Common Sense for Today

clip_image001Thibault Heimburger writes in a comment:


– Even if one does not share Fanti’s views about the Body Image Formation Process ( me included), for the first time (after Rogers and the vanillin) a team of scientists provided some evidences that the TS is much older than the age given by the C14 using many different tests: spectroscopy (Raman and FTIR) and precise mechanical tests (5 parameters) on TS fibers and many linen controls of known age. All the results are statistically consistent.

The final result of all the tests gives a result in the first century for the TS (I can’t provide the details).

From a strict scientific point of view, these findings have to be discussed among experts and I don’t know if the results will be published in a peer-reviewed journal (I hope so). But in any case, these results have to be considered as they are. They have absolutely no link with radiations or CD’s hypotheses.

– I can say you with certainty that Fanti’s TS sample is genuine, even if it is not an official sample. During the C14 sampling, some samples cut by Riggi were kept in safe, given to the 3M foundation and Fanti’s TS sample is one of them. I know the precise location of Fanti’s sample.


Gonella: obviously CB is completely wrong. Gonella himself was a perfect honest researcher and the fact that only a single sample taken in the worst location had been used for the C14 dating came from Chagas under the pressure of the C14 laboratories. I have Gonella’s letters and papers.

3) Rogers C14 threads came also from unauthorized samples. However, there are several evidence that they truly came from the “center of the C14 sample” but for the moment I am waiting for a final confirmation before writing a paper.


The Official Shroud of Turin App for iPad and iPhone 2.0

imageimageHat tip to Joe Marino: From Vatican Insider, which is on a roll suddenly with Shroud of Turin stories, we learn that The Holy Shroud is on iPad and becomes 2.0

In the technology era also the Holy Shroud becomes “2.0”: as of Holy Friday 2013, the coming 29th of March, on the online Apple store it will be possible to download – in a double multilingual version, free and with fee – the first official App dedicated to the Holy Linen, created in conjunction with the special television Exposition which is scheduled on Rai Uno at Easter Eve. The Shroud, the sheet kept in the Turin Cathedral which, by tradition, would be the one in which Jesus body was wrapped in the sepulchre as quoted in the Gospels, is no doubt one of the most intense and wellknown symbols of Christianity. Although this tradition – however based on multiple evidences resulting from scientific investigations – cannot be deemed formally proved, the Shroud directly and immediately recalls the Passion of Christ, due to the features of its imprint.

You will have to read the full article, but this caught my attention:

A digitalization process that recomposed 1649 snapshots into one single 12 billion pixels image, held in a 72 Gigabytes file, corresponding to the content of 16 DVDs. Until today the dedicated Museum was the place which mostly offered the chance to approach the Shroud, excluding the Expositions, and the Turin Cathedral of Saint John where it is kept but not visible.

But now, a kind of “Digital Exposition” shall be constantly available on the displays of anyone having an iPad or iPhone – probably in the future also for those using Android. Besides exploring the Shroud in every single
spot with the touch screen picture, users will also be conducted along a knowledge and meditation journey by the technological device. In fact, this application allows to enhance the understanding of the cloth in an interactive and dynamic way through a real virtual tour along four theme routes, currently available in Italian, Spanish, English and Portuguese, corresponding to four “navigation” options of the Sheet: story from the Gospels, elements of the cloth, elements of the figure, and scientific aspects.

Apparently it is for Apple iPad and iPhone only, at this time.

Email of the Day: Doing Things Backwards

imageA reader writes:

[Stephen E.] Jones tells us that Fanti’s findings,now published in a book, are to be subsequently published in a “specialist magazine and assessed by a scientific committee.” Isn’t this backwards?

Jones was quoting an article, New experiments on Shroud show it’s not medieval, from Vatican Insider.

Read the Vatican Insider article and also read what Jones has to say. It is important.

And, yes, given the nature of the new studies, it does seem backwards.

Vatican Insider: The essence of religion meets human science

clip_image001Gabriel, by way of a comment to another posting, informs us, “. . .  today’s VATICAN INSIDER includes very interesting article by Gian Maria Zaccone Scientific director of the Museum of the Holy Shroud of Turin, Vice-director of the International Center of Sindonology of Turin and member of the Archdiocese of Turin’s Diocesan Commission for the Shroud.”

Human Science, I like the ring of it. Indeed the article is very interesting. Take the time to read it. This will give you a sense:

. . . the scientific research into the Shroud, begun at the start of the century, has contributed to making today’s debate even more fascinating and more heated. This is because although most of this research has not led to any concrete conclusions about how the figure on the Shroud was formed, all studies seem to exclude the possibility of a man-made image, given that the Shroud has been dated back to the medieval period.

