Fr. Longenecker thinks the Shroud of Turin…

Fr. Longenecker thinks the Shroud of Turin… January 3, 2012

…is the real deal.

So do I. I never bought the gleeful and rushed debunking in 1988 and everything since then has persuaded me it had all the scientific rigor (and hype) of cold fusion. There’s nothing like it in the world and the fact that nobody has been able to reproduce it at this late date, plus the fact that it reveals a knowledge of crucifixion utterly unavailable in the 14th Century, plus the fact that the pollen is traceable and dateable to 1st century Palestine screams “authentic”. Only an a priori commitment to materialism fuels the mulish insistence that it’s a fraud. If it’s a fraud, make another one.

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  • Timothy of Seattle

    My big problem with the Shroud of Turin: doesn’t Holy Scripture indicate that Jesus’ face and body were wrapped separately?

    • Arnold

      I don’t remember all the details but there is a separate face cloth kept in a shrine in Spain, I believe, which also has blood stains of the same blood type as the shroud’s. I think his face was covered with the cloth but not wrapped in it.

      • Timothy of Seattle

        That makes me feel a little better, though I’d like to see a comparison of the material/pollen/etc from the two pieces. I’m certainly not inclined to follow Calvin and declare that anyone who sides with the Shroud’s authenticity is a participant in fraud, but the (apparent, at least) discrepancy with scripture does leave me cautious.

      • Timothy of Seattle

        Anyway, I guess that the existence of the face cloth does not exclude a shroud also covering the face is a reasonable response to my objection.

    • The face cloth is called the Sudarium, as mentioned in Victimae Paschale Laudes.

      • The Sudarium can be physically traced from 813A.D. forward, and shares 70 points in common on the front of the cloth and 50 points in common on the back with blood and fluids found on the Shroud.

  • Tominellay

    …I think the Shroud is authentic…would really like to see it…
    Many years ago in Santa Barbara, California, I happened onto an interesting display of research on the Shroud that included three-dimensional renderings of the Man in the Shroud; I’ve been fascinated ever since…

  • Daveb of Wellington NZ

    The cloths are mentioned in Jn 20:4-9, more concisely in Lk 24:12; the plural may suggest there could have been more than one linen cloth. The head-cloth, believed by some to be the Sudarium at Orviedo, was likely placed over the head before He was taken down from the Cross, because of Mishna requirements. Any image left on the shroud cloth would have been a ritual embarrassment to the Jewish disciples, and hence is not mentioned in the gospels, which disposes of Calvin’s objection. Very likely the side-strip was added to centralise the facial image; the shroud was then folded and mounted to conceal that it had been in contact with a dead body; and it subsequently became known as the Mandylion of Edessa, eventually being surrendered to the Byzantines and stored at Constantinople. See Ian Wilson’s comprehensive text on this brief reconstructed history.

  • Glenn

    I read a different article on the same Italian scientific report that Fr. Longnecker refers to, and it gives some specific numbers to quantify the VUV radiation discussed in the post. The scientists estimate that the shroud’s image would have required 34,000 billion watts of electromagnetic energy. That’s a huge number, and our current technology can’t come anywhere close to being able to generate such levels of radiation — at least in a controlled fashion (a nuclear explosion probably wouldn’t have left much of the shroud).

  • I make no stand on the Shroud, myself, as does Rome at this time. I find it fascinating, because, as the most studied object in human history, it seems that it cannot possibly be real, and it can’t possibly be faked either. I follows my theory that extensive, or perhaps excessive, study leads only to inconclusion, not clarity.

    Incidentally, there are still scientist working on cold fusion, most interestingly scientists working for the American Navy. They have stopped referring to it as Cold Fusion, however, and instead are studying the anomalous production of heat and helium under certain specific conditions.

