Pope Deceived by “Shroud”

May 10, 2010

Proof (should any more be needed) that the Pope is not infallible comes from the comments of Pope Benedict XVI on visiting the "Shroud" of Turin on Sunday, May 2, 2010. Among other things he stated: "This is a burial cloth that wrapped the remains of a crucified man in full correspondence with what the Gospels tell us of Jesus."

Now, it seems the pontiff is not very well informed about the notorious cloth. Is he not aware that it lacks provenance until the mid-fourteenth century? That its earliest record is a bishop's report to Pope Clement that it had been used as part of a faith-healing scam? That an artist confessed it was his handiwork? That the body's elongated appearance is consistent with medieval Gothic art? That there are anatomical flaws? That the hair hangs on either side of the face as for a standing rather than recumbent figure?

Is he not aware that the rivulets of "blood" are unnaturally "picturelike"? Or that the stains are suspiciously still bright red after thirteen centuries? That they failed forensic serological tests that were specific for blood? That the "blood" was found (by world-famous microanalyst Walter McCrone) to be red ocher and vermilion tempera paint? That the image -- but not non-image areas -- were covered with red ocher pigment.

Has the pontiff gotten the news that the cloth was radiocarbon dated, by three laboratories, to the very time of the forger's confession -- i.e., 1260-1390? And that the accuracy of the carbon dating was underscored by correct dates obtained from a variety of control swatches of ancient cloth? Does he comprehend that for the imagined "contamination" to have altered the radiocarbon date by thirteen centuries, there would have to be twice as much contamination by weight, as the cloth itself?

And, may I politely inquire whether the Holy Father has recently read the Gospel of John, chapters 19 and 20? To refresh his memory, John refers not to a single long cloth placed under and then over the body; instead he describes "the linen clothes" in which Jesus' body was "wound." He specifies a separate cloth -- "the napkin" -- which was placed over the face. And he mentions "about a hundred pound weight" of the burial spices, myrrh and aloes -- not a speck of which has been discovered on the Turin cloth.

I would respectfully suggest that His Holiness look further into these issues and not be misled by the devout shroudologists who have stood science on its head: starting with the desired answer rather than the clear evidence.


#1 Darcy Cowan on Monday May 10, 2010 at 4:09pm

I have been wondering about the pope’s alleged infallibility, especially when later popes overturn the edicts and pronouncements of previous popes.
Is it like Mr. Deity’s omniscience, able to be turned on and off, off most of the time because it’s a bummer.

#2 Hexmaster (Guest) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 at 6:08am

The supposed papal infallibility isn’t supposed to work like that anyway. Actually, it isn’t supposed to reveal any interesting, verifiable truths at all: it activates whenever the pope speaks “ex cathedra” in dogmatic teaching on faith or morals. Which hardly ever happens, for some reason.

#3 Reverend Miller (Guest) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 at 6:17am

This is so sad. Another dream shattered!

#4 Don Gregory (Guest) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 at 6:26am

The pope can be infallible if God decides what the truth is?
(attempting to be witty just this side of sarcastic)

#5 James (Guest) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 at 6:45am

Maybe you should check out the Shroud special thats on the Discovery channel right now. Oh and your scripture as well before you write an article. 2 months ago it was announced that the Shroud was proven real and RE dated to the time of Christ.

#6 Frink (Guest) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 at 12:25pm

James, James, James.  None of the ‘documentary’ channels on cable have any integrity: Discovery, History, even National Geographic and all the others.

They all are in the business of selling commercial airtime.  Just look at all of the garbage they put out about ghost hunters, cryptozoology, UFOs, ESP and so on.  I can’t blame them: a cable channel that persistently told the truth (rather than catering to the whims of the moment of their viewers) would soon go out of business.

I find it telling that you did not address even one of Joe Nickell’s comments other than referring to a documentary with no credibility.

#7 asanta on Tuesday May 11, 2010 at 4:24pm

Joe, you left out the report that last year, an Italian scientist replicated the ‘shroud’. It has been considered a forgery for 600 years by the RCC, it was the ad populum that finally got them to ‘accept’ it as ‘real’.

#8 Pau (Guest) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 at 4:09am

Darcy, why stop at the cloth? The teachings of christianity are based on a plethora of lies and inventions.

#9 Darcy Cowan on Wednesday May 12, 2010 at 12:49pm

I don’t even start with the cloth, I picked a line in Joe’s article in isolation and commented on it.
Any interpretation is your own.

#10 M Mills (Guest) on Monday May 17, 2010 at 10:14pm

Ah yes - the Discovery Channel, isn’t that the same channel that has hired Sarah Palin to do a ‘nature’ series?

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