Should Pope Francis Call for New Test?

imageBT writes:

As 2015 approaches there will be more calls for new tests to date the Shroud of Turin. The pope, because he is the legal owner of the cloth, should support new tests while remaining completely uninvolved in any discussions on protocols. He should make it clear that he will welcome for consideration a finalized proposal brought to him by a large multidisciplinary consortium of capable scholars. In the interest of credibility, the Centro’s role must be limited to reviewing and recommending acceptance or rejection of such a proposal following public hearings. The church and its officials must not negotiate protocols or participate in sampling or testing. As much as it may be an affront to academics and church officials, an independent auditing firm and several journalists should be involved in every phase of such a project.

Ideally, the first call for new tests should come from the pope. He might invite Oxford’s Christopher Ramsey and Arizona’s Timothy Jull to Rome to ask for a proposal.

How does the pope call for testing and then possibly reject an inadequate formal proposal? That would be difficult, it seems.

11 thoughts on “Should Pope Francis Call for New Test?”

  1. The Church has at its disposal many truly scientific minds. The Pope, as a Jesuit, would have likely know and have personal connections to many of them. A qualified appraisal team could be formed to do the heavy lifting on accepting/rejecting proposals. It’s a tender like any other, just based more on scientific process than costs.

    The great value to the Church would be to demonstrate that faith and reason are not mutually exclusive. What better way to engage in dialogue with a skeptical world than to work together on this project.

    The whole journey would make for a fascinating documentary….Mr Rolfe?

  2. Who is BT Dan? This is easier said than done and who said the Pope will listen to a proposal about what he should or should not do? He has advisors around him, who are certainly aware about what Dr. Christopher Ramsey warned, as mentioned in the thread “Time out: Interruption Interrupted.”

  3. I believe that the Shroud is authentic. When you piece together all of the evidence, it becomes obvious. If you’ve ever taken a walk down a sidewalk in the Fall, you’ve no doubt seen where leaves have fallen onto the sidewalk, then blown away by the wind after a time, they leave a detailed image on the concrete that shows you exactly what that leaf looked like. Quite simply that’s what has happened to the shroud when it was used to cover Jesus. A very dim image was left by steam coming up from Jesus to the shroud. Then, anyone who has taken photography knows exactly what happened, complete with bloodstains that indicate what had been done to him, including the thorny crown. Earlier efforts to throw people off included sampling patches applied to the shroud to hold it together after the fire that damaged it. Those patches should not have been used to carbon date the shroud.

  4. Dan,
    I have just seen that …
    … there is an new italian book
    by Giulio Fanti (and Andrea Malfi),
    Ed. Segno, Italy …
    Here the title :

    Here the italian words :
    Dopo il test radiocarbonico del 1988, gli scienziati si fecero fotografare con la data medievale scritta alla lavagna e seguita da un punto esclamativo; ora il punto esclamativo deve essere riferito a una data del I secolo dopo Cristo…
    here my rough (sorry…) translation :
    After the radiocarbon test of 1988, the scientists were photogrphied with the medieval epoch written on blackboard and the exclamation mark… Now the exclamation mark must be referred to the first century (the right epoch, the right date !) …

    What is your opinion ?
    Perhaps the Pope and the responsibles have to take into account that new book …
    As I wrote several times about the possible use of SPMs techniques,
    then I am curious about the textile dating …
    — —
    It was difficult to date the Shroud using the “radiometric dating” (14C tests)…
    Now we have the new ideas …

  5. While I’d like to finally see the first carbon dating that actually followed the original papal-approved protocol, we have to remember that in 1988 the Shroud was stored in Thymol, i.e. natural CARBON. Ray Rogers said that the linen of The Shroud would soak up that carbon and that he seriously doubted it could ever be sufficiently cleaned of that carbon to permit an accurate carbon dating. Consequently, a carbon dating shouldn’t be attempted until several labs independently certify that it is free of that added carbon. The future of the Shroud depends on it!

