Carol Glatz has an interesting piece in the Catholic Herald, ‘Obsession’ with authenticity hides Turin Shroud’s real meaning, says expert. That expert is Gian Maria Zaccone, scientific director of the Museum of the Shroud of Turin. He said it at a preview of the shroud exposition for journalists. Take a couple of minutes to read the entire article:
“It is up to one’s own personal judgment, that is, neither I nor anyone else can tell you that the Shroud is authentic or not; each person examines and works out what research has offered” and then makes up his or her own mind.
Church doctrine has long held that any reverence or honour given to a religious object or relic must be given to what it represents and not to the object itself, he said.
As I am getting ready to post the above, in comes an email from Joe Marino with a Google translation of a Vatican Insider article that features answers to questions by Zaccone and Andrea Nicolotti. Nicolotti is a frequent participant in this blog who has commented nearly two-hundred times. In the Vatican Insider article Nicolotti tells us (Googlized):
"The Church in the official discourse uses some caution, however, in practice (books, television, catechesis, conferences) promotes propaganda authenticity and discourages the contrary. This creates a lot of ambiguity. "
What Nicolotti is saying is the same thing I am beginning to hear more often. Stephen Jones used the term duplicitous, which is a bit harsh. See yesterday’s posting, Ye shall know them by their photographs.
And so the question was posed: What should the Church do with the Shroud?
Nicolotti: "No, this is not a question for a historian. It is not my job to say what the Church should do. As far as I’m concerned I feel so overwhelming evidence medieval origin, which I can not understand how anyone can argue otherwise if not placing myself from a point of view devotional or emotional, not rational. "
Zaccone: "I agree that we need a historical, but we must give priority to the study of the object to get the answers we seek regarding the origin of the Shroud. Consider the historical research is very important in many ways, but not fundamental to the question of authenticity. The Church, as I said before, does what it has always historically done and continues to do: teaching propose that image to go to the heart of what it represents, according to the teaching that, through the representation, honor and worship you make it to the principal. "
N: "From the historical point of view it is necessary to perform a cleaning of all the false rumors and legends about the Shroud touted as true. A serious scientific study would be equally desirable. Let’s start with some certain items. The first historical are medieval. At the time, even those who possessed it affirmed the authenticity of the Shroud: called "figure or representation."The fabric – according to my conclusions, which had already reached some historians of weaving, unheeded – is technologically medieval. Twelve radiocarbon datings, performed in 1988 in three different laboratories, have called medieval. Then there are strong indications, such as the fact that no one in history for thirteen centuries, from the tomb of Jesus to the Middle Ages, has never spoken of this shroud; and when the bishop of Troyes and the pope have spoken for the first time, they did say that it was a fraud. So I conclude that it is extremely unlikely that this object dates from the time of Jesus. In addition, the image on the Shroud could not have produced by contact with a dead body without the intervention of a craftsman, and stains of "blood" are not realistic. Efforts are made to doubt this evidence, but I think no effectiveness. If we want to give priority to the devotional aspect, then there was no talk of authenticity. But the question always resurfaces, I can not dodge the issue. That the problem is not secondary demonstrated by the fact that the Shroud is constantly engaged in an effort to delegitimize the results of studies to the detriment of the authenticity, concocting complicated alternative explanations or by resorting to the subject of the miracle. It rejects arguments against and always has a tendency to cite research favorable authenticity (pollens, written, coins) without ever giving into account when they are rejected by the scientific community. Meanwhile access to the Shroud is foreclosed to scholars for decades: it is even forbidden to work on the high-resolution photographs, a situation quite simply unacceptable. "
Z: "I do not think can be considered closed the question of the origin of the Shroud. I’m not saying that is certainly true, I just say that you can not wipe out so simply a series of elements at least doubts, such as the formation of the image, which even today, despite the numerous theoretical and experimental studies carried out, remains without explanation because no one has yet managed to produce an equal. Also because the problems of interpretation of radiocarbon dating were already present in the literature relative to other datings addition to that of the Shroud. Also I think I have repeatedly made clear how the documents, particularly those medieval, can be interpreted in a more complex and not necessarily for the worse. And I would also like you cease to believe that any researcher – even if the value of goal – that enters the order of ideas that the Shroud may be authentic, thereby become unreliable when no object of derision. There must be a science of the Shroud, but scientists who study according to their specializations. I do not find correct that a nuclear physicist deals with history and vice versa. "
There is, on a single page, an excellent AP video and an awful short-shrifting by Paul Vale, the New York based Night Editor for the Huffington Post UK on the HuffPo-UK site. The article is probably short enough to repost the whole thing without violating fair use. The video, unfortunately sandwiched in between the headline and the story, is well worth watching. It can be accessed by clicking on the picture on the right:
A piece of cloth scientifically proven to have no connection to Biblical times has gone on display in Italy, with millions expected to make the pilgrimage to see the medieval forgery. The infamous Shroud of Turin — a 14 foot piece of linen once believed to be Christ’s burial cloth — went on public display on Sunday after a 5-year hiatus, with Pope Francis reportedly planning to see the “sacred” garb in June.
