Time’s Square

imageA.G. Harmon, who teaches Shakespeare, Law and Literature and other subjects at The Catholic University of America reviews a book of short stories over at Patheos’ Evangelical Channel. The book is William Baer’s  newest book, Times Square and Other Stories. These few words in his posting, The Art of the Authentic: Bill Baer’s Times Square, caught my attention:

The desire to be original is in fact at the heart of our first mistake—a desire not to be God-like, but to be God himself. How fine the line is between imitation and appropriation, between inspiration and theft.

Other stories tease out the same idea, but space permits mentioning only two: In “Shroud,” the drastic consequences of a man’s devotion to the story behind the Shroud of Turin—and to the need for demonstrable proof—is contrasted with the faith that makes that story irrelevant….

How often, in so many ways, do I say this, sometimes out loud?  And lately I’ve been wondering how much I mean what I say?

Tip:  Google Books will let you sample the book. Click on page 171. It looks interesting.

More Than 2 Million People Saw the Shroud in 2015


The above note reads, according to Google:

I thank the Volunteers of the Shroud and also those who have helped me in my visit to Turin. I cordially bless you and your families. And please do not forget to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and keep you Madonna.



After reading the above note to the assembled press in a closing press conference, Msgr. Cesare Nosiglia, the Archbishop of Turin, gave a brief speech. The highlights of the speech include the facts that…

  • More than 2 million people saw the shroud
  • Nearly 3 million people came to Turin including those who came to see Pope Francis
  • More than 1 million euro was collected during the Exposition and donated to the Holy Father. It will be used for charitable works in Turin.

The speech with Google translation from the Official Holy Shroud website (sindone.org) reads:

imageSummary of the Custodian, Msgr. Nosiglia

It was an exposition of the most participated and experienced by pilgrims for human and spiritual intensity. The organization and the welcome was perfect also for the kindness and friendliness of the volunteers. The path toward the Shroud proved useful with panels of social saints and with the movie of the prefetch, both judged by all well made ​​and necessary. All pilgrims then had the opportunity to pause in silence and prayer before the Shroud for a sufficient time.

Very large and varied profile of the pilgrims: families with children, young people, the homeless and the poor, Orthodox and Evangelicals, Muslims and representatives of other religions, people from European countries, America, Africa, Middle East and Asia. Of particular note is the thousands of visitors Filipinos.

They stopped in front of the Telo numerous cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, ecclesial associations and movements. Thick delegations of pontifical councils of the Holy See and the offices of the CEI.

They are also parades in front of the Shroud political authorities, economic and financial, entertainment, sports, film and theater.

And how many ‘such as’ pilgrims

The total number of pilgrims visiting the Holy Shroud in the monstrance Costituto 2015 is the sum of the people who have booked and have made ​​the journey, those who participated in the celebrations in the Cathedral, the groups walked right through the door without central reservation and authorities and personality accompanied by the Ceremonial. With this calculation, the number more than two million people.

To these must be added those in the two-day visit of the Pope have followed him all the way from Caselle in Turin, in all the squares and streets where past and has stopped . We can say, then, that Turin has received 3 million people.

We have received a number of messages and endless claims of what the experience of the Shroud was intense and full of grace and joy for the pilgrims.

The Visit of Pope Francis

Pope and all his followers were surprised by the enthusiastic welcome of the people, a sign of great affection for the Pope.

The Pope’s speeches and his actions have hit the mark and will remain in the hearts of all as an invitation to hope and confidence in the future.

The actions of the three representatives of the world of work were concrete, realistic and not of fact but also loads hope in God and in themselves. A good injection of optimism even in the middle of the well-known difficulties.

At the Shroud, the Pope was in meditative silence as each pilgrim. No word not to break the climate of silence and contemplation that requires the Shroud. But he made ​​a gesture full of tenderness and pregnant meaning. He touched the sacred Linen, as he stroked, as if he had touched the broken body of the Lord to comfort him. It’s nice that the One from whom we receive the consolation of God becomes the object of tenderness and consolation. I saw in this gesture of Veronica wipes the face of Jesus or that of women who go to anoint the body of the deceased. But I also saw the gesture of the woman with a hemorrhage, of which the Gospel speaks, he wants to touch the cloak of Jesus for healing. Jesus said, “your faith has saved you.”

