Saturday, March 1, 2014

Holy Shroud to be exhibited April 19-June 24 2015

ANSA English News Holy Shroud to be exhibited April 19-June 24 2015 To coincide with Don Bosco bicentenary, pope visit 27 February, 2014.

The article's words are bolded to distinguish them from mine.

[Above: Pope Benedict XVI prays before the Shroud at the last public exhibition in 2010: New York Times]

Holy Shroud to be exhibited April 19-June 24 2015 (ANSA) - Turin, February 27. Thanks to Barrie Schwortz for tipping me off about this: "Breaking News!, February 27, 2014, `Dates Announced for 2015 Shroud Exhibition'"

- The mysterious Shroud of Turin will be exhibited for an unprecedented 67 days next year, the office that keeps what Catholics revere as Christ's winding sheet said Thursday. Not only "Catholics", but Protestants (like me), also accept, on the basis of the evidence, that the 4.4 m x 1.1 m linen cloth known as the Shroud of Turin is Christ's winding sheet!

From April 19 to June 24, 2015 the shroud that is believed by many faithful to bear the image of a dead Jesus will be on display. Because dead bodies don't leave an anatomically perfect, three-dimensional, photographic negative, image of themselves on their burial clothes, it is not "a dead Jesus" but Jesus at the very moment of taking up His life again (Jn 10:17-19):

"Even from the limited available information, a hypothetical glimpse of the power operating at the moment of creation of the Shroud's image may be ventured. In the darkness of the Jerusalem tomb the dead body of Jesus lay, unwashed, covered in blood, on a stone slab. Suddenly, there is a burst of mysterious power from it. In that instant the blood dematerializes, dissolved perhaps by the flash, while its image and that of the body becomes indelibly fused onto the cloth, preserving for posterity a literal "snapshot" of the Resurrection." (Wilson, I., "The Shroud of Turin: The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ?," 1979, p.251. My emphasis).

The unusually long showing is because it will coincide with the bicentenary of the birth of Catholic educator and slum reformer Saint John Bosco and with a visit by Pope Francis whose exact date has yet to be established, the Shroud office said. Pope Francis may have an ulterior motive (which I approve of) that of emphasising the example of Don Bosco, who instead of sexually and physically abusing children in his care, which too many Roman Catholic clergy and workers have done, Don Bosco gave shelter and a job to homeless and unemployed youth:

"John Bosco ... [1815-1888], popularly known as Don Bosco, [Right] was an Italian Roman Catholic priest of the Latin Church, educator and writer of the 19th century. While working in Turin, where the population suffered many of the effects of industrialization and urbanization, he dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth. He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, a method that became known as the Salesian Preventive System ... Together with Maria Domenica Mazzarello, he founded the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, a religious congregation of nuns dedicated to the care and education of poor girls... At that time the city of Turin had a population of 117,000 inhabitants. It reflected the effects of industrialization and urbanization: numerous poor families lived in the slums of the city, having come from the countryside in search of a better life. In visiting the prisons Don Bosco was disturbed to see so many boys from 12 to 18 years of age. He was determined to find a means to prevent them ending up here. Because of population growth and migration to the city, Bosco found the traditional methods of parish ministry inefficient. He decided it was necessary to try another form of apostolate, and he began to meet the boys where they worked and gathered in shops, offices, market places. They were pavers, stone-cutters, masons, plasterers who came from far away places ... For Don Bosco it became his permanent occupation. He looked for jobs for the unemployed. Some of the boys did not have sleeping quarters and slept under bridges or in bleak public dormitories. Twice he tried to provide lodgings in his house. The first time they stole the blankets; the second they emptied the hay-loft. He did not give up. In May 1847, he gave shelter to a young boy from Valesia, in one of the three rooms he was renting in the slums of Valdocco, where he was living with his mother. He and "Mamma Margherita" began taking in orphans. The boys sheltered by Don Bosco numbered 36 in 1852, 115 in 1854, 470 in 1860 and 600 in 1861, 800 being the maximum some time later." ("John Bosco,", Wikipedia, 24 February 2014).

The Bible says that all true Christians are saints (e.g. Acts 9:13,32,41; 26:10; Rom 1:7; 1Cor 1:2; Heb 6:10, Jude 1:3), but not all are saintly as Don Bosco evidently was.