Until the end of the Nineteenth century, research into the Holy Shroud had focused above all on the historical and to some extent theological aspects of the relic, but the problem of its so-called “authenticity” – which has been the main focus of scientific research – was limited to scholarly debates which were not of much interest to the wider public.

Historically, it was the devotional aspect of the Shroud that emerged as most important, attracting the interest of ordinary people who travel for miles to attend solemn ostentations. It is not intellectual curiosity in the Shroud’s origins, or their search for material grace that attracts the masses but their drive to search for something – a face, a figure – and their anxiousness to find out something that forms part of the deepest, innermost feelings of the human soul. Mgr. Ghiberti rightly underlined the fact that man’s encounter with the Shroud (especially if he or she is a faithful) is pre-scientific. Surveys carried out on pilgrims who attended the ostensions which took place between 1978 and today reveal that very few of them were drawn to Turin because of the question of the Shroud’s “authenticity”. So this is not a core part of their relationship with the relic. Instead, many were interested in the Shroud as a “sign” that becomes a “mystery” and “speak of violence and injustice,” “an image of peace, a sign of suffering.” But a suffering that goes beyond mere suffering: for believers, meditating on Christ’s death cannot be separated from the joy of Easter and vice versa: the Shroud therefore becomes a “symbol of life and resurrection.”

This is why the Holy Father and the Church in Turin wanted to give all the people of the world the chance to come face to face with the painful image imprinted on the Shroud, leaving the scientific question aside for once; the chance to set their eyes on "the one they have pierced” (John, 19:37), on Holy Saturday, the day of great silence of which the Shroud is an icon. An icon which illustrates the deep reflections of Benedict XVI, who was among the pilgrims to visit the Shroud in 2010.

Source: Holy Shroud:The essence of religion meets human science – Vatican Insider

Breaking News: Pope Francis to Introduce the Shroud of Turin Saturday

clip_image001ANSA via La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno (English Edition) is reporting:

(ANSA) – Turin, March 27 – Pope Francis will appear on TV to introduce the second-ever appearance of the Holy Shroud of Turin on Italian airwaves Saturday. "It will be a message of intense spiritual scope, charged with positivity, which will help (people) never to lose hope," said Turin Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia in announcing Wednesday the pope’s intro for the famous relic bearing the imprint of a Christ-lke body. The shroud, revered as the winding sheet used to cover Christ’s body after the crucifixion but carbon-dated to the Middle Ages, will be shown on state broadcaster RAI’s first channel from 17:10 to 18:40 Saturday, the day before the Easter feast commemorating the resurrection. Catholic scientific experts have disputed the carbon dating indicating the shroud is a medieval forgery and said they have found traces of pollen from the Holy Land. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, which bears an apparently burned-on image of a dead man resembling classic depictions of Christ.

This should be an opportunity for MSM coverage.

Giulio Fanti: The Image of a Man Who Lived Between 280 BC and 220 AD

clip_image001Giulio Fanti, after requests by me and others, has released the following material related to his new book and granted permission to us to use it as a press release “where they think opportune.” 

Here is opportune. So here it is. There is a lot to discuss and as always comments are most welcome:


  • The Holy Shroud shows a not reproducible double image of a man who lived from 280 BC and the year 220 AD (rounded to the nearest tens), period compatible with the documented presence of Jesus in Palestine.
  • The carbon 14 dating performed in 1988 is not statistically reliable.
  • Mineralogical investigations on dusts vacuumed from the Shroud, show the coincidence in dozens of items with those made of dust picked up in Jerusalem and under the Holy Sepulchre.
  • DNA studies on the same samples show an exposition of the Shroud to the middle East region.
  • These are the sensational results reported in an Italian book entitled "IL MISTERO DELLA SINDONE – Le sorprendenti scoperte scientifiche sull’enigma del telo di Gesù (THE MYSTERY OF THE SHROUD – The amazing scientific discoveries on the enigma of the Jesus’ cloth) edited by Rizzoli and written by Giulio Fanti and Saverio Gaeta.

The studies led by Professor Giulio Fanti have been performed by the Universities of Padua, Bologna, Modena, Udine, Parma and London.

These studies show methodological errors in the radiocarbon data released in 1988 by three laboratories (Tuxon, Oxford and Zurich), who subjected to Carbon 14 test  samples of the Shroud, placing it an age between 1260 and 1390.

Giulio Fanti, professor of mechanical and thermic measurements at the Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Padua studies the Shroud from fifteen years and thanks to a multidisciplinary project on the Shroud assigned to him by the University of Padua in 2009 (54,000 euro) has had the possibility to obtain these results.

