Barrie Schwortz on EWTN Recently

He joins Fr. Joseph Mary Wolfe to discuss the shroud on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), the American-based television network of around-the-clock Catholic-themed programming. The 56 minute broadcast was November 6, 2013.

46 thoughts on “Barrie Schwortz on EWTN Recently”

  1. I didn’t listen to all of this-there were too many assertions made that are contested and having asked around anyone who knows about blood I still haven’t found anyone who has ever seen bright red blood used in a criminal trial as evidence that the injured/deceased was tortured before death – yet it seems to be Barry’s clinching argument.
    I see that the debates over blood rage on elsewhere.
    There is just one simple point I want to add- it seems. from these debates, that if the Shroud is not authentic, it must be a forgery. In fact there is a third possibility, that it was a painted cloth made for some other function that became venerated (as an icon) and was then ADOPTED as the genuine burial shroud of Jesus. I take it that this is what Kaeuper and Kennedy believe when they write in their little book on Geoffrey de Charny and his treatise on knights that after de Charny’s death, Jeanne de Vigny, now his widow, and clergy ‘blurred the crucial line between icon and relic’ (p.41).
    I think this possibility needs recording to make for a more nuanced discussion.

    1. I suspect when most of us use the term forgery/fake we are really meaning man-made, versus not man-made. Yannick mentioned these distinctions in one of his papers. The Shroud, if authentic, could be from a man who was not Christ (but suffered similar wounds). Colin also mentioned the possibility you’ve noted as well.

      My own conclusion from all the debating is this: if the Shroud is man-made it is the result of one of the most unnecessarily complex formation processes a medieval artist could conceive of.

    2. Charles wrote: “There is just one simple point I want to add- it seems. from these debates, that if the Shroud is not authentic, it must be a forgery. In fact there is a third possibility, that it was a painted cloth made for some other function that became venerated (as an icon) and was then ADOPTED as the genuine burial shroud of Jesus.”

      Charles, you can forget that one! The evidence of the bloodstains is there to contradict completely such a scenario. Read the paper written by Yannick about that (link: http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/n76part5.pdf) and, at the end of your reading, I hope an intelligent and rational guy like you will agree with him that, because of this important evidence coming from the bloodstains (which is too often forgotten or left aside or denied by the skeptics) there are only 4 possible scenarios to explain the Shroud and not a single one of those include the possibility of a man made forgery. This path is a dead end my friend.

      Concerning the forgery thesis, I’m affraid the Shroud image can only be a natural (and most probably) accidental product of a forger who would originally tried to replicate the bloody stigmata of Christ by enveloping for some time the real crucified corpse of a man who suffered the same tortured than Jesus as reported by the Gospels (including the crowning with a cap of thorns) in a burial cloth. Then, after a certain time (which must have been of something between 24 and 48 hours), it is possible that our very gruesome and hyper-realistic forger would have found, most probably to his astonishment, that he not only succeeded to replicate the stigmata of Christ but also to imprint a body image of the crucified man on the cloth. It is also possible, because the Shroud image is possibly a latent sort of image that could have taken decades to become visible, that our highly hypothetical forger would only have discovered the body image many years later.

      Seriously, in face of all the data coming from the Shroud, if someone pretend it to be the work of a forger, I don’t think he has the right to defend another scenario than the one I just describe (except a similar scenario involving the same kind of forgery but with a forger who would have been aware of the fact that he would get a body image of his crucified victim on the cloth). Seriously, when you analyze the level of probability for such an extravagant scenario to be true, you end up with a very low result! In my mind, it’s much more plausible to think the Shroud is just want tradition say it is: the authentic burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. Note: this statement doesn’t imply that some form of miraculous process must have been active in order to produce the body imprint on the cloth.

