A Point of View

imageStephen Jones in his latest posting wants to make sure we understand his point of view. 

Because of the Vatican’s duplicity (in the sense of "double dealing," "deception by pretending to entertain one set of intentions while acting under the influence of another"):

"duplicity … a. Deliberate deceptiveness in behavior or speech. b. An instance of deliberate deceptiveness; double-dealing. 2. The quality or state of being twofold or double. … [Middle English duplicite, from Old French, from Late Latin duplicits, doubleness, from Latin duplex, duplic-, twofold … acting in bad faith; deception by pretending to entertain one set of intentions while acting under the influence of another, double-dealing" The Free Dictionary, 15 November 2013).

in refusing to confirm or deny that any of its relics (in particular the Shroud of Turin), are authentic or not, it would not be surprising if the secular media assumes this is merely a stunt to win converts to, or prevent Catholics leaving, Catholicism. It seems two-faced for the Pope and his bishops to mount a huge ceremony featuring these bones and yet refuse to confirm or deny that they really believe them to be authentic.

And when Pope Francis says:

"How is this possible? How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this icon of a man scourged and crucified? It is because the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth. This image, impressed upon the cloth, speaks to our heart and moves us to climb the hill of Calvary, to look upon the wood of the Cross, and to immerse ourselves in the eloquent silence of love." ("Turin Shroud: full text of Pope Francis’ comments," The Telegraph, 30 Mar 2013).

Stephen thinks:

which, if it was translated correctly, means that Pope Francis thinks the Shroud of Turin is not even a relic, and is tantamount to him declaring it to be a fake!

5 thoughts on “A Point of View”

  1. Short version: I don’t agree with Stephen Jones; ‘icon’ here is an intentionally ambiguous term.

    Parsing statements that emanate from the Vatican is an art form in itself. I certainly don’t have the insight or experience to interpret papal statements generally, but I think what we have here is an example of Francis employing a generalized term to avoid making a pronouncement on authenticity. A philosophical definition of ‘icon’ would seem to support this, at least according to the OED: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/78391/icon_OED.png

    I suspect Francis is using the word ‘icon’ because it encompasses both artifacts and acheiropoieta. Again, I suggest consulting someone with more experience at this; Fr. John Zuhlsdorf comes immediately to mind: http://wdtprs.com/blog/ . I can say, though, that popes often employ this type of semantic legerdemain as a foil against their every utterance being immediately taken as interpretations of Catholic dogma.

  2. I write this as, to say the least, no great fan of any post-conciliar Pope. Nevertheless, a Pope has a certain responsibility to his office, the exercise of which includes making statements that go well beyond what can be established by scientific evidence. It would be more than a technical mistake, more than overreach with regard to technical competence, for a Pope to subordinate his level of discourse to that of purely evidentiary debates.

    The problem, of course, is that Christianity as such is based on evidentiary claims. So now we have at least two levels of evidence: the Shroud itself, which might be evidence of the fundamental claims, and the evidence concerning the Shroud’s authenticity. The Pope does well to avoid even the appearance of confusing these, especially since the fundamental claims should never be made to seem subject to a secondary discussion.

  3. In my idea it’s impossible to destroy the Catholicism
    with few words about the presumed Vatican’s duplicity
    around the authenticity …
    — —
    As you have seen the next exhibition will be held in a period of about 45 days
    between the Easter season (from mid-April 2015) and the closing
    celebrations of the bicentenary (August 16th, 2015) and then
    there are other (… better ?) occasions to interpret papal statements …
    Do you agree ?
    >… The opening of the exhibition in the Easter refers to the death and
    resurrection of the Lord, and with it the beginning of the Church’s mission.
    >The Shroud, Veil of death, for believers becomes a proof which recalls,
    with a great evocative effectiveness, the victory of the Lord of life. …
    >Cesare Nosiglia
    >Archbishop of Turin
    >Papal Custodian of the Shroud

    Source :
    — — —
    See also, in the blog :
    “More on the 2015 Rumors”

    under the address :
    — —
    In Wikipedia
    ( = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_devotions_to_Jesus_Christ )
    you can read the following words :

    >On the first Friday in Lent 1936, Sister Maria Pierina de Micheli, a nun born near Milan in Italy, reported a vision in which Jesus told her: “I will that My Face, which reflects the intimate pains of My Spirit, the suffering and the love of My Heart, be more honored. He who meditates upon Me, consoles Me”. Further visions reportedly urged her to make a medal with the Holy Face based on the image from Secondo Pia’s photograph of the Shroud of Turin.
    >In 1958, Pope Pius XII approved of the devotion and the Holy Face medal and confirmed the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus as Shrove Tuesday (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday) for all Roman Catholics … …
    — —
    Here another point to consider :
    >The International Institute for Research on
    the Face of Christ was formed in 1997 by
    Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini and the Benedictine Sisters
    of the Reparation of the Holy Face in Rome …

    Source :

    try also to read the words under the address :

    = St. Therese of Lisieux and the Holy Face of Jesus …
    >The Holy Shroud of Turin
    >Discusses the history of the devotion to the Holy Face and
    St. Therese’s participation in it. Note that Therese never saw the Shroud of Turin,
    but after Therese’s death her sister Celine painted a famous picture
    of the Holy Face based on the Shroud.
    — —
    So …
    What is your comment ?

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