The “gift” of Pope Francis for the poor of Turin

The Pope gave me a blessing and gratitude to the volunteers of the Shroud and those who have done their utmost for the success of the Exhibition. The handwritten text says: “I thank the Volunteers of the Shroud and also those who have helped me in my visit to Turin. I cordially bless you and your families. And please do not forget to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and the Madonna keep you. Affectionately. Francesco. 21.06.2015 “

The Pope has asked me to take advantage of the gift fruit of donations from pilgrims and Exposition of the faithful of the diocese of Turin, for a work of charity in favor of the latest in Turin. The figure exceeds one million Euros. We will define these days with Caritas, Migrantes Office and Ministry of Health which will make it work.

The Pope has also written a note of greeting and blessing to the children who greeted him in Piazza Solferino and on the way to Caselle . We will do have to all parishes, will be published by the Voice of the People and of http://www.sindone.org. The text says: “Dear children, I left Turin after my visit, bearing in our hearts your joyful greeting, I have blessed and I invite you to always be friends of Jesus and of you, to give everyone his Gospel of love and peace. I cordially bless you together with your parents, priests and leaders. Pray for me. Francesco 22.6 2015 “.

From the speeches and gestures of the Holy Father will derive a pastoral letter to the city and to the Diocese because both the support base of our common path for the next years.

The intervention of Elis Tisi, President of the Organizing Committee and Deputy Mayor of Turin Exposition

I Exposition of 67 days have left a mark on the city. I am proof that Turin knows mobilize in all its various social and economic components.

Turin has been able to field his best forces, for the visit of Pope Francis where 600 firefighters who served together with the police and the prefecture to ensure everyone a peaceful performance of the two days.

It was enshrined in the ability to collaborate between different parties to achieve common goals.Working together is the key to achieving the best results. This is demonstrated by the work of the Diocesan Youth Ministry who welcomed thousands of young people from around the world, the Ministry of Health who coordinated initiatives shelter for sick and disabled, including the Home, and collaboration with associations working in prisons Le Vallette and Ferrante Aporti. It also shows the sensitivity of the business community who have contributed in various ways all’ostensione.

All these examples confirm that Turin is on track to build a culture of welfare and that makes us look to the future with greater confidence.

Who Is He?

‘Silent Witness’ caused consternation.

imageK. V. Turley has posted an interesting piece, The Shroud of Turin: Fact, Fable and Mystery in Catholic Exchange:

In the late 1970s an unusual documentary film surfaced. When it was shown to London’s film critics, ‘Silent Witness’ caused consternation. Its subject matter was the Shroud of Turin – not a subject commonplace in a Britain then dealing with economic recession and punk rock. It was the first time a major documentary had emerged on that particular piece of cloth based on the then latest research, of which that decade had seen a flurry.

A year or so after, I remember being dragooned by priests into a school lecture theatre where the lights were dimmed and the aforementioned film was screened. It delighted and intrigued in equal measure. The combination of detective story and seeming scientific affirmation of the faith was a heady mix. And who could forget the ending? When all the evidence had been sifted, and the latest findings gone through in detail, we were left with only the Shroud’s head image visible upon a black screen, and then, after a brief silence, and with more than hint of incredulous impatience, a voice demanded: ‘Who is he?’

And then there was the carbon dating:

Science had been asked and had answered in a way that seemed to place doubt on any belief other than that of scientific materialism.

It was only decades later that other doubts began to emerge though, and this time they were about that 1988 test. Questions were asked about the process employed, of where on the cloth the samples had been excised from, and, more importantly, the mindset of the scientists behind it. Had they looked for and, therefore, subsequently found what they wanted? Regardless, what was certain, and what had never been fully explained to the masses, was just how fallible such carbon dating was thought to be by many scientists.  The populace had been lead to believe that the results of such tests were gospel; they were anything but.

Today, in the hushed dark of a Baroque chapel, withholding its secret still, it awaits those who come to meditate upon its pierced figure, drawing all closer to the mystery woven into the cloth’s very fabric. It is indeed an icon of suffering, but it is also one of love, ultimately speaking as it does of the Passion.

Maybe, we shall never have definitive ‘proof’; perhaps, we aren’t meant to: this linen cloth being more enigmatic than history can ever explain and even more mysterious than science can ever prove.

So, still resonating through the darkness, comes that same voice to demand:

Who is he?