June 24 is the feat day of Turin's patron saint St John the Baptist, as well as the name day of Don Bosco, as he is more commonly known. Born on August 16, 1815 as Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco, the priest worked in 19th-century industrialized Turin to better the lives of street children and disadvantaged youth. See above. I don't know what Don Bosco's view of the Shroud was, but one of his Salesian order, the late Father Peter Rinaldi, was America's leading populariser of the Shroud,

[Above: Two of America's leading sindonologists, co-founders of the United States Holy Shroud Guild, Fr Peter Rinaldi (1911-1993), left and Fr Adam Otterbein (1916-1998), right: Wilcox, R.K., 2010, "The Truth About the Shroud of Turin," p.128L]

from the 1930s:

"The Rev. Peter M. Rinaldi, who fostered interest in the Shroud of Turin and encouraged scientific investigation of its authenticity, died on Sunday at a hospital in Turin, Italy. He was 82 and lived in Turin and Port Chester, N.Y. He died of heart failure, church associates said. As an altar boy at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Turin, he learned about the shroud kept there, which some people believe to be Jesus Christ's burial cloth. It bears the imprint of a human body and bearded face, with marks corresponding to wounds from the crown of thorns described in the Bible. Father Rinaldi publicized the shroud to Roman Catholics in America in a 1934 magazine article and a 1940 book, `I Saw the Holy Shroud.' Father Rinaldi was born in Lu near Turin. At the age of 15 he came to the United States, joining two older brothers. He graduated from Fordham University and the Don Bosco International Theological Institute in Turin." ("Obituary: Rev. Peter Rinaldi, 82, Shroud of Turin Expert," New York Times, March 5, 1993).

The Shroud of Turin is not often shown in public but in March, Pope Francis was involved in a broadcast event that showed rare images of the mysterious holy relic to TV viewers. Francis delivered the opening message in that unusual event on state broadcaster RAI, which marked only the second time the Church has permitted the Shroud to be filmed and broadcast. It will be interesting to read what Pope Francis says about the Shroud this time. As far as I am aware he considers it to be merely an "icon", i.e. on the same level as a man-made painting:

"Pope Francis has drawn an explicit link between Christ and the ghostly image imprinted on the Turin Shroud but stopped short of declaring the holy icon the true burial cloth of Jesus. Francis made his first remarks on the mysterious cloth since being elected Pope in a special video message as the shroud was shown live on television for only the second time in its history ... Francis referred to the 14ft-long strip of sepia fabric, which is imprinted with the face and body of a bearded man, as `the Holy Shroud' and asked: `How is it that the faithful, like you, pause before this icon of a man scourged and crucified? It is because the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth.'" ("Pope Francis links Turin Shroud to Jesus Christ as cloth is shown on television for Easter," Nick Squires, Rome, The Telegraph 30 Mar 2013).

In 2010, former Pope Benedict XVI viewed the Shroud of Turin during a special seven-week display that marked the first time the Shroud had been seen by the public since it was restored in 2002. By contrast, his predecessor Pope Benedict effectively claimed that the Shroud was authentic:

"Dismissing skeptics on Sunday when he visited the Shroud of Turin, Pope Benedict XVI said the burial cloth was none other than the same robe that once 'wrapped the remains' of Jesus Christ., Pope Benedict described the shroud, which allegedly bears blood stains and the facial imprint of a long-haired, bearded man, as an icon that once `wrapped the remains of a crucified man in full correspondence with what the Gospels tell us of Jesus.' While Pope Benedict joins the ranks of those who believe the sepia-colored shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, skeptics dismiss it as an ingenious medieval forgery that radiocarbon testing has dated about 800 years old." ("Pope Benedict says Shroud of Turin authentic burial robe of Jesus," Nick Squires, Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2010).

Before then, it had been on view in 2000 and has been on display only five times in the past 100 years. It was only in 1983 that the Shroud was bequeathed by its owner, ex-King Umberto II of Savoy to "the Pope and his successors" but in those 31 years there have been three Exposition of the Shroud: 1998, 2000 and 2010. Again it is clear from this increased frequency of expositions of the Shroud, and the great expense that the Vatican goes to to protect it (see below), that the Vatican's real position is that the Shroud is authentic. But in that case, the Vatican is guilty of duplicity (i.e. "the form of deceitfulness that leads one to give two impressions, either or both of which may be false") by refusing to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic, presumably to protect itself from having to admit that most of its other relics are fakes. Again, I am not anti-Catholic in this - I am pro-truth.

Believers say the linen Shroud was used to wrap the body of Christ after his crucifixion and countless scientific tests conducted over the years have revealed the outline of the body of a man embedded in the fabric. It doesn't take a scientific test to "reveal... the outline of the body of a man embedded in the fabric." What the scientific tests have revealed, with the sole exception of the 1988 radiocarbon dating (see below), is that the Shroud is authentic.

The Shroud is normally heavily guarded in a bullet-proof, climate-controlled glass case within Turin's most important cathedral. See above. Why would the Vatican go to such expense to protect the Shroud if it really thought it was a fake?

