On November 1, 2013, Charles Freeman noticed that the title of Mark Antonacci’s petition read, “We Request That Pope Francis Allow Sophisticated and Minimally Scientific Testing to be Performed on the Shroud of Turin.”
“Minimally scientific.” It was good for a laugh or two and the mistake seemed innocent enough. It was quickly corrected. Ellie Jones let us know:
This was definitely an error in the typing of the headline of the petition. The petition has been corrected to reflect minimally-INVASIVE, not minimally-scientific. The petition was updated a week ago and the word invasive was inadvertently omitted.
But now we must wonder, why is a petition being “updated” after most of the signatories have signed it?
A press release on May 21, 2013, read, “Antonacci is currently petitioning Pope Francis . . . to allow further, non-invasive testing of this burial cloth.” (emphasis mine)
A press release on October 29, 2013, read, “Proposed Minimally-Invasive, Scientific Testing of the Shroud of Turin Endorsed by Shroud Expert,” which is now, of course, what the petition states: minimally-invasive. (emphasis mine)
Is it not highly unusual to change a petition’s wording after many people have signed it?
There is a big difference between non-invasive and minimally-invasive. I support the one and not the other, with the possible exception of carbon dating. Did at least half of the signatories of the petition think they were signing on for non-invasive testing because they relied on the May 21 press release or on whatever wording existed in the petition before it was changed? What did it say? Were signatories informed that the petition they had signed had been updated? Were they given the opportunity to reconsider?