    1. Some months ago I found “The Late Glacial and Holocene development of vegetation in the area of a fossil lake in the Skaliska Basin (north-eastern Poland) inferred from pollen analysis and radiocarbon dating,” by Piotr Kolaczek et al, in which the authors carbon dated material from a succession of depths of a fossil swamp. To augment their tests, they also used samples which had been preserved in thymol, and found the dating derived from them to be “reliable.” They suggest a “far reaching possibility of dating profiles investigated in the past, from which macrofossils have already been identified and collected (and thus preserved in glycerine-thymol-ethyl alcohol mixture).” I agree that confirmatory testing should be carried out, but it looks as if Rogers’s fears may have been unjustified.

  6. Don’t be crazy If the pope is the owner of the cloth he has to have influence and responsibility for the cloth and in particular the tests and if necessary limit tests, other-wise if it was left to the scientist’s discretion and unbelievers there would be little if any-thing left after they had finished testing.
    He just cannot relinquish care and responsibility for if he is the owner it is actually the church and he the spokes-person.and care-taker.

  7. What’s needed is a highly targeted and accordingly least-damaging approach, restricted to answering crucial questions. The first is obvious – what is the radiocarbon content at a number of sites where no one can reasonably dispute the the chosen sites are representative of the whole in terms of location, microscopic character etc? I would suggest the less iconic dorsal side for sampling frame.

    The second (if hypothetically restricted by Papal edict to just two questions)? Each will have their own priority. Mine would be a multidisciplinary effort to determine which came first – blood or image.Confirmation of blood first would provide a major boost for authenticity. Discovering the opposite would no doubt provide a major boost for creative accounting, and keep humming with activity and much ingenious speculation for at least another decade or two.

    1. In my opinion AFM techniques can fulfill the needs about the least-damaging approach, restricted to answering crucial questions.
      No 14C tests, or (at least) the AFM controls before to destroy (forever !) the samples !
      I am not a picker of (long) radiocarbon quarrels.
      In my idea we can observe the linen fibrils avoiding the great damages.
      — —
      See, for example, the fibril deflection determination under :

      Click to access 08nan22.pdf

      The technique is, in other words, the following :
      measurement (of AFM tip) about the fibril above the groove and
      measurements about the fibril lay on wafer.
      — —
      Instead, if you only want to investigate the surface, You can improve
      the AFM technique using the CFM tests. .
      — —
      What is your reply ?

      1. You seem very attached, Piero, dare on say “hung up” on a particular technology. As for me, I’m hung up on demonstrating that the Shroud image is a simple contact heat scorch before being willing to consider alternative hypotheses (given the all-too-apparent defects in the latter).

        So far, the heat scorch hypothesis has yielded explanations for most of of the macroscopic properties, uv fluorescence excepted (ageing effect?) and is making headway on the microscopic one too. The chief problem has been in separating fact from fancy. One is expected to take so much on trust e.g that the TS image is confined to a < 200nm coating, based on some poorly documented experiments with sticky tape, tweezers and a light microscope. One feels that there has to be some unexplored middle ground between that and your high tech surface probes – probing for what exactly?

        Personally, I think the Shroud image affects the entire diameter of the fibre, as I said today on my current posting, addressing the neglected question as to why image fibres are mechanically weaker than non-image ones. That’s probably because the susceptible heat-sensitive hemicelluloses are distributed throughout the entire inner core (SCW) as well as the ultra-thin outer PCW, but they tend to be overlooked on account of the preponderance of heat-resistant crystalline cellulose in the inner core.

        Ray Rogers, rest in peace, saw only the cellulose. He appeared to have a blind spot for easily scorched hemicelluloses. Thus the "starch impurity coatings", putrefaction amines, "Maillard reactions " etc etc. There was a 'cobbled together' look about his dismissal of scorching by plain old heat. But then some of us suspect he was an authenticist at heart. No harm in that, provided one has the mental discipline to preserve objectivity. Sadly, he lost it towards the end, but one makes allowance for long illness. Scientists are only human, after all.

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