talk about the importance of sampling, storage of the samples, errors inherent in various testing methods (beyond the annoying student standard of "human error"), issues with deciding a data point is an outlier etc. It’s certainly interesting to see student reactions to other methods that indicate the shroud could be much older or that the sample was inappropriately chosen. I’m looking forward to when we change to a different textbook, though.
I must admit, with regards to part of this comment, that I’m not comfortable with stepwise or morphing image comparisons without precise source data. I am impressed, sometimes, by subjective visual similarities.