      And concerning your statement “I still haven’t found anyone who has ever seen bright red blood used in a criminal trial as evidence that the injured/deceased was tortured before death – yet it seems to be Barry’s clinching argument.”, I think you misunderstood a bit the heart of what Barrie meant because I think that all he wanted to express was precisely the opposite of what you said. Yes, I think that Barrie wanted to say that it’s only when he found out a real credible and rational explanation for the reddish aspect of the blood that he became fully convinced that the Shroud was really authentic. In the end, it’s not the reddish aspect of the blood that was understood by him “as evidence that the injured/deceased was tortured before death” but the opposite: it’s the fact that there is a much higher than normal level of bilirubin in the bloodstains (which is a sign of a great suffering of the Shroud man prior to his death and which caused the blood to remain read until this day with maybe the help of possible presence of saponaria residues on the cloth, which still need to be proven) that was understood by Barrie as a sort of “definitive” evidence of the authenticity of the cloth (but only after he put it alongside all the other solid pieces of evidence that exist to support such a conclusion).

  2. By the way, after having seen and heard a lot of interviews done by Barrie, it was the first time I heard him say clearly that the bloodstains on the Shroud are made of exudates of moistened blood clots, which is a very good thing, because it is a crucial aspect of the bloodstains (and, by extrapolation, of the serum stains) that should help the public to understand that the blood on the Shroud is NO ORDINARY BLOOD! This is much too often forgotten or misunderstood by people interested in the Shroud, while it is probably the most important data coming from the Shroud to support the authenticity of the relic as the real burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth!

    So, bravo Barrie for your presence of mind concerning the very particular nature of the bloodstains on the Shroud and I surely hope that, in future interviews and public lectures, you will keep on emphasizing the fact that what’s as stained the Shroud is NO ORDINARY BLOOD. This is VERY IMPORTANT.

    1. OK, so, you set out in Mode 1 to show that the Shroud is authentic, with blood of expected imprint character and composition. But when you find it’s not, you switch to Mode 2, saying that because the Shroud IS authentic, one would not expect the blood picture to be typical, due to crucifixion trauma, to miraculous imprinting processes etc.

      OK, you are allowed to switch from Mode 1 to Mode 2, from a sceptical stance to a believer’s stance. What you are not allowed to do is switch back to Mode 1 again in order to diss someone still in Mode 1, still framing and testing scientific hypotheses about image formation. You are not allowed to tell that researcher that the “evidence” of the blood disproves their hypothesis, not when the so-called evidence rests on a number of allegedly miraculous processes. It is not evidence. It is a narrative – an agenda-driven narrative – an attempt to shoe-horn facts into a model, instead of fitting a model to facts. You cannot intermix science with magic, and still pretend to be scientific. You have forfeited the right to posture as a student of science.

      If you choose Mode 2, then you must stay in Mode 2, and not attempt to cramp the style of those of us still in Mode 1. To do so repeatedly is not just unscientific. It is discourteous.

      1. The bloodstains on the Shroud are both physically and chemically typical of any highly traumatized body that was tortured, scourged and who died by crucifixion. Therefore, it cannot be anything else than a burial cloth that enveloped for less than 48 hours a real dead body of a real crucified man and this could have been done by a forger who wanted to replicate the bloody stigmata of Christ (highly improbable scenario) or by some persons during a real Jewish burial procedure involving the corpse of Jesus or of another person looking like him. So, I don’t know what you tried to express with me using two different mode of expression.

    1. Precision Emmett: The Shroud is a man made object (most probably manufactured during the Antiquity), the image on it is not…

  3. Charles, I think that your idea that the shroud may be a man-made object without necessarily being a deliberate and cynical manufacture in an attempt to extract money from the gullible is very sensible. I wonder if I may ask you something, being somewhat of an authority on relics? Would you agree that the the 13th century is a little late in the day for an elaborate forgery? I have gained the impression from somewhere that relic hysteria was in its heyday more like the 9th or 10th centuries, and that enthusiasm (or possibly credulousness) was waning by the time the shroud was established at Lirey. The Wikipedia article on relics says: “The growth in the production and popularity of reproducible contact relics in the fifth and sixth centuries testifies to the need felt for more widespread access to the divine,” which may represent the beginnings of the craze, and the decree of the Council of Nicea, in 787, that every altar should contain a relic may mark the beginning of the decline. By the Council of Trent (1563) they were almost being positively discouraged.
    I should be interested in your thoughts.

