Exorcisms and the Shroud. Huh?

clip_image001Rich Barlow has penned for BU Today (that would Boston University) The Devil Makes Them Do It: CAS prof on why Catholic exorcisms are spiking (that would be David Frankfurter, professor and chairman of the religion department at the College of Arts & Sciences). The shroud is mentioned in the article. It seems to be thrown in without good reason.

Many people, likely including some Catholics, have difficulty believing in demonic possession. While accepting it, the Vatican historically has been behind major scientific research. How do you explain that paradox?

The desire to quantify—or confirm miracles scientifically—is a phenomenon of modernity. You don’t find this kind of effort to do “scientific research” on the possessed, or on healing techniques, or on relics or icons in early Christian or medieval miracle stories. People debated which worked and which had other causes; that’s all. But today, “science” has become a discourse, a way of talking about things that seem to work. And it is a discourse that matters a lot to many people, so many people try to draw in science to “prove” religious experiences.

Scholars of religion, however, are less interested in what the Catholic Church actually comes up with in “scientifically verifying” an exorcism, or the Shroud of Turin, or a demon’s presence, than in the fact that the Church is trying to invoke science for things that really don’t lend themselves to scientific validation. That’s not to say that miracles aren’t “true,” for certainly they do have enormous truth to many people. It’s just that their truth is a religious truth, a subjective truth, compared to the scientific verification of whether an ancient bone belongs to this dinosaur or that dinosaur.

Is the shroud mentioned because of “trying to invoke science for things that really don’t lend themselves to scientific validation.” If so it is without foundation. Do they no longer teach this in journalism: the who, what, where, when, why? We, who read this blog, might understand and agree or disagree but would the typical reader of this article in BU Today?

In fairness, Barlow links to shroud.com. That is a cop out and one wonders if this isn’t a quick Google find.  Link to something inside the website that explains what the shroud is and why it might have some meaning in this article. There is plenty of material there to answer that question.  Or maybe the mention of the shroud in this article is pointless?


authentic or not

imageImagine that you are commissioned to create a shroud. That is what David Rolfe wants you to imagine.

You are to create a work that captures its essence and convince viewers both contemporary and beyond that they are in the presence of a most precious relic. However you go about it, and we may never know, we can see what you created. We can look upon it as it lies within these pages centuries after you created it. Does it fulfil the brief? Does it speak out as a great work should? Let us make an objective assessment of its observable subjective qualities and its simple facts. What do we see?

• Your choice of an image left on a Shroud is a perfect encapsulation of the mystery that surrounds him. After all, it is the reporting of his death by crucifixion that is the principal independent corroboration that Jesus lived at all. Congratulations

So read the whole list of "congratulations" in The Shroud’s Intrinsic Value – Authentic or Not in the latest issue of BSTS or on David’s site:

BSTS Article by Hugh Farey

a genuine chronological gradient?

imageHugh Farey has written an interesting article for the current, December, 2014, issue of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter entitled Radiocarbon Recalibration. 

Although the spread of measurements is relatively small, it is sufficient to cast doubt on the homogeneity of the three laboratories’ samples, and justifies Riani and Atkinson’s claim of the probability of a genuine chronological gradient across the samples (although their conclusions were based on an analysis of all twelve results, not just the three averages above.(Regression Analysis with Partially Labelled Regressors: Carbon Dating of the Shroud of Turin, Riani et al., Statistics and Computing, 2012)

To my way of thinking this plays into the mended shroud explanations for errors in the carbon dating and some image-caused-by-radiation theories current in some circles.

New BSTS Newsletter Available

British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS) Newsletter
No. 80 – December 2014

imageTable of Contents

Starting Today: Turin Cathedral Closed Until Exhibition

This is a Google translation of a news release from the Turin Diocesan Commission for the Shroud (sindone.org):

From Wednesday, January 21 Cathedral of Turin is closed to the public: in fact begin the preparatory work for the exhibition of the Shroud, scheduled from April 19 to June 24 next. The last opening day – Tuesday 20 – is celebrated, at 10, the Mass to celebrate the feast of the Municipal Police in the day of the patron saint, Sebastian. The Cathedral is open, with normal celebrations, up to 19.

