A Quote for this Sunday

imageFor “scientific approach to the Shroud” is usually understood that according to which the Shroud is regarded solely as an object of study and for which the only important issue is to try to answer the questions about the origin and the authenticity of the Shroud. A “pastoral approach to the Shroud” means the reading of the Shroud in the light of its intrinsic message that, starting from its close and indisputable relationship with the Holy Scriptures, becomes a valuable and unique inspirer of the life of faith and the prompter of those works of charity which are its real big fruit. In this regard at the end of his aforementioned speech in front of the Shroud on May 24, 1998 Saint John Paul II said: “May the Spirit of God, who dwells in our hearts, instill in every one the desire and generosity necessary for accepting the Shroud’s message and for making it the decisive inspiration of our lives”.

Therefore to put in antithesis the scientific approach to the religious one is very dangerous because you run the risk on one hand to reduce the Shroud to a “dead object”, to an image that has meaning only in itself and that doesn’t at all challenge our lives and on the other to turn the Shroud into a kind of idol slaved to a priori and instrumental theses. I am deeply convinced that to leave the presentation of the Shroud to a sole scientific approach or to a sole pastoral approach is neither correct nor useful for any kind of recipient. But then are these two ways of approaching the image of the Shroud really antithetic?

— Bruno Barberis
Associate Professor of Mathematical Physics, University of Turin &
Director of the International Center of Sindonology of Turin
from “Shroud, Science And Faith: Dialogue Or Conflict?
a paper he recently presented at the St. Louis Shroud Conference

2 thoughts on “A Quote for this Sunday”

  1. This is one of the most intelligent and balanced overviews of the Shroud in the present day-worth reading the entire discussion carefully. I was glad to have had the opportunity to hear him speak twice during the conference.

  2. We can go beyond what the paper states. It is correct to employ both science and religion, but the question that arises is how much can science and religion(in the conventional sense) can tell us?
    Since there are two approaches in (pro-authenticity) science, one “naturalist” the other “miraculist”, this is what we must ask:

    Naturalist: Why would only Jesus leave his image on the Shroud by natural means if many like him were executed and buried as criminals by the Romans? Not all bodies were left on the cross to be devoured by wild dogs. Was Jesus not entitled to an air-conditioned tomb?

    Miraculist: “Hundreds of thousands in degrees Celsius lasting for a few hundredths of a second”. One wonders if any measurement is indeed possible.

    Taken from:
    where the differences between the “naturalist” and “miraculist” points of view can be read.

    I now quote John Klotz:
    “If indeed the Shroud is Christ’s and, if science is deciphering its revelation, what is it telling us?”
    It is a very important question, one gives that gives rise to another query: How much can science decipher and just how much (conventional) religion can interpret?
    It is known that the Resurrection has no analogy in human history, in fact it is said to have uniqueness par excellence.
    I now quote the (Reformed) Protestant theologian Jürgen Moltmann:
    “The raising of Christ involves not the category of the accidentally new, but the expectational category of the eschatologically new. The eschatologically new event of the resurrection of Christ, however, proves to be a novum ultimum both as against the similarity in ever-recurring reality and also against the comparative dissimilarity of new possibilities emerging in history.”
    We have not got to the Jesus behind the text. Schweitzer abandoned scholarly studies after publishing his monumental work on the Jesus of history and withdrew into a world of mysticism, running a hospital as a medical missionary in Africa, firmly believing that Jesus comes alive when the Gospels are read.
    Will we get to the Jesus behind the Shroud image?

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