    1. If you are interested in mine, mass production of faked relics is another myth widespread from the times of Reformation and Enlightment. I am currently preparing an article about relics of burial cloths of Christ venerated through centuries, and they are not so many.

    2. Hugh- you are getting dangerously close to being recommended to read my Holy Bones, Holy Dust, How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe.
      You are broadly right- as early as the twelfth century Guibert of Nogent was warning of faked miracles and relics that could not be what they said they were. I think it was the growing numbers of pilgrimages from the thirteenth century onwards that was important as people would come across the fifth thighbone of St.Peter as they travelled from one part of Europe to another and so a gradual scepticism crept in.This was fuelled by rival shrines discrediting each other and appealing to the pope to get their relic authenticated and their rival condemned. The Shroud itself is a good example of a relic that, in the medieval period, never got church approval other than as an object worthy of veneration.
      By the fifteenth century there was much more widespread scepticism about relics (e.g. the Lollards and Hus, De Sanguine Christi of 1405 , a major attack on blood of Christ cults) and this culminates in the sixteenth century in wonderful satires as in Erasmus’ Pilgrimages for Religion’s Sake of 1526 ( available on line) and then John Calvin’s massive rejection of relics in his Treatise on Relics. These were Christian attacks on relic cults (N.B. those who think that anyone who doubts the authenticity of the Shroud must be an atheist!).
      Forgeries went on all the time but most were very crude and didn’t take anyone in – see the response to the Pardoner in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. As I suggested above, many relics were in fact mysterious objects that had originally been made for some other function but which then became associated with a miracle or whatever and so became venerated in their own right -as the pope allowed veneration of the Shroud but only on the condition that it was announced that it was not authentic. Then sometimes the line got crossed and an icon worthy of veneration became seen as an actual original relic.
      I am only putting forward this for those Shroudies who say that if the Shroud is not authentic, it must be a cunning and sophisticated forgery. There are alternatives.

      Meanwhile we all wait to hear of anyone anywhere who has been able to replicate Adler’s dried red blood.

  4. Anomymous :
    The bloodstains on the Shroud are both physically and chemically typical of any highly traumatized body that was tortured, scourged and who died by crucifixion. Therefore, it cannot be anything else than a burial cloth that enveloped for less than 48 hours a real dead body of a real crucified man and this could have been done by a forger who wanted to replicate the bloody stigmata of Christ (highly improbable scenario) or by some persons during a real Jewish burial procedure involving the corpse of Jesus or of another person looking like him. So, I don’t know what you tried to express with me using two different mode of expression.

    Each time you make that comment (which must be numbered now in scores, possibly hundreds) you demonstrate your total ignorance of the scientific method. You treat model and fact as if they were one and the same. You do not understand the self-discipline that is needed to keep those in two separate compartments.

    My advice to you is to stay in Mode 2 – and stop posturing as though your position were science-based. It is not. It is magic-based. That does not make it wrong – just unscientific . You have no business criticizing scientists who are still in sceptical Mode 1.

    1. On the contrary to you, I NEVER claim being a scientist. So if I made some mistakes versus the scientific method, pardon me please! ;-)

      But the claim you make that my position is magic-based is ridiculous. I simply follow the most solid data coming from the Shroud, reflect upon them for a while using only rationality (and no magical thinking) in order to extract all the possibilities given by those data, while at the same time, leaving aside all the other scenario that cannot fit with them (like your hypothesis of the scorch by the way).

