Yesterday, Stephen Jones touched on the question:
As I pointed out … :
An `icon,’ in Roman Catholic theology is merely a humanly created representation of the real thing:
"ICON … from the Greek eikon meaning image, is a word now generally applied to paintings of sacred subjects or scenes from sacred histories" ("Icon," New Catholic Encyclopedia 2003. My emphasis)
as opposed to `relic’ which is the real thing:
"RELICS The material remains of a saint or holy person after his death, as well as objects sanctified by contact with his body." ("Relics," New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2003)"
So by continuing to refuse to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic, and in fact calling the Shroud an `icon,’ Pope Francis, and the Vatican, is sending a mixed message that the Shroud could be a fake. Pope Francis himself might well believe that the Shroud is a fake, but the Vatican, by its actions: 1) spending the equivalent of many millions of dollars protecting the Shroud; and 2) displaying it to many millions of people, clearly believes the Shroud is authentic.
"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." This is damming the Shroud with faint praise and reinforces that Pope Francis really does think (wrongly) that the Shroud is just another fake icon. But the evidence is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic, and therefore the image on the Shroud IS "the tormented face and body of Jesus"! Again, I am not being anti-Catholic in this but pro-truth and pro-Shroud (which is the same thing)! ..
Then, in responding to a comment by a reader, we added:
But I assume that the Vatican is trapped inside its policy not to confirm or deny that any of its relics are authentic, because then it would be under pressure to confirm or deny which of its many other relics are authentic, and the vast majority of them would be fakes.
The quotation that begins, “The shroud draws,” is from an article, Pope Francis Pope Francis praises Turin shroud as an ‘icon of love’ that appeared in The Guardian June 22, this year.