Pure Rubbish

imageGrand Island, Nebraska, is the county seat of mostly rural Hall County, Nebraska. It is a city of about 50,000 people on the Platt River and Interstate 80, two hours west of Omaha.  According to a story on The Grand Island Independent, yesterday: 

There is an amazing display coming to Grand Island this week which is very unique. “The Man of the Shroud” is a national exhibit unbiased in nature and non-denominational. You can view a life –size 14-by-3-foot display that replicates the holy Shroud of Turin which many believe is the burial cloth of Jesus.

I’ve blogged about this traveling exhibit on display throughout Nebraska sponsored by the Spirit Catholic Radio. So far, reports in the media have been accurate and sparse on detail. However, this one contains a real doozy. Not a word of this next paragraph from The Grand Island Independent  is true after the first sentence. Nothing is even slightly true. I’m wondering where this highly imaginative information came from:

This is a replica of the original Shroud of Turin. The original Shroud has had over 600,000 hours of research on it by scientists the last 30 years with over 2,000 scientists doing modern research. Most of those that worked on the Shroud were either atheist or agnostics but over 90 percent of them have become Christian after studying the Shroud. Pope John Paul II called the Shroud, “The greatest relic of Christendom.”

Such pure rubbish gets around unfortunately. That is a major problem with the Internet. I found a brief mention on another site that reads:

The Shroud has over 600,000 hours of study, and of the scientists that did study the shroud, 95% of the are now Christian.

and another site, greatspiritualbattle.com speaks of 600,000 hours of “peer reviewed” research. The claims that “most of those” who worked on the shroud were atheist or agnostic is simply ridiculous. 

Hat tip to Louis for spotting this.

11 thoughts on “Pure Rubbish”

  1. It was penned by the editor (no less) of The Church Today in April 2009. See page 5 of this pdf:

    Click to access 37466174.pdf

    It was easy to track down with Google by inputting that 600,000 claim – and no surprise to see it accompanied by the term “pier review” !

    1. PS: I omitted to mention that it’s a local (Louisiana-based) periodical, and that the article in question was prefaced with this hat tip – if one can so dignify it:

      “Editor’s Note: The following information is from a Lighthouse Catholic Media CD titled “The Passion of Christ in Light of the Holy Shroud of Turin,” by Fr.Francis Peffley.”

      GIGO, as the computer programmers used to say. Correction, a turbo-charged version thereof. Best I stop there.

  2. Thanks for the ref Colin, I read most of the article. Worse than the curate’s egg, good and bad in parts, but mainly inaccuracies galore. Pity the editor didn’t get his work “pier reviewed” before publishing. I guess sloppy journalism gets in everywhere!

    1. “I guess sloppy journalism gets in everywhere!”

      Methinks sloppiness was raised there to an art form. Surviving STURP members must have loved it. The others are still spinning.

      Nuff said from me. Am off to Oxford for the day, a brief but merciful release from the horrors of the internet.

  3. And I listened to the first few minutes of the CD on which the article is based. Good grief!

  4. Hi Dan
    You know something? Journalists are supposed to check facts, it is absolutely basic to journalism. It also has a lot to do with ethics.That is something top in my mind when there is something to be written, and it has always been so even when it has come to pointing out errors made by people in the realm of Shroud studies — and who had their work published!
    The results have not been good for me, but then, chummies can say whatever they want, others are silenced as much as possible. Welcome to the realm of Shroud studies!

    The “highly imaginative information” you refer to probably came from someone, who heard it from someone, who, in turn, heard it from someone else. It is not really news, I’ve seen this before. The editors should have known that correct reporting demands sources and the big problem is that people may get the impression that it was derived from someone who was on the STURP team, which is not true.

    I can also see that someone else is following my lead in pointing to these errors!

  5. Unfortunately prejudiced editors can and do dictate terms in certain parts of the media. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York lashed out this week:


    But it must also be pointed out that the newspaper in question is also anti-Israel and the Sulzberger family belongs to the Episcopal Church (Dan’s Church!)

  6. I chased the posted story a little further. Byline of the “Grand Island Independent” story was attributed to ‘Deacon Bill & Nancy Buchta’. I couldn’t find out much about them, but was led to the St Leo’s Grand Island Parish newsletter. The newsletter included a promotion of the exhibit, but confined itself to the first quoted paragraph in the posting above, but excluded the inaccurate follow-on; noted that Grand Island Spirit Radio, a local Catholic broadcasting station, and the Knights of Columbus were sponsoring the exhibit. Also noted that Dan’s posting above has been picked up and published in the Omaha News & World Report, see comment above, presumably scoring a point against the rival Independent paper. It would seem that the Buchta couple have uncritically taken at face value the Fr Francis Peffley version of the TS evaluation. The fact that the Omaha News was able to report the Buchta hash creates the potential to undermine the value of the exhibit in some people’s minds. It would have been better if the Omaha News had included a paragraph referring its readers to more accurate and reliable background sources such as some of the material found on Barrie Schwortz’s shroud.com site instead of merely point-scoring against its rival paper, potentially undermining visitor attraction to the exhibit.

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