  5. “The bloodstains on the Shroud are both physically and chemically typical of any highly traumatized body that was tortured, scourged and who died by crucifixion.” Typical. Really? Was does typical mean? That they conform to a type. How many other tortured, scourged, crucified blood samples have been analysed, so that we can compare the shroud blood to them? How many samples constitute a “type,” I wonder?

    1. The fact that there are both pre and post-mortem blood material on the Shroud, the fact that there is a much higher than normal level of bilirubin in the blood, the fact that there are serum stains around many bloodstains, the fact that most of these bloodstains come from exudates of moistened (or re-moistened) blood clots and the fact that these stains are consistent with someone who died in a vertical position of crucifixion and was later on transferred to the tomb and laid in the Shroud in an horizontal position, should be enough for you to understand what I meant by saying that “The bloodstains on the Shroud are both physically and chemically typical of any highly traumatized body that was tortured, scourged and who died by crucifixion.”

      By the way, you must read Fazio and Mandaglio’s reply to the highly critical review you wrote the other day versus their work: https://shroudstory.com/2013/11/09/video-barrie-schwortz-at-the-pikes-peak-prophesy-summit/#comment-51786

      1. Thanks for pointing that out. I had missed it. I note that Fazio and Mandaglio do not attempt to answer my criticisms of their paper, but ask that I publish them in a journal before they will address them. I suppose that’s fair enough, but I can’t be bothered to pay whatever they did to have their radiation paper published, so will not pursue them further.

    2. Sadly there are all too many examples from recent history of traumatised bodies – so let’s have some post-mortem reports that specifically note that the degree of suffering can be ascertained from the redness of the blood.

      1. The high level of bilirubin (much higher than normal) found by Adler is the data that strongly suggest the blood material on the Shroud came from an highly traumatized corpse and, funny, such a conclusion is in perfect sync with the body image of a beaten, scourged and crucified man we see on the cloth. Seriously Charles, if we use the Occam’s razor principle correctly, the most rational and probable answer for the image formation must lie in a natural (probably biological) interaction between the corpse and the surface of the cloth. And when we take into account all the data coming from the Shroud, again it’s funny, that’s exactly where they are pointing!

    1. There’s a place of similar magical transformation a few miles from where I live. Sacks of grain turn miraculously into a clear amber liquid. It takes a week or two from start to finish, but the end product can induce a profound sense of spiritual peace.

    2. “In 1973, the Higher Council of the World Health Organization (WHO) appointed a scientific commission to verify the Italian doctor’s conclusions. The work was carried out over 15 months with a total of 500 examinations. The conclusions of all the researches confirmed what had been stated and published in Italy.”
      Not one single world of this is true.
      Refute, please.

      1. Not one single world of this is true.

        Really Hugh? I have at least seen the picture of the cover of WHO report. A book about Miracle of Lanciano is on the way to me, I’ll check when I get it.

  6. O.K. Thanks for the tip. I remembered vaguely that there were comments on the topic but wanted to push them further with the link. I am now wondering if the scientists at the WHO overlooked the factor that Kelly mentioned.
    The German journalist and author Andreas Englisch makes a link between Lanciano – Orvieto – Turin Shroud and the Korean mystic Julia Kim. Details can be found in his book:

    Colin, sorry, you provided no answer, only demonstrated bias.

    1. Louis: see also discussion in this thread:
      https://shroudstory.com/2013/11/06/of-similarities-the-tunic-of-argenteuil-and-the-shroud-of-turin/

      I am now wondering if the scientists at the WHO overlooked the factor that Kelly mentioned.

      What do you have on mind? Remember that the blood on Miracle of Lanciano, Tunic of Argenteuil, Sudarium of Oviedo and TS, although probably belonging to the same person, is different kind on each of these relics. On the Tunic of Argenteuil the fresh living blood was shed. On TS the bloodstains are most likely exudates of moistened (or re-moistened) blood clots. On Ovieto it is post mortem-blood mixed 1:6 with pleural fluid (or whatever it si called). On Lanciano it is blood from heart in the agonal state, as far as I remember.