Only once before had images of the Shroud been broadcast as ordered in November 1973 by then-pope Paul VI. If that is true (and I cannot remember if it is), that was 41 years ago, before the Roman Catholic Church even owned the Shroud. And if it is true, then why has it taken so long?

Some sceptics maintain the Shroud is nothing more than an elaborate fake dating from the Middle Ages, triggering centuries of debate over whether the image is truly that of Christ, or a very good forgery. If the Shroud were "a very good forgery" it would be the greatest work of art of all time. So why do those who claim it is just "a very good forgery" not clamour for it to be exhibited permanently as other great works of art are?

Radiocarbon-dating tests conducted on the cloth in 1988 suggested it dated from between 1260 and 1390; however, other scientists have since claimed those results could have been distorted by centuries of contamination. Or the laboratories were duped by a computer hacker who overrode the Shroud's first (or early) century radiocarbon dates coming from the Accelerated Mass Spectrometer into the computer which displayed the results, and replaced those dates with 14th century ones which `just happened' to agree with the Shroud's first appearance in undisputed history at Lirey, France in the 1350s.

Harry Grove, the co-inventor of AMS radiocarbon dating described what happened at the very first radiocarbon dating of the Shroud at Arizona radiocarbon laboratory on 6 May 1988:

"The first sample run was OX1. Then followed one of the controls. Each run consisted of a 10 second measurement of the carbon-13 current and a 50 second measurement of the carbon-14 counts. This is repeated nine more times and an average carbon-14/carbon-13 ratio calculated. All this was under computer control and the calculations produced by the computer were displayed on a cathode ray screen. The age of the control sample could have been calculated on a small pocket calculator but was not-everyone was waiting for the next sample-the Shroud of Turin! At 9:50 am 6 May 1988, Arizona time, the first of the ten measurements appeared on the screen. We all waited breathlessly. The ratio was compared with the OX sample and the radiocarbon time scale calibration was applied by Doug Donahue. ... At the end of that one minute we knew the age of the Turin Shroud! The next nine numbers confirmed the first ... Based on these 10 one minute runs, with the calibration correction applied, the year the flax had been harvested that formed its linen threads was 1350 AD-the shroud was only 640 years old! It was certainly not Christ's burial cloth but dated from the time its historic record began." (Gove, H.E., 1996, "Relic, Icon or Hoax?: Carbon Dating the Turin Shroud," p.264. My emphasis).

So the very first run produced on the computer screen the too good to be true, bull's eye date, "1350 AD"! Gove himself, knowing better than anyone the problems of AMS radiocarbon dating, expected a date of the Shroud of "1000 ±100 years":

"I had a bet with Shirley on the shroud's age-she bet 2000 ± 100 years old and I bet 1000 ±100 years. Whoever won bought the other a pair of cowboy boots. Although my guess was wrong, it was closer than Shirley's. She bought me the cowboy boots." (Gove, 1996, p.264).

[Above: The caption of this photo reads:

"Those present at the Arizona AMS carbon dating facility at 9:50 am on 6 May 1988 when the age of the shroud was determined. They include Doug Donahue (third from the left, standing), Tim Jull (fourth from the left, standing), Harry Gove (sixth from the left, standing) and Paul Damon (seventh from the left, standing)" (Gove, 1996, p.176H. My emphasis).

Note the computer at the control console which is the interface between the AMS radiocarbon dating system and the humans in the laboratory. Note also Gove's uncritical assumption that "the age of the shroud was determined" to be "1350 AD" (see below), by the very first run of the Arizona's laboratory's dating alone!]

But as Arizona University trained astronomer-turned Berkeley University computer systems manager Clifford Stoll related in his book, "The Cuckoo's Egg" (1989), university computers in the 1980s were all interconnected and poorly secured:

"The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage is a 1989 book written by Clifford Stoll. It is his first-person account of the hunt for a computer hacker who broke into a computer at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL)... Stoll recorded the hacker's actions as he sought, and sometimes gained unauthorized access to military bases around the United States, looking for files that contained words such as `nuclear' or `SDI'. The hacker also copied password files (in order to make dictionary attacks) and set up Trojan horses to find passwords. Stoll was amazed that on many of these high-security sites the hacker could easily guess passwords, since many system administrators never bothered to change the passwords from their factory defaults. Even on army bases, the hacker was sometimes able to log in as `guest' with no password." ("The Cuckoo's Egg," Wikipedia, 8 February 2014).

