Stories are rolling out now on the Exhibition of the Shroud of Turin

imageNick Squires in Rome for The Telegraph with a brief video clip:

Francis made his first remarks on the mysterious cloth since being elected Pope in a special video message as the shroud was shown live on television for only the second time in its history.

His remarks came on Holy Saturday, which falls between the commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Francis referred to the 14ft-long strip of sepia fabric, which is imprinted with the face and body of a bearded man, as “the Holy Shroud” and asked: “How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this icon of a man scourged and crucified? It is because the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth.

“This face has eyes that are closed, it is the face of one who is dead, and yet mysteriously he is watching us, and in silence he speaks to us.”

However his observations did not go beyond the non-committal approach taken by the Catholic Church on the question of the shroud’s authenticity. Observers noted that his use of the word “icon” fell short of the claim by some that the shroud is a “relic” of the crucifixion.

He likened the look of suffering on the face of the man to the pain and horrors endured by the victims of modern war and conflict.

“This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by a life which does not respect their dignity, by war and violence which afflict the weakest. And yet at the same time the face in the shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty.”

Since being elected the successor to Benedict XVI earlier this month, the Argentinean Pope has repeatedly called for the need to protect the weak, vulnerable and dispossessed in society.

The Pope sent the message as an introduction to a 90-minute broadcast on RAI, the state television network, from Turin Cathedral, where the shroud is kept in a special climate-controlled case.

The broadcast on Saturday afternoon commemorated the 40th anniversary of the last time the shroud was shown for an extended period, live on Italian television, under Pope Paul VI in 1973.

The Vatican has never pronounced one way or the other whether it believes the shroud to be genuine.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, when he was still cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, . . .

3 thoughts on “Stories are rolling out now on the Exhibition of the Shroud of Turin”

  1. I am not sure if the use of the word “icon” used by Pope Francis should indicate how he feels about the Shroud. The word icon in Italian is often used when in English we might use “image”. This is seen with past Pope Benedict who called the Shroud “an icon written in blood.” In his book on the Passion of Christ he refers to the Shroud as a relic.

  2. Of course the mention of Paul VI is a bit misplaced because at that time (1973) the Shroud was not owned by the living pope, but by King Umberto who bequeathed it at his death several years later.

    To Russ ~ Icon is am image of something, whereas relic is something of the person or something the person wore or touched. The Popes calling it an icon versus a relic means they are not pronouncing it as Jesus’ Shroud, but as an icon is is an image of Jesus’ Shroud, it still has great meaning even if one day one was able to scientifically prove it was not the burial Shroud of Jesus of Nazareth who was the Christ. This is an important distinction. But as Pope John Paul II said determining if this Shroud is the one that wrapped Jesus’ body is outside the competence of the Church, per say, but is rather left to the realm of science and the scientific study of this item because the Church’s realm, strictly speaking, is in regard to faith and morals, not science.

    1. The official position of the Church versus the Shroud is pretty much the same than it was during the time of Geoffroy de Charny in Lirey, France, which is this : Until the Shroud can be proven by science to be genuine (will it be possible to reach that point one day?), it is considered as being a representation of Jesus’ Passion and death that can be venerated by the faithful (the same way someone can have a great veneration for the crucifix, for the way of the cross, for the rosary or other things like that). And it’s also important to understand that the Church never declare the Shroud to be a fake or to be the burial cloth of another crucified man than Jesus but, because science is not able yet to prove who the Shroud man really is, the Church cannot officially declare it the authentic burial Shroud of Christ.

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