  7. Might I suggest that the President of STERA (Shroud of Turin Education and Research Association) check the literature on the instability of bilirubin when exposed to light (ordinary daylight, especially the blue component) before continuing to promote the Adler thesis? Adler himself belatedly acknowledged the instability of bilirubin in his paper on Shroud preservation.

    There’s a fulsome literature on the subject, given its relevance to the phototherapy of neonatal jaundice (my very first research project in the early 70s) though now superseded by photoisomerism as the favoured mechanism.

    Try searching (bilirubin + self-sensitized + photo-oxygenation ) if you want to know the real facts about exposing bilirubin to light and oxygen. It self-sensitizes its own destruction, via a singlet oxygen mediated process. It can be accelerated by riboflavin (also in blood). Here’s the link.

    https://www.google.co.uk/#q=bilirubin+self-sensitized+photo-oxygenation

  8. O.K. What I have in mind is the crucial factor Kelly mentioned. Yes, Englisch says in his book that the Lanciano blood is not post-mortem and he does not dwell on Argenteuil and Oviedo because the topic is John Paul II. Being a Vatican correspondent for more than twenty years, he knows the place very well and also what goes on there. This is a must read, coming from a lapsed Catholic who returned to his faith after following the late pontiff very closely. Many of the lesser-known aspects of JPs life are dwelt on here and open-minded sceptics, or those sitting over the wall, should also read it.

    Don’t forget: Orvieto is in Italy, Oviedo in Spain.

    1. Yes I know, the Eucharistic Miracle of Orvieto. As to JPII, remember, I live in Poland. The shelves of book stores here are full of JPII-related books.

  9. Proof is needed that Zenit is mistaken and that the cover of the report is not authentic. Do you have any sources to cite?

    1. No it isn’t. A makes an unsupported statement. B denies it. A supports it. B refutes it – or doesn’t. We have got to the “A supports it” stage. Still, if I must jump the gun, you could begin by looking up the governance of the World Health Organisation in its constitution and tell me what the Higher Council is.

      1. Sorry, I have no time for this. A serious allegation was made by you, awaiting to be backed by concrete proof in the form of documentation, so the ball is still in your court.

      2. Oh, all right.

        There is no Higher Council of the World Health Organisation, so it couldn’t have ordered anything. The website lancino.it, which naturally contains a detailed account of all the scientific findings, makes no mention of the WHO (or OMS, as it is in Italian). The photograph of the cover of the alleged WHO report carries a stamp unrelated to anything produced by the WHO or the UNO. The only scientists to be mentioned in connection with the modern investigation of the miracle are Dr Linoli, and Dr Bertelli, whose work was carried out in 1970-1971. Dr Linoli repeated some of his observations in 1981. Nothing was carried out in 1973.
        A detailed article on the miracle published in L’Osservatore Romano in 1982 makes no mention of the WHO.
        The i.wikipedia.org article on the miracle says: “Alcuni sostengono, senza indicare fonti verificabili, che del miracolo di Lanciano se ne sarebbero occupati anche l’ONU e il consiglio superiore dell’OMS, i quali, nel 1976, avrebbero pubblicato una relazione favorevole alla miracolosità dell’evento. Tuttavia, nonostante il prestigio internazionale dei due enti, né gli studi di Odoardo Linoli pubblicati nel 1982, né la Santa Sede, che si occupò di Lanciano in un lungo articolo su L’Osservatore Romano del 23 aprile 1982, menzionano minimamente la presunta relazione dell’ONU e dell’OMS.”