By means of this project it has also been possible to study and partially reproduce the doubly body image of the Shroud. Dozens of tests have been conducted in 2010-2013 in the Laboratory of High Voltages of Padua University to explain the origin of the mysterious image. If we want today to reproduce a quite similar image on a fabric in 1/2 scale, we require a voltage of about 300,000 V, but according to the american scientist Igor Bensen, a voltage of 50,000,000 would be necessary for the Shroud body image in a 1/1 scale.

Now Fanti focused his studies on the dating of the Shroud. After robust statistical analyses in collaboration with the Universities of London (Anthony Atkinsons), Parma (Marco Riani) and Udine (Fabio Crosilla), he has shown, through robust statistics, the origin of the difference of more than 200 years between the laboratories of Arizona and Oxford in the response of carbon 14 on the Shroud.

A statistical model has highlighted the systematic tendency to change: if for a few centimeters of fabric there are differences in 200 years, it’s easy to think that there are thousands years of variations along the nearly 4.5 m of the Shroud, possibly caused by the mysterious energy that produced the image.

To date the Shroud using alternative methods both Raman and FT-IR tests have been used to obtain two different chemical datings with the collaboration of professors Anna Tinti and Pietro Baraldi respectively of the universities of Bologna and Modena.

In addition a multiparametric mechanical method have been used at Padua University after the construction of a new ad-hoc machine capable to acquire the results of loading and unloading cycles of single linen fibers.

Using a petrographic microscope Fanti was able to separate Shroud linen fibers from dust particles vacuumed from Shroud; the fibers have been mounted on suitable supports and then, with Dr. Pierandred Malfi performed tests of tension and compression after analizing about a dozen of  antique fabrics (from bandages of mummies Egyptians of 3,000 BC, linens of Masada (Israel, 70 AD) and Medieval tissues up to recent ones.

Five mechanical parameters (tensile strength, Young’s modulus in direct and reverse cycle, loss factor and loss factor in reverse cycle) have been selected to obtain five different age-dependent curves of the samples.

After this Fanti has  measured the corresponding mechanical properties of the Shroud finding the corresponding point on the scales just determined. Combining the five mechanical results, the following date for the Shroud results: 400 AD with an uncertainty of plus or minus 400 years at a 95% confidence level.

With Raman and FT-IR spectra the Italian team measured the concentration of particles of particular atomic groups of flax fibers. At the same confidence level, the first produced the date of 200 BC with an uncertainty of plus or minus 500 years, the latter that of the 300 BC with swings forward and back of 400 years.

Combining the two chemical methods with the mechanical one it results a mean date of 33 BC with an uncertainty of plus or minus 250 years at 95% confidence level that is compatible with the period in which Jesus Christ lived in Palestine.

In reference to the mineralogical investigations, the dust vacuumed from the Shroud revealed traces of limestone and clay minerals showing high iron content that is consistent with dust present in Palestine.

Pollen analysis has revealed the permanence of the Shroud in the Middle East/Mediterranean regions with the presence of typical  pollen grains (for example the Cedar of Lebanon).

Note: Although Giulio invited editing to correct English mistakes, I chose not to do so in order to avoid the possibility of introducing errors.

Richard Orareo, Shroud of Turin collector to open national shrine in Wabash, Indiana

imageKevin Kilbane of the Fort Wayne, Indiana paper, The News-Sentinel has written an interesting article about shroud researcher Richard Orareo and his forthcoming museum in Wabash, a city about an hour south of Fort Wayne:

You soon can explore the mystery more deeply when what reportedly is the world’s third-largest collection of Shroud-related items goes on display at the new National Shrine of the Holy Shroud in Wabash, about an hour southwest of Fort Wayne.

“The Shroud is the single-most studied artifact in the history of humanity,” said Richard Orareo, who developed the collection over more than 40 years of searching. He hopes to open the shrine in May.

I look forward to visiting the museum and visiting Richard, with whom I have corresponded and had conversations in the past.

ABR: The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History: Part Two: To the Great City

clip_image001John Long has posted the second part of The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History: To the Great City at Associates for Biblical Research

Excerpt The Shroud of Turin’s Earlier History is a four part review of the historical evidence for the Shroud of Turin from the 1st century to the beginning of the 15th. In Part 1 a mysterious picture slowly emerges from antiquity as a cloth on which Jesus supposedly imprints his face and sends to a king in the northern Mesopotamian city of Edessa. But during the 8th through 10th centuries additional evidence suggests that this is a large, folded cloth depicting Christ’s full, bloodied body.

