So which hypothesis, of all those ever proposed, do I prefer?

imageMark Antonacci, author of The Resurrection of the Shroud, writes:

Thanks for posting the full press release of April 18th about molecular and sub-atomic testing of the Shroud on your blog.

In reply to some of the brief comments about it, could you post the following:

The current issue of Time magazine (that I received on 4/20) states in an article about Pope Francis by Cardinal Dolan that "the Pontiff earned a master’s degree in chemistry."  I have seen similar statements previously, but did not notice whether lower or upper case was used in describing the degree.  I assume Master was the name of the degree that he received (I believe before he began his religious studies in earnest), and that either upper or lower case is appropriate, whether this degree exactly matches a two year post-graduate degree or not.

Also, all naturalistic and artistic methods that have been proposed since Vignon and Delage’s initial scientific study in 1900-02 have failed to duplicate the many body image features (or blood marks) found throughout the Shroud’s full-length images.

I don’t think anyone is faulting you for saying that Pope Francis has a masters or Masters degree in chemistry. Look at this list:

  • Forbes: Pope Francis, Scientist: “Or at least, he was. When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was a young man, he graduated from technical school as a Chemical Technician. He then earned his Masters Degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aries. It was only after that that he decided to become a priest.”
  • USA Today: A scientist pope and high-tech Catholicism: “Many of us are still trying to learn about the new pontiff. We know a few things already. He is not only a man of faith, but also science — a chemist, by training.”
  • NBC: Meet the new pope: Francis is humble leader who takes the bus to work: “Francis earned a degree in chemistry and was ordained a priest in December 1969. He was named archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998.” and “He has a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires.”
  • Parade: 10 Things to Know About Pope Francis: “He’s a scientist. On top of his philosophy degree from the Catholic University of Buenos Aires, he also has a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires.”

Live Science, the Telegraph, the Guardian, Biography, Catholic News, Christian Post, Chronicles of Higher Education . . . The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and The Associated Press all just say he studied as or was trained as a chemist without any specifics.

It is probably wise to look to his official Vatican biography published at It reads, in part:

He was born in Buenos Aires on 17 December 1936, the son of Italian immigrants. His father Mario was an accountant employed by the railways and his mother Regina Sivori was a committed wife dedicated to raising their five children. He graduated as a chemical technician and then chose the path of the priesthood, entering the Diocesan Seminary of Villa Devoto. On 11 March 1958 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. He completed his studies of the humanities in Chile and returned to Argentina in 1963 to graduate with a degree in philosophy from the Colegio de San José in San Miguel. From 1964 to 1965 he taught literature and psychology at Immaculate Conception College in Santa Fé and in 1966 he taught the same subject at the Colegio del Salvatore in Buenos Aires. From 1967-70 he studied theology and obtained a degree from the Colegio of San José.

It should be noted that in all likelihood the title “chemical technician” was a high school diploma as recently reported in o the Argentine paper, La Nacion in a the article, Jorge Bergoglio, un sacerdote jesuita de carrera.  It should also be noted that his biography says he then choose the path of the priesthood. That was at age 21, a young age for completing a university masters degree program.

The biography does not suggest the word masters, uppercase or otherwise. It is probably best to conform.

As for the statement . . .

Also, all naturalistic and artistic methods that have been proposed since Vignon and Delage’s initial scientific study in 1900-02 have failed to duplicate the many body image features (or blood marks) found throughout the Shroud’s full-length images.

. . .  I agree. I still agree if you strike the words naturalistic and artistic and just say all methods.

By the way: I have to add the words, “so far” in order to fully agree.

By the way number two: I consider any image caused by radiation, of any kind, naturalistic. The only question is where the very natural radiation came from. I remain totally unconvinced from any evidence or by any argument so far presented that miracles produce energetic byproducts.

So which hypothesis, of all those ever proposed, do I prefer? None!

8 thoughts on “So which hypothesis, of all those ever proposed, do I prefer?”

  1. Whether Francis I has a Master’s degree in Chemistry or not will make no difference to Shroud research, at least for the time being. His attention is now turned to studying the brain chemistry of those in the Curia.

    1. And why not making also a proper check-up of the heart of those in the Curia??? ;-) Here in Quebec, we got a nice expression that fits pretty well concerning the situation of the Curia at the Vatican : Power is a heady wine! It’s time for a big change there my friends. Anyway, since I’m a free thinker and put a lot more value on my own consciousness and spiritual experience of God than on what some old guys in Rome are doing, thinking and saying about God, the fact that there will be some changes or not is not that important to me in the end. The only sad thing (but maybe this is a will of the Holy Spirit), is this: if things remains unchanged, the Catholic Church will fall to the ground in a near future. Who knows if that’s not what would be the best thing to happen? Every Resurrection needs a death first…

  2. It is not up to you, Yannick, to decide what is needed to be done in Catholic Church. Catholics will decide themselves without the “good intentions” from outsiders :)

  3. Yannick, if your a catholic you know what Christ said about his church and the gates of hades not prevailing over it right?

  4. Free-thinkers! A quaint out-moded movement dating back to Theophile de Viau (a self-contradictory cognomen) 1590-1626, as a reaction to his Calvinist-Huguenot roots, more an aspiring poet and dramatist rather than a philosopher. In the 18th century it became associated with the philsophes or libertins, all with divergent views, but united in their arrogant conviction of the supremacy and total efficacy of human reason. It included such worthies as Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Diderot and the like, united in their anti-clericalism, and lacking the humility to admit the possibility of any kind of divine revelation whatsoever. It can boast as its ultimate logical outcome the Reign of Terror which followed the French Revolution, the founding of Freemasonry, and Free-thinkers dominated the French Academy of Science when Yves Delage attempted to present a scientific paper on the forensics of the Shroud of Turin. Having no objective criterion but one’s own subjective interpretation of what comprises adequate reason, it ultimately led to the totally subjective philosophy of Michel Foucault and others of his ilk. These are they who would turn their backs on the Act of Providence that bestowed a Church which is heir to Christ’s guarantee of the charism of a divine authority. I assert that enlightened humility is a precious virtue!

  5. And this is the sad thing about the Shroud, that even if one day it is proven to be the death shroud of Jesus, Christians will still argue and debate over its significance and exploit it to prove their own religious dogmatic convictions. If this precious relic cannot unify us by its awesome existence then it would be better it be proven a fraud.

  6. I have yet to see a Catholic chained to the altar or a bench in his Church. The door is always open for him to leave. And always open for him to return.

    Some left, had second thoughts, and returned, and that was the case, for example, of Professor Francis Beckwith, at Baylor University, author of “Return to Rome”.

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