Recently, I wrote down some thoughts in the form of an essay: Slouching Towards Emmaus and Some Nonsense Along the Way. It’s more like a book. I had planned to write a few pages and ended up with 106. There is a lot of good material in that essay about the Shroud and the reasons for some evolving doubts about it.
I’m not saying the Shroud is a fake, not at all. I want to be clear about that. What I do say, in my essay and on this blog page, is that based on the facts, as I see them, I don’t see enough reliable information to be convinced that the Shroud is the genuine burial shroud of Christ. I’ve read and studied almost everything I could get my hands on during the past decade, and the best I can do is to say it is possibly real.
Toad and I were discussing the following statement from the National Catholic Register, an EWTN publication with a print circulation of 40,000 households and an online presence of 1 million reader visitors every month. This is what they wrote about the Shroud in 2015.
If you did not notice it in the Register, then perhaps you read or heard something similar — something that conveyed the same powerful message. It is an assertion that in recent years, has become a cornerstone of Shroud science and a keystone of much advocacy. You will encounter it while looking at authoritative websites. You will read it in books by well-respected authors and while you pore over peer-reviewed papers. You will hear it during a lecture in a church hall. You will see it while browsing through an exhibition or museum display. Wherever and whenever, and in whatsoever wording you encounter it, take it with a grain of salt. The assertion is simply not true.
“Truthy as in truthiness? I wrote back.
Toad reminded me that we live in a country where only 60% of the adult population believes in human evolution, where only 58% of voters believe that Joe Biden was legitimately elected president, and where only two-thirds of both Catholics and Mainline Protestants believe in the foundational miracle of their faith, namely the bodily resurrection of Christ. People believe what people want to believe. If you could prove beyond a doubt that the Shroud is real, if you could even scientifically prove the Resurrection, not much would happen. And if you could prove that the Shroud was fake, not much would happen, either.