  • John Henry

    Speaking of Italy and cold fusion…

  • Sal

    My favorite Shroud forgery theory involves a camera obscura, a vat of urine, a corpse and several sunny days to ‘take the photo’. (They do not explain how the image of the corpse remains stable, while hanging in the hot sun.)
    Or why they would go to the trouble.
    Why forge a relic that large when splinters of the True Cross are easily available?

    • S. Murphy

      Always seemed to me that if it isn’t Christ’s burial shroud, it might be a brilliant work of art, whose history had gotten lost, rather than an intentional forgery. I think you’re right – a relic profiteer wouldn’t take the time or trouble. Of course, if we can’t square the image with the science and technology of the time, AND we can’t accept, or even consider, the supernatural hypothesis — well, I guess there’s always Space Aliens.

      • Elaine T

        It can’t be a medieval work of art: no paint and the style and information on (in?) it are all wrong for what was available at the time. … I ran across somebody’s thesis about why it can’t be a painting, once…. ah, here: Isabel Piczek “is the Shroud a Painting?”.

        She’s both an artist and an art historian and goes into great detail while demolishing the ‘work of art’ idea.

        Also I can’t see why anyone in the 12th century would have bothered. It’s not what would have been expected for a relic.

        • Sal

          That’s a great article, especially the part about the distance/perspective needed for that kind of painting.

        • Dan

          I was glad to see a debunking of McCrone’s claims. McCrone is very persuasive to those of us who have some scientific sophistication but have no practical knowledge of art in history.

          • McCrone was a contemptible liar with a very biased point of view and the 1978 owner of the Shroud, King Umberto (pretender to the non-existent throne of Italy ) of the famous House of Savoy, refused to allow McCrone to touch or examine the Shroud. It was his personal possession. 17 other members of the original team of researchers, in 1978, attested to the total lack of objectivity and bias displayed by Walter McCrone. Never attribute objectivity to Walter McCrone who is now deceased.

  • “””I’m certainly not inclined to follow Calvin and declare that anyone who sides with the Shroud’s authenticity is a participant in fraud”””

    No, Calvin was correct. The supposed photographic effect itself bogus (and reproduce-able). Yo Johnny O’Geneva got one right

  • Only an a priori commitment to materialism fuels the mulish insistence that it’s a fraud.

    Give me a break, Mark. One does not have to have any a priori commitment to materialism to be veeeeery suspicious of most of the relics that came out of the middle ages. If you’re going to be all suspicious of global warming evidence (maybe rightly) because people see what they want to see, then at least give us Catholic skeptics the benefit of the doubt that the reason we’re squinting our eyes and trying to poke holes has not to do with a priori commitments but our prior experience. Christians of all stripes have regularly been called to rest their faith in various miraculous manifestations that later turned out to be utterly bogus. I’m going to continue to withhold absolute judgment, while defaulting to the “bogus” position until someone gives me a really, really good reason.

    And that stuff about 1.21 gigawatts of energy being needed to make the Shroud only means that we don’t know how it was done.

    • ds

      Mark said insistence that its a fraud, not persistence of skepticism, so I don’t think he was calling shroud skeptics mulish, just those who are sure that its a fake.

      That said, Jon, I am pretty skeptical too. “Nobody can reproduce it” is the Argument From Ignorance (I can’t imagine how it could have been faked so it must be real), and not very convincing to me. They had no idea how Stonehenge was built and now some guy in Michigan is reproducing part of it in his backyard with stone age technology.

      The pollen thing is a little more convincing, but there are questions about it when you read some of the opposing views on it.

      It’s not required of the faithful to believe it and it doesn’t really enhance my faith any, so, meh.

  • Tom Hamel

    Readers may find this to be of interest: a society that exhibits a shroud replica exhibition in Vancouver.

  • The Deuce

    At this point, even if someone doesn’t think that the Shroud is the authentic burial cloth of Jesus, any thinking person has to nevertheless regard it as a miracle. You’ve got the mysterious way in which it was made, without paint and with the image only burned into a hair-width’s surface, which still can’t be reproduced and is certainly beyond Medieval technology, you’ve got the amazingly accurate 3D perspective of it that was well beyond the art of the time, you’ve got the intimate anatomical knowledge of crucifixion, blood vessels, arteries and rigor mortis that is far beyond the medical knowledge of the time, etc – and all of these things in one cloth. And that’s before you get to the mundane indicators like the pollen and the fact that it’s real blood.