The linen boasts a faded image of a bearded man, which for centuries was said to be an imprint of the face of Christ. However, in 1988 researchers dated the shroud with Carbon 14 testing, the results placing the garment’s creation within the period 1260-1390. Still, many members of the clergy dismissed the facts, with one Archbishop even decrying the findings as an "overseas Masonic plot" designed to discredit the Roman Catholic Church.
Recent Popes have been careful to avoid pronouncing on the issue, unwilling to reject the shroud while opting to highlight its more symbolic resonance. Yet despite its inauthenticity, the relic remains a big draw for tourists — believers and non-believers. "It’s an occasion that brings everybody together and aims to give a precise response to the violence in this world. It tells us that the way to build a fairer world is not violence, but love," Cesare Nosiglia, Turin’s current archbishop, told the Associated Press.
The shroud will remain on display in the Cathedral of Turin until June 24.
An old friend who just discovered this blog writes:
We keep reading that the Catholic church does not have a position on the shroud. Like they can? That’s BS! Look at the picture on their website. It’s a big case of watch what I do and ignore what I say. Do you think all those bishops and priests are ( What’s the word? Venerating? ) what might be a medieval forgery? Give me a break. Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Ouch. Not good context. Matthew 7:15&16 (NRSV) reads, “15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits.”
Not good context at all.
The above picture that my friend included in his email is in rotation on the official exposition website, sindone.org, and is currently the masthead for the Archdiocese’s official exposition Facebook and Twitter pages.
I get the point but is it valid? Stephen Jones is saying similar things in his blog, absent the photograph:
As I have stated before, it is duplicitous (i.e. two-faced), of the Vatican to refuse to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic. By its actions of spending the equivalent of tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars preserving the Shroud and exhibiting it to millions of people as though it is authentic, the Vatican clearly does believe that the Shroud is authentic, so it should say so. Shroud anti-authenticists cite the Vatican’s refusal to state that the Shroud is authentic as evidence that it is not. I am not being anti-Catholic in this, I am being pro-truth! (italic emphasis is Steven’s)
For what it’s worth, I think the church is saying the right thing and showing the shroud in the right way.
Skeptics have suggested various weird and wonderful ways in which it might have been
produced; they all contradict each other, and none is remotely plausible.
In a 2011 book, British scholar Charles Freeman suggested that the shroud was created for medieval Easter rituals. The earliest mention of the shroud he could find was in 1355, when the cloth was displayed at a chapel in Lirey, France.
“On Easter morning the gospel accounts of the resurrection would be re-enacted with ‘disciples’ acting out a presentation in which they would enter a makeshift tomb and bring out the grave clothes to show that Christ had indeed risen,” Freeman told The Guardian.
Italy’s former royal family, the House of Savoy, acquired the shroud in 1453. Freeman says the family “converted” the cloth “into a high-prestige relic” in order to bolster the kingdom’s reputation.