New Italian Book: The Mystery of the Shroud by Giulio Fanti and Saverio Gaeta

clip_image001There is a new book, Il Mistero della sindone (The Mystery of the Shroud) by Giulio Fanti and Saverio Gaeta. Here is a Bing Translation from the publisher’s site:

"A mystery of the cross and light": that inexplicable and UN-reproducible nature body image imprinted on the towel is the testimony of the passion and death of Jesus, but also of his resurrection. The words uttered by Pope Benedict XVI will return to Shroud the whole truth that scientific research had been trying to downsize. In 1988, the HHH, malluchandaragi dating, scientists determined that the Shroud is a perf VAT at medieval times. Today, thanks to a multidisciplinary work promoted by the University of Padova and lasted fifteen years, the team led by Giulio Fanti proves that radiodating was distorted from environmental contamination, and goes right at the time of the early death of Jesus; that the traces of dust, pollen and spores route toward Middle Eastern origin; the body depicted on linen has undergone violence narrated in the Gospels of the passion; and that the image was produced by the exceptional radiation developed at the time of the resurrection. This book, co-authored by Fahmi and Saverio Gaeta, is the exciting account of a discovery and the narrative of the extraordinary history of the most precious and revered relic of Christendom.

I look forward to an English translation of the book.

News on the Shroud for Good Friday and Holy Saturday

imageEmanuela Marinelli at is doing what she can to help those of us who read English with news about the shroud. You should bookmark her English language page. Here is some material from it with RAI programming details and links. I recommend experimenting with the links before the broadcasts if you want to watch the live stream broadcasts.

  • This is the RAI TV programming concerning the appointments on the Shroud for Good Friday and Holy Saturday:

    • Friday, March 29 – 2:10 p.m. Italian time (1.10 p.m. GMT) – RAI Uno – “A sua immagine”, Good Friday special: L’uomo della Sindone (The Man of the Shroud)

    • Friday, March 29 – 8:30 p.m. Italian time (7:30 p.m. GMT) – RAI Uno – “Porta a Porta”, Good Friday special: Sindone, mistero svelato? (The Shroud, mystery revealed?)

    • Saturday, March 30 – 11:10 a.m Italian time (10:10 a.m. GMT) – RAI Uno – “A sua immagine”, Shroud Special: L’attesa dell’Ostensione (Waiting for the Exhibition)

    • Saturday, March 30 – 5:15 p.m. Italian time (4:15 p.m. GMT) – RAI Uno – “A sua immagine” – Sindone: i segni della Passione (Shroud: The Signs of the Passion)

  • Special TV Exhibition of the Shroud of ‘A Sua Immagine’ on March 30, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. Italian time (10:30 a.m. GMT)

On the occasion of the extraordinary Exhibition of the Shroud, the transmission will follow the event live worldwide on RAI Uno on Saturday March 30, 2013 at 11.30 a.m. Italian time (10:30 a.m. GMT).

After the 2010 Exhibition, which saw the participation of 2 million pilgrims from all over the world, and 40 years after the first TV Exhibition, broadcast live on November 23, 1973, the Shroud, through the cameras of A Sua Immagine will be seen all over the world.

Rosario Carello, with guests in the studio, will reconstruct the history and the deep spiritual meaning of the Holy Cloth, called by Benedict XVI "Icon of Holy Saturday."

We will show images of the unveiling of the Shroud, taken from the shrine in which it is placed and positioned for the Exhibition. We will relive the moments of the past Exhibitions. We will go into the mysterious origin of this image, in order to document the impressive correspondence with the story of the Passion of Christ in the Gospels: the sores, the blood, the wounds of the crown of thorns, the hits of the scourges. (RAI – A Sua Immagine website, 25 Marzo 2013)

  • The Man of the Shroud – Special Good Friday episode of ‘A Sua Immagine’ on March 29, 2013 at 2:10 p.m. Italian time (1:10 p.m. GMT)

It will be the Man of the Shroud the center of the usual Good Friday episode of ‘A Sua Immagine. Rosario Carello, with studio guests, will draw a journey to discover the figure of How tall was Jesus? How was His body? What did His face look like? We will try to reconstruct the image of Christ from the marks on the Shroud.Jesus. Waiting for the TV Exhibition of the Shroud, scheduled for Saturday, March 30, during the broadcast of Friday we will rebuild the identikit of the man Jesus, starting from the linen that wrapped Him in the Sepulchre.

On Good Friday, the day full of greatness and mystery, the traces of the precious relic will lead us into the secret of the Passion of Christ. Francesca Fialdini will lead us in the Museum of the Shroud of Turin, to show us the rebuilding of some objects, symbol of the Passion: the crown, the nails, the cross. We will see how in the Shroud we can see not only the darkness of death, but the light of the Resurrection. During the episode we will go in search of experiences that tell the importance of the Shroud for the spirituality and the faith of contemporary believers. (RAI – A Sua Immagine website, March 25, 2013)

  • The Archbishop of Turin, Mgr Cesare Nosiglia, confirms that he will make the request to Pope Francis to receive a video message that will be transmitted on the occasion of the extraordinary TV Exhibition of the Shroud, on Holy Saturday. He excludes instead the hypothesis, spread on social media, that the Pope can attend in person to the Exhibition.

