The Day Was Not About the Shroud

imageReuters journalist Philip Pullella wrote the report that got the most early-the-next-day shroud coverage among English language newspapers. The headline: Pope prays at Turin Shroud but skirts authenticity debate

Pope Francis prayed on Sunday before the mysterious shroud some Christians believe is Jesus’s burial cloth but skirted the issue of its authenticity, saying it should remind people of all suffering and persecution.

On his first day of a visit to the northern industrial city of Turin, he defended migrants flocking to Europe to escape war and injustice, saying it "makes one cry" to see them mistreated.

He also spoke of the city’s 19th century reputation as a center of devil worship and anti-clericalism, saying today’s young people faced new snares of high unemployment, drugs and unbridled consumerism.

Pullella said very little about the shroud. But he did pick up the gist of what the pope did and then said about the shroud:

After praying for several minutes before the cloth that has baffled scientists for decades, he touched its glass case and moved on to say Mass for 60,000 people. There he said the Shroud should spur people to reflect not only on Jesus but also on "the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person."

Despite the headline, the last several paragraphs of Pullella’s filing are about migrant workers.

The pope began the day with an outdoor rally on the theme of workers rights and immigration. Turin’s factories drew in waves of poor southern Italian peasants in the post-war period. Today it is home to migrants from developing countries and social tensions have increased along with unemployment.

That same day, Pullella filed two other stories.

Pope says abuse of migrants ‘makes one cry,’ visits Turin Shroud

Pope says weapons manufacturers can’t call themselves Christian

Pullella may understand this pope very well.  The day was not about the shroud. It wasn’t about what the pope might think about the shroud. 

The AP story to some extent picks up this theme

Francis sat for several minutes before the shroud, contained in a protective glass case. He lowered his head at times in apparent reflection and occasionally gazed up at the 4.3-meter (14-foot) long cloth. Then he took a few steps, placed his hand on the case, and walked away without comment.

Later, after celebrating Mass of the faithful in a packed Turin square, Francis gave his impression of the cloth as he spoke of the love Jesus had for humanity when being crucified.

‘Icon of Christ’s love’

“Icon of this love is the Shroud, which, even this time, has attracted so many people here to Turin,” Francis said. “The Shroud draws (people) to the tormented face and body of Jesus and, at the same time, directs (people) toward the face of every suffering and unjustly persecuted person.”

The AP story also switched gears, perhaps a bit less gracefully:

Skeptics say the cloth bearing the image of a crucified man is a medieval forgery.

Turin, the heartland of Italy’s auto industry, is considered Italy’s blue-collar labor capital, and Francis used his two-day visit to the city to denounce exploitation of workers, singling out women, young people and immigrants as frequent victims.

15 thoughts on “The Day Was Not About the Shroud”

  1. According to News- “Skeptics say the cloth bearing the image of a crucified man is a medieval forgery.”

    Without any proof how these skeptics say “image is a medieval forgery”

    Are their decision based on controversial Carbon Dating Results? or based on Mr. Freeman’s hypothesis of “painting”? or any other reason?

    1. No, it can’t be based on anything of mine as I always argue that the Shroud was never created to deceive but was a cloth created for some other liturgical function but which was adopted as a relic.
      It was a painting if the early depictions are anything to go by, but with the surface disintegrated we appear to only be left which the discoloured linen under the gesso and paint.

      1. Reminder for Charles:

        What makes a detective good is the ability to notice small details. In this light, the TS just cannot have been a gessso-coated painted canvass that ‘entirely’ flaked off.

        As such It just could not account for the following archeological bloodstain patterns (among several others):

        – The negative impression left by three bent and tensed fingers (little, middle and ring fingers) in the bloodstain on the left heel area (the impression being that of a left hand in a position typically of someone strengthening the hold of the TS man’s left foot (with the missing thumb and index fingers naturally placed on the top of the TS man’s foot) or, in other words, the unusual marks left by three fingers in the blood running down from the hole in the left foot

        -The shooting-star-shaped like diluted bloodstain passive pattern off right elbow consistent with body wrapped up in shrouds and diluted blood droplet first pearling at elbow tip to be drained from the corpse and then, running down (over an air-gap and/or screening object) according to a parabolic trajectory to finally fall down onto the edge of the long inner winding burial sheet.

        Besides and last but not least, there was no reason for gesso since the long canvass used as an alleged “liturgical cloth” ‘alike a long standard of Christians’ Salvation) could not have been intended to be stationary as wall hanging! Indeed gesso was NOT to be used (unless you think the medieval super genius artist was also dumb!) because it would have interfered with its very flexibility, seeing that the gesso would crack if it was rolled up or folded in several layers.

        1. Max,

          Excellent post.

          What it demonstrates once again is what I call the blind men and the elephant syndrome. Charles is a art historian. Thus for him to be relevant the Shroud must be a painting, Thus he can not see is a science, Forget about non-art history, forget about biblical exegesis, forget about the pathologists who have demonstrated that the image of the man in the Shroud accurately portrays features that a medieval painter could have not possessed the knowledge or the means to create, forget that scientific examination brought to light attributes that were invisible until fluoresced.

          Charles is an “art historian” therefore it is a painting.

        2. John, according to the Wikipedia entry on Charles he is not an “art historian”. He is a “historian”. I would think there is a significant difference.

          Thomas de Wesselow is a highly credentialed art historian.

          John, you are a lawyer. I presume in a court the art historian would hold greater expert authority than a historian in terms of the art historical aspects of the Shroud?

        3. I am familiar with Freeman’s Wikipedia entry. I deliberately forego snipping about it, He simply isn’t in De Wesselow’s league.

        4. Thank you, John.

          The fact is Charles is described in Wiki as “a scholar and freelance historian specializing in the history of ancient Greece and Rome” not an art historian. How could he otherwise have confused the simple notion of a mirror image for a negative image? How could he otherwise have thought TS image details are totally irrelevant? How could he otherwise have such a poor descriptive knowledge of the TS image?

    1. The Catholic Herald did not address any of the real issues in my article and I sent a letter of complaint to the Editor in that his chosen expert did not seem to know anything about the medieval context which my article was concerned with. What we need to work from is the mass of depictions which have not in themselves faded and other info. such as medieval treadle looms and the iconography of the front and back scourge marks.
      There was no evidence from anything I have read of Barrie’s that he is up to speed on the medieval context within which my article was set and I am surprised the Herald did not ask a medievalist to comment. Still one cannot control what the press say. Anyone who wants to read my arguments can easily find my article in a Google search under Shroud Turin and apparently it continues to be widely read.

  2. Thank you Louis. I know that image was created by some sort of Supernatural activity.

    Yes I am 100% agreeing with Mr Schwortz .

  3. We will hope other 17 years before Mr. Schwortz can be able to understand that what many sceptics think is that the Shroud was not painted as now appears. It seems a more difficult task than discovering the formation process.

  4. Not long ago Barrie Schortz explained on this blog that STURP members did check any medieval context and it seems that the “Catholic Herald”, devoted to religion, and therefore not an art journal, cannot give a lengthy report on this topic. The STURP professional photographer gave the minimum information necessary to rule out the painting hypothesis.

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