A caption writer for an accompanying gallery of pictures had a different story to tell:
This image cannot be a medieval fake: the image does not match the style, technique, or concepts of medieval imagery, and it cannot be a painting or a rubbing. Skeptics have suggested various weird and wonderful ways in which it might have been produced; they all contradict each other, and none is remotely plausible.
And there is this caption for a photograph of the frontal full body image:
The Shroud was first photographed in 1898, revealing that it is an astonishingly realistic negative image. This unequivocally proves that the Shroud cannot be a medieval man-made forgery, for no one knew how to produce such an image in those days – or would have wanted to. And no, Leonardo couldn’t have either – apart from anything else, he was born a century after the Shroud is first documented in France.
And this caption for a picture of the Hungarian Pray Codex
Folio 28r of the Pray Codex, a Hungarian manuscript produced between 1192 and 1195, depicting two scenes from the Passion. Most people believe the Shroud is a fake due to the 1988 carbon-dating test, but the botched sampling of the cloth and the last-minute abandonment of agreed-upon procedures mean that the carbon-dating test had severe flaws. Carbon-dating is by no means 100% reliable, and the carbon-dating of ancient cloths appears to be particularly error-prone. Contamination or a medieval repair can account for the problematic Shroud test. This miniature painting, dating from the 1190s, depicts the Shroud, complete with a distinctive pattern of burn-marks, at least a century before the date suggested by the carbon-dating.
The Archdiocese of Turin, under the leadership of the Pontifical Custodian of the Shroud Msgr. Cesare Nosiglia, Archbishop of Turin has done an extraordinarily good job of organizing the 2015 Exposition. Part of this has been assembling a network of informative cyberspace venues.
Their home page is available in Italian, French and English. Not so, unfortunately, are many of the interior pages, a disappointment only because there is such wonderful content. Alas, forsooth, sweet Google translation. To read or not to read, that is the question.
Here are the official social media outlets:
There is a haunting “Godong via Getty Image” photograph of the “Details of the Shroud of Turin” in the Wall Street Journal. I think the photograph may actually be a cut and paste from a reproduction (below) of the shroud’s face in the Chiesa Della Ss. Annunziata Church in Turin which is sold as a poster in gift shops around town. It may also be ordered as a poster, T-shirt or tote bag from AllPosters.com. And here is a good copy of that cut and paste at the Huffington Post, which captions it correctly.
The Wall Street Journal’s Vatican reporter, Francis X. Rocca, yesterday, filed a perspective on the upcoming exhibition of the shroud, An Ancient Shroud and an Eternal Debate: The display of Turin’s famed relic begins Sunday. He writes:
When the Shroud of Turin goes on display Sunday for the first time in five years, it will revive a long-running debate as to whether it is a medieval fabrication or—as Catholic devotees have believed for centuries—the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
But that debate raises the larger question of why Catholics venerate the shroud—and countless other relics.
The fervor surrounding each display of the shroud testifies to the power such relics command in the church. More than a million people have already reserved a free ticket for an up-close view of the shroud, which will be displayed until June 24. Visitors will file past the shroud for 12 hours a day, and about a fifth of the available dates are sold out.
Such veneration inevitably gave rise to a market in relics, some of them dubious, such as the head of St. John the Baptist—as a child. For centuries, pilgrims to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome thought they were venerating a “Veil of Veronica” that the Vatican today acknowledges is a copy.
In the case of the Shroud of Turin, the church does not take a stance as to whether it is authentic or not, leaving that question to scientists and historians. The results of carbon-14 tests in 1988 suggested the shroud was no older than the 13th century, but other experts have since suggested that the fabric tested may have been contaminated by centuries of handling. No one has been able to duplicate the image on the shroud or to explain how it was produced.
When Pope John Paul II visited the shroud in 1998, he acknowledged disagreements about its history and actual connection to Jesus. “Since it is not a matter of faith, the church has no specific competence to pronounce on these questions,” John Paul said.