The declaration was released to the microphones of Prima Radio on March 14, 2013. Below is the text of that declaration:

It is impossible to come [to Turin], it is something absolutely inconceivable, because it is on Holy Saturday, it is a day in which the Pope has the celebration at St. Peter’s church, almost at that time or right after, so it would be something really impossible. The speech was different; it concerned a televised message, also recorded, if necessary (if not that day, because they are very intense days), of a few minutes, about the fact that he could be present during this Exhibition. The thing, I think, was quite possible, even indicatively examined with Benedict XVI, then, obviously, happened what has happened, now we will try to reach him too, having regard also this, let’s say ‘warning’, that he has towards his own Piedmontese land. I hope that we can find an answer, but I do not know, because the days are very intense, very hectic, I think, for him too, so we do not expect nothing, absolutely. But I think that we will try to make the request, and then we will see also if it can be accepted.” (Diocesi di Torino website, March 17, 2013)

  • Exhibition on March 30 is only on television

Access to the Cathedral limited to a small group of young people and sick people. For everyone live broadcast around the world on RAI Uno on March 30. Diocesan Convention on Saturday March 16.

The Exhibition of the Shroud, on Holy Saturday March 30, 2013, will only be "televised": there is no access to the Cathedral except for a small group of sick people and their carers, and young people who have begun the journey of the Synod. Mgr. Nosiglia, presenting the initiative last Friday to reporters,  explained the meaning and the terms of this extraordinary "event": to offer to television viewers all over the world images of the Shroud, in the context of their prayer of Holy Saturday, as a chance to reflect on the suffering and death of Christ, and the pain in the contemporary world.

So this is a TV show, not a "pilgrimage to the Shroud" as the latest Exhibitions were. The broadcast will air on the afternoon of 30 March on RAI Uno (the exact time will be specified by RAI). the public will not be able to access in any way to the Duomo; the same Piazza San Giovanni will not be fully accessible, since it will receive, first of all, transit and parking of vehicles transporting the sick people.

The information will be disseminated not only on the diocesan website, but also on the Voce del Popolo (Turin Diocese’s weekly magazine) and on the website and

The Web-TV will try to make the visitors participate in the event. The time of the Exhibition is being developed and it will be communicated as soon as possible. (Diocese of Turin website, March 8, 2013)

Source: Collegamento pro Sindone – News

RAI Uno Shroud Exhibit

clip_image001Maria da Glória writes:

I can’t help sending you this e-mail because I was eagerly searching RAI uno website to know at what time will be Shroud exhibit bradcast and I’ve just known it will happen next saturday March 30 at 17:15 ( ITALIAN TIME)  from San Giovanni Battista cathedral.

I’ll tell you the steps I followed:

I «googled» RAI uno and in the website searched « Guida Programmi, Sab 30» and found « 17:15 Da Duomo di Torino A sua immagine Sindone i segni della Passione » ( I guess it translates in english «From the cathedral of Turin her Shroud Image the sign of the Passion» )

It’s a duty to share  this information  just now, with all the «Shroudies» of your wonderful blog.

Okay, here is what I have found:

1)  You can stream RAI Uno here.

2)  For smartphones and tablets check you App store. I found a good app in the Apple iPhone store. It’s free and works well if you have Wi-Fi access.

Russ Breault at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Pompano Beach

imageRuss Breault writes:

I will be speaking at Saint Gabriel Catholic Church at 731 North Ocean Blvd in Pompano Beach, FL on Sunday April 7th at 4:00 PM.  It is sponsored by Cross International.  It is a fund raiser for their humanitarian relief efforts around the world so there will be a $15 admission fee or $12 in advance. 

Cross International Link

Sun Sentinel Article 

Palm Sunday: Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem


From the The Lower Papal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.  By Pietro Lorenzetti ca. 1320

Stephen Jones adds another part to his series

clip_image001Stephen Jones has added a new part to his Shroud of Turin series. He explains:

Here is "2.6. The other marks" (3): Dirt on foot and limestone, which is part 14 of my series, "The Shroud of Turin." The previous post in this series was part 13, "2.6. The other marks" (2): Poker holes." See the Contents page (part 1) for more information about this series. This page had previously been posted as part of a combined "Poker holes, dirt on foot and limestone" post, but I later expanded the `poker holes’ section, which made the post too long, so I decided to separate out the "dirt on foot and limestone" part and repost it, hence this post.

