By way of a comprehensive comment, Joe Marino wisely advises:
There are still a lot of people who believe the 1988 tests prove the Shroud to be a fake. Perhaps most of those people won’t change their minds because they’re happy for the Shroud not to be real. But some people might change their minds if they’re informed of all the pertinent facts. If nothing else but for the sake of those people, I think it’s worth discussing why the dating was unreliable.
Gian Marco Rinaldi has posted some information from the Italian documentary “Night of the Shroud.” [See: The Carbon Dating of the the Shroud: Will we ever know what really happened?] Below is some information I put together that also includes data from that documentary:
We all know that Michael Tite, the overseer from the British Museum for the 1988 dating, took over for Teddy Hall when he retired and after some anonymous businessmen donated 1 million pounds to Oxford for ostensibly having proven the Shroud a fake. If nothing else, it just looks shady.
I’ve discovered some other relationships that also appear to be alarming along with many indications of political maneuvering. The Italian Documentary “The Night of the Shroud” made the following observations:
*On January 4, 1984, Teddy Hall wrote a letter to a member of the Academy, Prof. Porter to encourage the Vatican to allow C-14 testing. A copy of the letter was sent to the President of the Academy, Carlos Chagas and also to the Vatican. But the copy to the Vatican only contained the 1st page, which criticized STURP, but without saying why.
*Chagas later wrote Cardinal Ballestrero that everything was going fine but then turned around and wrote the Vatican saying there were problems with Ballestrero.
*In 1985, Harry Gove produced at the Trondheim C-14 conference a suggested protocol for the Shroud C-14 dating. Chagas let only another Academy member, NASA scientist Victor Canuto, to review the protocol.
*One person in the documentary said that Gove had Chagas in his pocket.
*In July 1985, after STURP submitted their test proposal, Chagas again had Canuto review it. Chagas reported as his own Canuto’s report, which criticized STURP’s proposal to do a C-14 in conjunction with 25 other tests.
*On July 13, 1985 Cardinal Ratzinger approved for a 2nd time STURP’s 26 test proposal.
*On July 22, 1985, Harry Gove met with Victor Canuto.
*During the Turin workshop meeting in September 1986, Chagas asked Canuto to come up with a summary of proposals. According to William Meacham, the text did not reflect what everyone had agreed upon. Luigi Gonella, Cardinal Ballestrero’s advisor, requested corrections be made but that wasn’t done. The text was not signed by anyone but was presented by Chagas as the agreement with Church authorities.
*Cardinal Ballestrero wrote a letter to the Vatican Secretariat of State regarding the strange behavior of Chagas.
*On May 21, 1987, the Secretariat of State said that there would be 3 labs, 3 samples and 1 sample site.
*On October 10, 1987, Cardinal Ballestrero made an official announcement regarding the number of labs and samples.
*Gove, upset at not being 1 of the 3 labs, contacted the Papal Nuncio, American Senators and the Ambassador to the Vatican, but to no avail.
*The 3 chosen labs all wrote letters to the authorities that were the exact wording of the letter that Gove had sent to the Nuncio, Senators & Vatican Ambassador. The letter from the Zurich lab was postmarked in Rochester, where Gove lived.
*The Secretariat of State informed Cardinal Ballestrero that only the C-14 test should be done.
*Only Cardinal Ballestrero and Michael Tite put the samples in the containers for the labs. (Although there was something like 22 hours of videotape, the putting of the samples into the containers was the only part of the procedures that wasn’t filmed.)
*About 2 weeks after the dating, Chagas was removed as President of the Academy. (I learned from another source that the announcement was made by a Msgr Renato Dardozzo, who will come up again shortly.)
*The late Professor Jerome LeJeune, a member of the Academy, publicly stated that further analysis of the C-14 results needed to be made.
This next part does not come from the Italian documentary. I discovered that Msgr. Renato Dardozzo was the Chancellor of the Academy (i.e, Chagas’ right-hand man). According to June 3, 2009 article in “The Guardian” (UK) (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/jun/03/vatican-central-bank) Dardozzo smuggled out more than 4,000 documents pertaining to the scandal-racked Vatican Bank. The article says, “It is interesting to note that Dardozzi’s motive for turning whistleblower was not unalloyed disapproval of the IOR’s unethical conduct. His decision to smuggle his secret archive out of the Vatican was motivated, at least in part, by anger at the Institute’s refusal to pay him a commission on the sale of a valuable real estate property near Florence. The unusual monsignor wanted to leave the money to his adoptive daughter, who health condition required expensive treatment.”
So, we have a financially-needy monsignor, who was the right-hand man to Chagas, alleged to be in Harry Gove’s pocket. If there was a million dollar pound donation available for the Oxford lab for ostensibly having proven the Shroud to be a fake, were there additional “donations” to pass around to key authorities to make sure that certain actions would take place for the C-14 dating of the Shroud? While there’s no hard proof, it once again looks suspicious.
I know an ex-NASA scientist who knows Victor Canuto. The scientist asked Canuto for the story about the C-14 dating–but Canuto wouldn’t tell him a thing.
With all of the above circumstances, the last thing that should be done is to blindly accept the results of the 1988 dating.