So it is a reasonable hypothesis that the University of Arizona's radiocarbon dating laboratory (and those of the other two laboratories at Zurich and Oxford) were all interconnected and insecure, and were the unsuspecting victims of a computer hacker, who replaced the Shroud's first (or early) century radiocarbon dates coming from each laboratories' Accelerated Mass Spectrometer with 14th century dates, either as a practical joke by university students, or as a deliberate attempt to discredit the Shroud. That the very first date was the too good to be true date "1350 AD" and they all meekly accepted it, even those who thought the Shroud was authentic, adds weight to my `the laboratories were duped by a computer hacker' hypothesis.

That has led to calls for more testing, which the Vatican has consistently refused. I agree with the Vatican in this. The evidence already is overwhelming that the Shroud is authentic, so the sceptics should accept that it is authentic. And to radiocarbon date the Shroud again, this time properly, would require representative samples from every major area of the cloth, which would rightly be unacceptable to the Vatican. And because of the deeply contaminated state of the Shroud's linen, it is unlikely that new tests would return a radiocarbon date of the first century (although it would be early). But if the new radiocarbon dates of the Shroud were anything but first century, Shroud sceptics would then claim that it showed the Shroud to be a fake!

So the Vatican's answer to Shroud sceptics (and even Shroud pro-authenticists) who want another go at carbon dating the Shroud, should be: `The Turin Shroud is authentic. Get over it!' (with apologies to Tom Chivers).

Posted: 1 March 2014. Updated: 7 May 2016.


Bippy123 said...

I believe this was the longest it's been on display in a while. It's interesting to see the church being more open to displaying the shroud like it has over the last year.
Maybe one day there will be more church officials that will voice their opinions on their positions on the shroud.

Again Stephen,methane you so much again for the heads up and all of the great info yoir providing on the shroud.
God bless

Stephen E. Jones said...


>I believe this was the longest it's been on display in a while.

Yes. Either it means the Roman Catholic hierarchy is becoming increasing pro-authenticity or else the Shroud is being used by them as a marketing tool.

Bearing in mind that the RC Church's official position is not to confirm or deny that the Shroud is authentic.

Which I regard as duplicitous, i.e. `speaking with a forked tongue'.

They seem to believe that the One whose image is on the Shroud doesn't care what they think about his burial sheet, which by His amazing grace He caused His image to be imprinted on it and to be preserved down through the ages.

>It's interesting to see the church being more open to displaying the shroud like it has over the last year.

One has to ask why? What has changed? Is it because the RC hierarchy is becoming more pro-authenticity, or is it because the RC Church is in so much trouble it needs all the good publicity it can get?

I hope it is not the latter because the Jesus of the Bible would not be happy with them using His Shroud cynically as an RC marketing tool.

>Maybe one day there will be more church officials that will voice their opinions on their positions on the shroud.

Let's hope so.

>Again Stephen,methane you so much again for the heads up and all of the great info yoir providing on the shroud.

I presume "methane" means "thanks"?

Again thanks for your comments and I am still praying most days for your Mom's recovery from her coma.

>God bless

You too.

Stephen E. Jones
Reader, if you like this my The Shroud of Turin blog, and you have a website, could you please consider adding a hyperlink to my blog on it? This would help increase its Google PageRank number and so enable those who are Google searching on "the Shroud of Turin" to more readily discover my blog. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephen,
If I remember well, you said that you never had the chance to actually see the shroud in real life. I hope to meet you in Europe next year.
Kindest regards and all the best.

Stephen E. Jones said...


>Hi Stephen,

Hi Patrick.

>If I remember well, you said that you never had the chance to actually see the shroud in real life.

No. I did not write that I "never had the chance" to see the Shroud.

What I wrote in "1.2 The Shroud and me" was:

"Finally, I have never personally seen the Shroud `in real life' in Turin Cathedral, but I hope to do so one day."

That is, the reason I have never seen the Shroud is not due to the lack of a chance or opportunities to do so.

Since I have been interested in the Shroud in 2005, there has been one exposition in 2010 that I had the opportunity to attend.

The reason I did not go in 2010 and won't go in 2015, is that I am the full-time carer of my wife who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and she cannot walk further than 50 metres using a wheeled walker and she needs me to help her to dress, prepare meals, do the washing and other household chores and to drive her places including to therapy.

So I could not leave her for the time needed to travel from Australia to Turin, see the Shroud, and return.

But as it happens, I have today been to an MS talk by a visiting neurologist from Germany, and there is a possibility that a new drug under testing might restore part or all of my wife's ability to walk. If that happens I might be able to see the Shroud not this exposition but the next.

>I hope to meet you in Europe next year.

Barring a miracle you won't, but best wishes on your viewing of the Shroud.

>Kindest regards and all the best.

Thanks and the same to you.

Stephen E. Jones