He writes:

Dirt on foot In 1978 STURP (Shroud of Turin Project) members, husband and wife Roger and Marty Gilbert, while carrying out reflectance spectroscopy on the Shroud, discovered an unusual spectral signal from the heel of the right foot on the dorsal side[1] and nowhere else on the Shroud[2]. As we saw in "2.5. The bloodstains" there is a clear imprint of the right foot only and that only on the dorsal side of the Shroud[3]. When the area was examined under a microscope, dirt particles could be seen deep between the threads[4]. It is logical to find dirt on the foot of a man who wore sandals, as Jesus did (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:7; Jn 1:27)[5], and who would have been barefoot before he was crucified[6]. That the dirt is not a later contamination is shown by it being under the bloodstains on the foot[7]. But the dirt is not easily seen with the naked eye[8], so no forger would have put it there[9]. Therefore this is yet another problem for the forgery theory[§11].

The picture is from Jones’ blog. He provides this description: “bloodstains and image of the right foot, on the dorsal side of the Shroud: Shroud Scope: Durante 2002 Vertical. The heel is lower left.”

Three New Shroud of Turin Websites to Watch

image1)  From Paolo Di Lazzaro — This is actually a site map within a site at ENEA. The title says it all:

Gli studi sulla formazione dell’immagine della Sindone di Torino
(esperimenti condotti dal 2005)

Experiments about the generation of the image on the Shroud of Turin
(since 2005)

The site includes direct links to all of the ENEA staff shroud papers, a short movie, and some very recent photos of experiments

2)  From Colin Berry – This is a new site hosted as a blog. It is Colin’s latest strategy to try to get the attention of Sir Paul Nurse and the Royal Society (the UK’s academy of science). He wants them involved in shroud science. The chalkboard design and prejudicial wording of his home page clearly says it all:


I don’t think some of us are Colin’s favorite people as he writes (in chalk):

David Rolfe (already mentioned), scientists who freely admit to having theology as part of their remit: Dr.John Jackson of the Shroud Center, Colorado, subject of the Rolfe documentary, Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro of ENSA, Professor Luigi Fanti. Other individuals whose activities are questionable re pseudoscience: Daniel R Porter, Thibault Heimburger, MD, Barrie M. Schwortz, Russ Breault, Andy Weiss, Pam Moon, John Klotz, possibly a few more.

I actually hope he pulls it off. I can’t think of better publicity leading to better incentives and perhaps some money for further studies for the shroud. Is it going to happen? I doubt it.

3)  From Gian Marco Rinaldi comes “An entirely new website of the Turin Center [that] is under construction.  It is, apparently, a replacement for the so-called “official” Shroud of Turin website,


And in Canterbury

imageJustin Welby Enthroned As Archbishop Of Canterbury And Leader Anglican Communion

March 21 (Reuters) – The new spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans was enthroned by a female cleric on Thursday, taking the helm at a time when the troubled church risks tearing itself apart over gay marriage and women bishops.

In a colourful ceremony featuring African dancers, Punjabi music and Anglican hymns, Justin Welby, 57, officially became the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury [—going back well before the split with Rome –] under the gothic arches of Britain’s 900-year-old Canterbury Cathedral in front of a congregation that included heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, Prime Minister David Cameron and other establishment figures.

For the first time in the Christian church’s history, the priest who placed him on the diocesan throne in Canterbury – the mother church of the Church of England and of the Anglican Communion – was a woman, Archdeacon of Canterbury Sheila Watson.
Another, male, priest then installed Welby in the chair of St. Augustine, marking his inauguration as Primate of All England and spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Welby, who is against gay marriage but favours the ordination of women as bishops, now faces a tough balancing act to keep the 80 million-strong Anglican Communion together.

Pope Francis sent a message from the Vatican:

”Please be assured of my prayers as you take up your new responsibilities, and I ask you to pray for me as I respond to the new call that the Lord has addressed to me," he said.

"I look forward to meeting you in the near future, and to continuing the warm fraternal relations that our predecessors enjoyed."

Justin Welby Enthroned As Archbishop Of Canterbury And Leader Anglican Communion (PHOTOS) (VIDEO)

In Francis, what is there not to like?

clip_image001In The Dish, Andrew Sullivan in an article, Francis Emerges first quotes Pope Francis and then puts some useful spin on it.

[Francis says:]

“Given that many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I give this blessing from my heart, in silence, to each one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you, but knowing that each one of you is a child of God. May God bless you.”

Respecting the conscience of each of you. That might seem to be the bleeding obvious – but it isn’t in the context of Benedict’s theological reign, which was far longer than his pontifical one. Benedict wanted to place conscience below revelation as authoritatively adjudicated by … himself. The central place of individual conscience established at the Second Council was left to wither in favor of a public, uniform religion. He seemed to me to want ultimately to restore the seamless cultural-political-religious unity of the Bavaria of his youth; and if the public square were empty, it had to be filled with religious authority. He tried. In the West, the public square moved in the opposite direction. He hunkered down, hoping for a smaller, purer church. What he got was a smaller one, but beset by scandal and internal division and a legacy of the most horrendous of crimes.