Google translation of some news reported this past Saturday on the Archdiocese’s Shroud of Turin Exposition 2015 website:
Two hundred volunteers – including doctors, nurses and other professionals – and in two local hospitals equipped to host and provide the necessary assistance to the sick and disabled who come to Turin to see the Shroud and want to stay at least one night in town.
In preparing the Exposition special attention is paid to people who are ill or disabled, which is also reflected in the way of acceptance with the creation of two Accueil , on the model of Lourdes. An initiative designed in order to allow the pilgrims (sick and carers) can, as mentioned, sleep at least one night in the city and arrange a visit to the Shroud without the fatigue of a day trip.
"These two spaces – recalled Don Marco Brunetti , Director of Health Pastoral Care, the presentation of the Accueil March 28 at Maria Adelaide in the presence of Archbishop Mgr. Nosiglia – for the entire period of the Exhibition (from April 19 to June 24), provide 70 beds with bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner, volunteers 24 hours 24 and medical care. A good example of collaboration between many realities that really puts the patient at the center.
. . . before the exposition starts, about one million people have signed up. Most Saturdays and Sundays, particularly in May, are booked up — close to or at maximum capacity. There are plenty of slots available most other days of the week.
Translated, with some help from Google, from the Archdiocese of Turin Shroud Exposition Facebook page:
At dawn [March 5, 2015] the reliquary that will host the Shroud during the 67-day exposition was delivered to cathedral in Turin. The Holy Shroud will be protected by a thick glass specifically designed to improve viewing. The cloth will be transferred in the days immediately preceding the opening of 19 April.
Note: The cathedral is currently closed to the public until the opening day of the exposition.
Cindy Wooden writing for the Catholic News Service reports that During Turin Shroud display, archbishop offers absolution to women who have had abortions:
With the aim of ensuring that the public display of the Shroud of Turin promotes conversion and healing, the archbishop of Turin has given priests throughout the archdiocese special faculties to offer absolution to women who confess to having had an abortion.
The display of the shroud from April 19 – June 24 should be “a time of grace that translates into attitudes of conversion, the fruit of repentance and newness of life,” Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia wrote in a decree signed February 18, Ash Wednesday.
However, he said, the permission granted to priests is limited to the time of the shroud’s public display so as not to “diminish the rigour of the law,” which aims to teach people how seriously wrong it is to kill an innocent life.
Note the face of the Man of the Shroud on the chair back (click on the chair for a larger view).
And you must watch this video of the chair being assembled to the music, The Charleston composed by James P. Johnson for the Broadway show Runnin Wild. Watch and tap your feet from the 21 second mark until you get bored about a minute later.
I spotted the call on the Cardinal G. Saldarini Association Facebook Page. A headline topping the Home Page of the Holy Shroud Guild that read “CALL FOR TRADITIONAL LITURGY DURING EXPOSITION OF THE HOLY SHROUD – TURIN APRIL-JUNE 2015” had sent me hunting.
On the Rorate-Caeli blog I found a compact introduction:
In 2015, there will be in Turin an exposition of the Holy Shroud (Sindone), and millions of pilgrims are expected. We are trying to have as many TLMs as possible during the exposition and are already cooperating with many traditional communities and institutes supporting them as a local base to organize their celebrations and keeping a calendar of the various pilgrimages in order to avoid overlapping.
Our goal is to have the maximum possible of participants at their celebrations in Turin and to develop collaboration with them for the future. We have prepared an appeal to all traditional communities that has been released in many traditional sites and Facebook pages in French and other languages.
The Facebook page for the Associazione Cardinal G. Saldarini has the full release in English, which is now making the rounds of many Latin Mass societies:
CALL FOR TRADITIONAL LITURGY DURING EXPOSITION OF THE HOLY SHROUD – TURIN APRIL-JUNE 2105
FROM ASSOCIAZIONE CARDINAL G. SALDARINI
for the Latin-Gregorian Liturgy “Summorum Pontificum”
(Coetus fidelium stabiliter existens ex art. 5 M.P. Summorum Pontificum et art. 15 . Instr. Universae Ecclesiae)
As you might already be aware of, H.E. Cesare Nosiglia, Archbishop of Turin, has arranged from 19th April to 24th June 2015, an extraordinary exposition of the Holy Shroud (more information and booking of the visit are available on the website www.sindone.org).