        So:
        “In 1973 [No, the researches were carried out two years previously], the Higher Council of the World Health Organization (WHO) [There is no such thing] appointed a scientific commission [No, there is no evidence of any such thing] to verify the Italian doctor’s conclusions [No, he was asked to verify them himself ten years later]. The work was carried out over 15 months with a total of 500 examinations. [This is transparent nonsense] The conclusions of all the researches confirmed what had been stated and published in Italy [No, it wasn’t].

        Not one single world of this is true.”
        Refute, please.

  10. So here we have a linen cloth of exactly 8 x 2 Assyrian cubits, made according to the ancient extraction process of linen from flax, with pollens exclusive to the Dead Sea area, of Jerusalem flora flowering in March & April, and of Anatolia, with dirt on the feet and nose comprising Jerusalem aragonite limestone, with an image whose anatomical perfection is comprehensible not until the 20th century, with blood flows on the arms demonstrating the posture of crucifixion, and all consistent with the gospel accounts, and I’m expected to believe that some forger fabricated this wondrous icon for purposes which can only be guessed at, and that he only ever did it once, with no historical record of his attempts, and no present understanding of how he might have succeeded in this endeavour.

    Now I begin to understand the myth of the Tower of Babel. A babble of confusion in the face of arrogance, vanity and ignorance, as against what can plainly be seen by any child!

    1. Exactly. As I have stated before on this blog, there is the forest and there are the trees. It is altogether salutary to debate individual facts until a reasonable consensus is attained. However, it is equally if not more important to stand back a bit and assess the totality of facts in context. When that is done, the authenticity of the Shroud seems, if not beyond all doubt, certainly not beyond hyperbolic doubt, beyond reasonable doubt.

      I am all for re-testing, gathering more data, precise analysis, etc., but demands can be pushed past the bounds of sanity.

  11. The shroud was measured by Flury-Lemburg as 437cm x 111cm in 1998, and later by Barberis and Zaccone (2000), with its corners stretched slightly, as 437.7cm and 441.5cm (long sides); 112.5cm and 113cm (short sides). It is also quoted as varying in length by 2cm depending on humidity. (All information from Dr Zugibe’s ‘The Crucifixion of Jesus’).
    Various cubit measurements have been found, all different lengths. The nearest I can find to the 1st century is the Roman cubit of about 44.4cm, which may be based on contemporary Egyptian cubits. Some excellent work on funerary slabs in various museums suggests that the Assyrians, whose empire dissolved some hundreds of years before Christ was born, may have had three cubits, of between 51cm and 57cm. Actual measuring bars, mostly from Egyptian tombs, are about 52cm long.
    It is popular to pick whichever shroud dimensions seem appropriate, divide them by 8 and 4 as required, and then find a cubit that fits, pronouncing the shroud as “exactly” this or that. Whether there is any evidence that any 1st century cloth was woven (or buildings constructed) to any particular width, let alone an Assyrian cubit, I rather doubt. Does anybody know of any?

  12. Hugh: Not one single world of this is true.”
    Refute, please.

    We are talking about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eucharistic_Miracle_of_Lanciano_-_public_documentation_-_Ruggero_Bertelli.JPG

    This story is so often uncritically repeated (without any reference) that I began to doubt it myself. I’ll check it back in Nicola Nasuli when I get it. Anyway, if the story is true it would be nice to find this report, if is false, then to find how it originated. It really is not so much important whether there was such report or not. The results of Linoli’s examinations are key here, and I don’t have any specific reasons to doubt them, although sceptics will certainly find some hole in the whole.

    1. Look carefully at the stamp at the bottom of the report, with WHO+UNO on it. It is nothing like the insignia of either the WHO or the UNO. I am hesitant to denounce it as an out and out fraud, but I have no doubt whatever that it has no official status.

      1. Truly I don’t know what the WHO stamps should have looked like in the 70s. Anyway, as I stated, for me this has little relevance on the subject.

  13. Hugh, re. 36 If L’Osservatore Romano said that then it is not difficult to accept it, but it is surprising that Zenit did not check the facts.

Comments are closed.