Francis seems to me to be taking the world as it is, but showing us a different way of living in it. These are first impressions, but there seems much less fear there of the modern world, much greater ease with humanity. . . .

And a picture, this one by Franco Origlia/Getty Images, can be worth a thousand words. But a friend, a Roman Catholic, wants him to wear symbolic “shoes of the fisherman,” even if “red Prada” was a bit too much.

Of Hunches and Intuition: Neuroscience and the Shroud of Turin

In a Huffington Post blog, Psychologist Kelly Bulkeley, a Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley asks Does Neuroscience Require a Rejection of Religion?

imageIn the preceding paragraphs [from his book, A Portrait of the Brain, Adam] Zeman acknowledges that philosophers like Thomas Nagel, Colin McGinn and David Chalmers have raised devastating critical questions about physicalism that he cannot refute. Yet he decides to accept physicalism anyway, based on what he calls a "hunch," a strong "intuition," and something he "suspect(s)" about the crypto-religious beliefs of those who do not accept physicalism.

These personal sentiments may be enough for Zeman to persuade himself, but they certainly do not qualify as a rational, evidence-based argument in favor of physicalism.

And I sense shroud science like studies of consciousness are at a stage – we don’t know enough or we can’t know enough – that we rely on hunches and intuition. I imagine this may be true for committed  believers like Giulio Fanti and John Jackson and strong skeptics like Colin Berry and Joe Nickel.  

Of laser like light and scorching

imageJohn Klotz asks of The image on the Turin Shroud: Is a laser like light the explanation? in his Living Free blog:

There is debate among individuals who study the Shroud of Turin as to whether or not the image of a crucified man that appears on it is a scorch. I think one of the problems when discussing the scorch theory is defining a scorch. In common parlance, perhaps all of parlance, a scorch is the result of extreme heat. However,  pure light can have effects that mimic a scorch when it ages something – as it can do.

As part of this question he wonders:

Applying Occam’s razor, could it be that the "simplest explanation" of the image is in fact the Resurrection?

I talked with John last evening. We are on the same wavelength on this – well almost, I think. I told him that my favorite concept from Thomas Aquinas had to do with a question about angels – Thomas was big into angels.  For me it is more metaphor. Anyway, the question is this. Must an angel in going from point A to point B pass through the in between? In other words does divine action require time, space and a process. For instance can you have a chemical change of state without a chemical reaction? When it comes to image formation, could it be by something other than light or any form of energy, as we imagine such processes occurring, because our view is so limited by the limitations of science? Is quantum physics a hint of something even beyond quantum physics? Is Resurrection beyond anything we can imagine? If light can do what heat can do can something else we don’t know about and don’t have a name for create/make/leave an image?

Is light a metaphor for something more than light?

Okay, Colin, I’ve created a problem for you. Your terms, “funny fizics, the conjured-up chemystery, and the fantasizing fizziology” just aren’t adequate to describe all this.

And John, maybe you don’t want to be on the same wavelength with me and my funny-fuzzy-filosophy.

More from the tours of the nine replicas

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.

clip_image001And a nice family posting by “Dad”. Enjoy it.

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:

imageThe 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:

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.

Was the Shroud of Turin a Tablecloth?

Matthias, by way of an off topic comment, asks:

I know there has been some discussion in the past that the shroud might have been the table cloth for Christ’s last supper…a Jewish scholar has denied this…however there seems to be some evidence that table cloths WERE used by Jews around Christ’s time ie:refer here

Try this Link to Book  &   And this Link to Book

“thoughts?” he asks

I thought you would never ask. Back in August of 2011, I posted here in the blog, Paper Chase: Was the Shroud of Turin Also the Tablecloth of the Last Supper?:

* * * Repeat Posting * * *

imageEvery now and then we hear that the Shroud of Turin might have been a tablecloth used at the Last Supper before it was Jesus’ primary burial cloth.

I’m not convinced. I’m not convinced that a tablecloth was used by most or any Jews at the time of Christ. And if so, does it even matter?

A paper, Was the Shroud of Turin also the Tablecloth of the Last Supper? by John and Rebecca Jackson appears on the web, in Italian. (I’m looking for an English version). In the meantime, if you are not proficient in Italian, you can use Google Toolbar or Microsoft Bing to read a reasonable translation in English. Here are the first four paragraphs as translated by Google:

In this paper we present the hypothesis that the relic of the ‘ Last Supper , that the cloth was used for the table, still exists. For reasons which we will discuss, we will show that this tablecloth, a requirement for the Jewish Passover is the time of Christ, in fact, the Shroud of Turin. We believe that the Shroud of Turin is at the same time, the burial cloth of Jesus and the cloth for the Lord’s Supper served. If so, it would represent an important archaeological evidence of the first Eucharist.

