A reader writes to recommend The Veil of Veronica: Fact or Fiction? by John Iannone. Indeed, I read it a couple of years ago and was delighted to read it again. It is a good supplement to the discussions we have been having.
Second cup of coffee mark:
The case against the Veil’s presence in Rome after 1608 stems from some information that Pfeiffer and others have noted:
1. The Veronica that was kept in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome no longer shows any image. Lorenzo Bianchi notes that:
“The few scholars of the past who were able to see it close up, such as DeWaal and Wilpert …saw only a few brown stains. The people who have been able to observe it recently (including Pope John Paul II) found no trace of the image.”
2. Pope Paul V (1617) ordered that no reproductions of the Veronica in the 1600’s (after the cloth was allegedly stolen in 1608) were to be made unless by a "Canon of St. Peter’s." Pfeiffer believes the Pope made this statement because the Veil was stolen. They had no reason to give this order if they were in possession of the Veil in Rome.
3. The eyes on the reproductions of the cloth BEFORE the theft were OPEN. AFTER the theft, the eyes on reproductions of the Veronica are CLOSED. The original Veil showed the eyes open since Jesus was alive at the time Veronica wiped His face.
4. Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) not only prohibited reproductions of Veronica’s veil but also ordered all existing copies to be destroyed. Pfeiffer believes that these orders by Pontiffs of no duplication and destruction of reproductions indicates that the Vatican no longer possessed the original.
5. As noted by Lorenzo Bianchi in his article “The Veil of Manoppello”:
“The cloth currently in Rome is not transparent, while the 1350 reliquary that contained the Veronica in Rome, kept in the treasury of the Vatican Basilica, consisting of two panes of rock crystal, was evidently intended for an object that could be viewed from both sides. This reliquary, square in shape and of a size compatible with the veil of Manoppello than which it is slightly larger (but we have seen that the veil was trimmed) was replaced by another in the mid 16th century (now lost), itself replaced by the current one. A document testifies to the solemn installation of the new relic, that is, as one assumes, by a forgery – on 21 March 1606, in a niche cut into the pillar of the dome called ‘of the Veronica.’”
The Vatican cloth in Rome is only on view one time per year – the Sunday before Palm Sunday – for a very brief time from a balcony high up in St. Peter’s. People do not see an image. Renowned artist Isabel Piczek once relayed to me that she had the honor of viewing the (purported) veil in Rome as a young girl and claimed she saw no image, only some stains. Other scholars noted above confirmed this same thing.
Further, the Vatican will allow no study of its possession. Vatican custodians have steadfastly refused all requests for any photographs to be taken.