Work – As with other expositions is necessary to reconstruct completely the interior of the Cathedral, which is emptied interior decor and prepared for the "exposition mode."

The first set of jobs is structural. It is 10 meters stretch of the area of ​​the presbytery, implement the system of ‘bridges’ which will transit the pilgrims, starting assembly of the "machine" that will support the reliquary of the exposition. It will also overshadow all the windows of the dome and the nave of the cathedral: a necessary operation to minimize the exposure of the Shroud to light and promote concentration and meditation. Following the lighting experts will arrange the light beams that allow optimal viewing of the Cloth from various points of the church.

New to this edition is just the catwalks: instead of building lofts in cement, the supports of the steps will be made of metal reusable.

The works have no relation with the Shroud nor the theca and security systems, which remain unchanged. The Shroud will be closed in the display case of preservation, the Chapel Royal under the grandstand, until the days immediately preceding the exposition.

The parish – the parish community of the Cathedral, as happens to every exposition, "moves" its activities in the church of St. Thomas (corner of Via Pietro Micca). Weekday Mass is celebrated at 13.30; then there is the Vigil of 18 and, on holidays, the celebration at 10.30. The function of the Canons of the Metropolitan Chapter is suspended for the time of the exposition (in the Cathedral was held to 18, preceded by the prayer of Vespers at 17.30).

Also in St. Thomas (via Monte di Pietà 11) is open, with the usual times, the parish office, and there continue to unfold the catechisms and the activities of the oratory and church groups.

Mass with the volunteers – Each month, the beginning of the preparation all’ostensione, volunteers gather to participate together in the Mass, celebrated by Fr Roberto Gottardo, President of the Diocesan Commission for the Shroud and by Msgr. Giuseppe Ghiberti, president emeritus. The appointment, for the coming months, but no longer at the Duomo to the Holy Face. The next Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, January 28th at 18:30 to the Holy Face.

Shroud.com Updated: 19th Anniversary of Website Today

I still marvel that 19 years have passed since
the site first went online in 1996 
— Barrie Schwortz

Barrie writes in the Late Breaking Website News! page:

Welcome to our 19th Anniversary Update! You may have noticed (if you entered through our Home Page), that we have replaced the black & white ventral Shroud photograph that has graced our front page for the past 19 years with a larger color photograph of the entire Shroud taken in 1978. We hope you like the new look.

This update includes some very important new materials. Not only have we included four more issues of Shroud Spectrum International (with only 2 remaining to complete the archive of 42 regular issues), but we have also included a new Author Index and Title Index to make researching the journal even easier for everyone. We have also included a new feature titled "From the Crispino Archives" that includes eight older Shroud articles going back to 1902 that Dorothy thought were important enough to have scanned by her friend Mark D. Williams, who created the indices, did the scanning and graciously shared them with us. This update also includes the latest (December 2014 #80) issue of the BSTS Newsletter and much more.

I still marvel that 19 years have passed since the site first went online in 1996. Each year I write this introduction to our anniversary update with the intention of saying something new and fresh, but every year I find myself coming back to the same theme: This website would not be possible were it not for the cooperation and participation of all of the researchers, historians, scientists and scholars in the world who have allowed us to publish their work over the years, our gracious donors whose contributions help fund our efforts and all of our loyal viewers (more than 940,000 of you in 2014) who visit the site regularly and read millions of our pages! You make our work truly satisfying and worthwhile. Thank You! – Barrie Schwortz, Editor

Here is the Update Table of Contents:

The above image, an inline thumbnail, is clickable.

Picture Tweet of the Day


1946: l’arrivo della Sindone a Torino, giunta dall’Abbazia di Montevergine dove il Telo era custodito #Sindone2015


1946: the arrival of the Shroud in Turin from the Abbey of Montevergine where the shroud was kept # Sindone2015