We present our study only as a hypothesis that we wish could provoke further scientific research. This study represents a further deepening of what has been presented at the Conference on the Face of Faces, Christ, held in 1998. 1 We argued, then, is that the Shroud of Turin, exposed to Constantinople in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, was actually the burial cloth of Jesus is that the fire occurred in 1532 meant that the test did the carbon be more recent than it actually was. 2 also indicate several studies showing that the Shroud and its image has different features, cultural and ethnological Jewish origin that proved it to be placed in the first century 3 .

If the Shroud of Turin is the actual, historical burial cloth of Jesus Christ, then it would have to be present at the historical foundation of the Church when it is extended out of its cradle of Judaism. After the events of the Gospel of the Passion, Death and Resurrection, began immediately powerful currents of traditions, theologies and liturgies based on the Resurrection. If the Shroud was the property of the original Judeo-Christian communities, it is then possible, and perhaps inevitable that it (the Shroud) was involved in the dynamics of development and growth of the early Church.

Noting that writing and art were used to obtain information on the history of the Shroud, we suggest that the Liturgy of the Church is also another potential vehicle of historical information that can be examined.

Rabbi Samson H. Levey, Emeritus Professor of Rabbinics and Jewish Religious Thought at Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles, provides some answers to the question. This appears on Barrie Schwortz’ website.

I. To get a clear picture of Jewish life and practice during the first two centuries C.E. we must rely on the primary Tannaitic sources, namely the Mishnah, the Tosefta and the other Tannaitic passages dispersed throughout the Talmudim of Babylon (Bavli) and of the Land of Israel (Yerushalim).

During this period, a table was used for meals… We find no evidence that the Jewish people used different tables for the Sabbath and festivals, including Passover, than they ordinarily used; although they probably subjected it to a thorough cleaning, same as the rest of the house, to clear away the leaven immediately before Passover. (Mishnah, Pesahim, Ch.1 et passim)

What did the table look like? It had a square top (sometimes also a square bottom), usually made of wood, (Mishnah Kelim 16:1), pottery (Mishnah Kelim 2:3); overlaid with marble (ibid 22:1). It usually had three legs (ibid 22:2), and could accommodate three or four people. For larger groups, such as weddings, long boards were used (called dahavanot) (Tosefta Kelim, Baba Metzia, 5:3).

II. Table Cover: Food was ordinarily eaten off the bare table top (Bavli, Baba Batra 57b), and only the intellectual elite seem to have used a cloth to cover part of the small table for use as napkins to wipe their lips after eating (ibid). According to Maimonides, the Mishnah refers to a leather table covering (skortia), probably designed to protect the table from the elements (Mishnah Kelim 16:4). The only explicit reference to "a cover for tables" (Mishnah Makshirin 5:8) is explained as a sheet spread over the food (not the bare table) to protect it from flies and other insects. (M.Jastrow, Dictionary, vol.II, p.1396, col.1, bot. sub Kesiyah, Cf. P.Blackman, Mishnah VI, 682).

III. A sheet of any cloth, including a mixture of materials (shatnez) may be used as a shroud (Mishnah Kilayim 9:4). It is unlikely that one would be buried in an unclean sheet. The Tannaitic principle is expressed by Rabbi Meir (second century), that at the Resurrection the dead will arise wearing the same garments in which they were interred, and unclean raiment would be a disgrace (Bavli Sanhedrin 90b). Rabban Gamallel (first century) instituted the use of a plain linen shroud for everyone (Bavli Moed Katan 27b. Cf. Matthew 27:59).

De Wesselow’ Story Spreads to the Mainstream Mother Nature Network

imageMother Nature Network has picked up Stephanie Pappas’ article from LiveScience published last April about de Wesselow’s book. MNN is a significant MSM online family, lifestyle and environmental issues journal, with a large readership. So here it is again if you missed it before (I seem to have):

"It’s nothing like any other medieval work of art," de Wesselow said. "There’s just nothing like it." [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus]

Among the anachronisms, de Wesselow said, is the realistic nature of the body outline. No one was painting that realistically in the 14th century, he said. Similarly, the body image is in negative (light areas are dark and vice versa), a style not seen until the advent of photography centuries later, he said.

"From an art historian’s point of view, it’s completely inexplicable as a work of art of this period," de Wesselow said.

Note: The bracketed [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus] was not added to the text by me.