Among the pilgrims from around the world that will gather in Turin to venerate the holy relic, on this occasion there will certainly be, as in past expositions, many priests and devotees of the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite.
The Associazione Cardinal G. Saldarini – founded in 2013 to promote in the territory of the Province of Turin the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite according to the provisions of MP Summorum Pontificum Cura – makes itself available to these priests and devotees to offer its help in the organization of the pilgrimage and in assisting the liturgical functions in the extraordinary form.
At the same time, it would like to take, as much as possible, the opportunity to participate and to involve the devotees in Turin in the functions that these pilgrims will organize.
For these reasons, if the community entrusted to you or that you are member of is interested in promoting a pilgrimage to Turin to venerate the Holy Shroud, including celebrations in the extraordinary form, we would be grateful if you would inform us by contacting us via mail (cardinalsaldarini @ gmail.com).
If you would also like to know more about our activities, please visit our Facebook page (accessible without registration):
We look forward to hearing from you soon,
Sincerely yours in X.to et M.a
I find this fascinating. I’m Episcopalian. My wife and I attend a parish church which does an Anglican version of the high mass every Sunday. Were it not in English you wouldn’t know the difference from appearances (except that you might notice women priests).
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.
The move came as Pope Francis called for a “unanimous” global response to the self-declared Islamic State as he left on his first official visit to the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Israeli state TV reported Sunday that U.S. intelligence services had warned the Vatican could be the next terrorist target, as international leaders joined an estimated 2 million people in a massive anti-terrorism rally in Paris.
But the Vatican’s chief spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, on Monday said the Holy See had received no specific threats.
[ . . . ]
Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and senior Italian police said there was no evidence of a particular threat at the Vatican but stressed that the tiny city state was on high alert, especially following persistent threats from the Islamic State.
Security has also been beefed up in Rome’s Jewish quarter, in front of media outlets and places of worship, and at popular tourist sites across the country.
And what is being done for the Shroud Exposition, April 19 through June 24, in Turin? How much concern will there be among pilgrims and tourists to this major event?
Picture from the blog Casa Isonzo, April 16, 2010.
Trip Advisor gives the Cathedral and the Holy Shroud 4 out of 5 stars from 256 reviews.
That should increase dramatically.
Catholic Digest has published an undated, brief article about the Shroud. The intent seems to be promote a tour by that publication.
In 2015 the Shroud will be open for viewing from April 19 to June 24. Catholic Digest pilgrims will be there in June for a full-day visit in Turin to view the Shroud. The Shroud is located in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, but the Museum of the Shroud is within walking distance of the Shroud exhibition. This attraction displays artifacts related to the Shroud, including the silver casket previously used to store it.
What else is there to see in Turin?
The Mole Antonelliana is another symbol of the city, completed in 1889, and is an example of some of the most impressive architecture in Turin. Overlooking the city is the Basilica Superga, where the tombs of the royal family Savoy are located. For more information about the 2015 Shroud Exhibition, go to Shroud.com. You can view an interactive image of the Shroud, as well as find answers to frequently asked questions and check out all the latest news about the artifact.
To sign up for Catholic Digest’s The Shroud of Turin and Shrines of Italy Tour June 15-26, 2015, contact Susan Prendergast at 800-842-4842 or email@example.com.
FYI: The Catholic Digest tour is June 15–26, 2015, prices start at $4,495.
MORE: For a wealth of additional information, check on The Holy Shroud Official Website (sindone.org). You will need to use Google or Bing translation if you don’t know Italian (this is my one remaining big criticism of this otherwise useful site).
FYI 2: Sindone.org tweeted that there are no reservations available on June 21, the day that the Pope will be visiting the shroud.