Closing Mass for the 2015 Exposition of the Shroud of Turin


In the Eyes of the Befuddled

Apparent image of a man!
Oh, that awful word ‘apparent,’  a word which insanely gets it meaning
from what you intend it to mean.

imageThe wonderfully outspoken Fr. Dwight Longenecker speaks out about MSM reporting on religion in the Catholic Channel over at Patheos. The title of Longenecker’s posting, The Shroud the Pope and the “Strip of Cloth”

Can the main stream media get any dumber than when they try to report on religion?

This article at CNN reports on Pope Francis’ recent visit to Turin where he prayed before the Shroud.

Pope Francis prayed Sunday before the Shroud of Turin, a strip of cloth that some believe was used for the burial of Jesus Christ.

The shroud appears to bear the image of a man who resembles paintings of Christ.

“A strip of cloth…”??

It’s that last line, “The shroud appears to bear the image of a man who resembles paintings of Christ.”–not only is it badly written but it reveals that the writer knows next to nothing about the shroud itself–which is one of the most extensively researched relics of Christianity.

He is right, of course.  Look at the Huffington Post for another example.

The Shroud of Turin has captivated thousands of Christians over centuries, some of whom believe it covered Jesus Christ during his burial — and on Sunday, Pope Francis joined a throng of pilgrims to see the 14-foot strip of cloth in the Italian city of Turin.


Those who believe the shroud to be authentic point to the apparent image of a man imprinted on the cloth, whose wounds seem to reflect those described in the narrative of the crucifixion.

Different writers. Hmmm?  Nah!

Appears to bear! Apparent image of a man!  Oh, that awful word ‘apparent,’  a word which insanely gets it meaning from what you intend it to mean. According to Merriam-Webster:



adjective ap·par·ent \ə-ˈper-ənt, -ˈpa-rənt\

: easy to see or understand

: seeming to be true but possibly not true


But let’s not kid ourselves.  Longenecker is right. There is, after all, an obvious image of a man on that strip of cloth.

Other postings in this blog that mention Fr. Longenecker:

Imagine what Mary looked like from the Shroud of Turin?

Funny that when it comes to the Shroud of Turin the carbon testing must be considered watertight scientific proof.

Is the Shroud Evidence for God’s Existence?

Superhero Fr. Dwight Longenecker Believes in the Shroud of Turin

Ten Questions for Shroud Skeptics from Fr. Longenecker

Was Laudato Si and the Pope’s Visit to the Shroud Related?

clip_image001John Klotz has written an important piece, The Pope, the Apocalypse and the Shroud and posted it in his Quantum Christ blog. Do read it.

On Thursday, June 18, 2015, Pope Francis released to the world his groundbreaking encyclical on climate change Laudato Si. On Sunday, June 21, he prayed before the Shroud of Turin and then standing-up moved forward and tenderly touched the rim of the Shroud’s display frame. Both the release of Laudato Si on  June 18 and his travel to Turin had been determined and publicized months in advance. Could they have been related?

Do read it.

A Shameless Plug

Your words, Colin; not mine.

imageWe find Colin Berry, who has once again quit this blog forever for the umpteenth time, now posting in DISQUS. He is plugging his latest theory.

Here we go a quoting from DISQUS:

Title: "The Pope" … "sad world of make believe"


Colin is referring to a story in The Telegraph, The Pope joins the EU in a sad world of make-believe by Christopher Booker. It is an opinion piece about Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’. It is not about the shroud. Not at all.

Who cares, Colin, right? Let’s trollishly intrude!

So Colin continues:

Fiddlesticks. For one moment I thought that might be a reference to his paying homage to the Shroud of Turin, allowing one shamelessly to plug (without splitting an infinitive) the latest Blue Peter "Make Your Own Turin Shroud" shamelessly immodest breakthrough discovery.


Simply paint a gluey cold water slurry of plain white flour onto one’s 3D subject – whether a real person or a bas relief (probably the latter for the face), imprint onto linen, then press the dried imprint with a really hot iron (linen setting). Hey presto, one gets a negative sepia-coloured Shroud-like image of one’s subject. Nope, it won’t wash out, so may well be permanent. It may even display those ‘mysterious’ 3D properties if you use dowloadable software (ImageJ etc) that excels in finding "3D" wherever there’s tonal contrast in one’s 2D image.

Maybe the children’s show will send Colin an honorary iron-on Blue Peter patch.

Read about Colin’s latest hypothesis, A new and simple thermal imprinting model for the Turin Shroud needing only plain white flour and a hot iron – in 12 pictures.