    And given that it’s a miracle, I think I can tell you which miracle is by far the most probable culprit.

  • SouthCoast

    Before I recovered from my spiritual-not-religous phase, I was a vociferous denier of the Shroud’s authenticity. Basically, I must now admit, I was scared spitless that it might actually be real, with all that would mean. Now, I am not entirely certain about it, nor, I realize, need I be certain as a matter of faith. When I consider it as real, and the image and the marks and stains being the physical remnants of the horrors of the Crucifix and the glory of the Resurrection, it moves me to tears. In any case, it continues to confound the wise.

  • SouthCoast

    Crucifixion, not Crucifix. (My new laptop can’t spell yet.)

  • Fionnuala

    What I never understood about the furore surrounding the 1988 results was why so many people assumed that carbon dating the shroud to the Middle Ages rendered the case closed. If this image is a product of the Middle Ages, then it’s one of the most remarkable artistic and scientific products of the period and could completely redefine our views of what our medieval forebearers were capable of. However, once the C14 results suggested it wasn’t first century AD, people thought it held no further interest. It’s like people were more interested in getting one over on Christianity than actually getting to the bottom of the truth behind his remarkable artefact. Hardly a very ‘scholarly’ attitude. *sigh*

    (My personal feeling, having read quite widely around the topic, is that the case of it being medieval isn’t as cut and dried as all that. Like another poster above, I’d recommend Ian Wilson’s books on the Shroud – they’re well-researched and interesting reading)

  • kevin

    Agree with Mark. I’ve always thought it was real.

    Loving us so much, God actually took a picture of his son for our benefit.

    The blood on the shroud is type AB positive I believe. The blood that materialized during the Miracle of Lanciano is also AB positive. As is that of the

    At what point do all these facts stop being a mere coincidence and give us all the evidence we need to believe. God does all but leave a videotape of the resurrection. That much faith he does ask for.

  • bippy123

    Sorry that this post is 9 months late, please forgive me on that point, but I felt the need to comment on the subject of the shroud.

    The first time I ever heard of the shroud was on the catholic answers forum in 2009 when atheists were proclaiming boldly that the shroud had been replicated by an atheist scientist funded by a major atheist organization in Italy. The media spread this news like wildfire, so it made me take an interest in it.

    It took a few months for the hoopla to die down but when scientists had a chance to examine this supposed replication of the shroud they found that it contained almost none of the unique characteristics of the shroud of Turin and suddenly atheists forgot about it, but the media never bothered to spread the information that this replicated shroud had been debunked.

    The agnostic chemist Ray Rogers, who was a senior fellow of los alamos labs was the scientist
    Who completely invalidated the 1988 c14 tests through his peer reviewed paper published in the chemical journal thermochimica Acta, in which he showed that the corner of the shroud taken for the c-14 tests was not only much younger chemically then the rest of the shroud but he also found madder dye, a dye commonly used in reweaving in the middle ages. The vanillin tests he did on the rest of the shroud showed it to be much much older then the c-14 tests showed because it tested negative for vanillin (the dead sea scrolls also tested negative for vanillin, but the area taken for c14 testing tested positive for vanillin , making it much younger then the rest of the shroud .

    Without some grinding research most people wouldn’t know this.

    While the image is beyond science’s capability to replicate even with today’s tools

    This is when I started to really get obsessed with my research on the shroud. 3 years later I am truly convinced that the shroud is authentic.
    The only negative point about the shroud is the 1988 c-14 tests done that claimed that the shroud was dated to between the 13th and 14th century

    Alot of people who haven’t dug deeper into the shroud would never know about any of this to have formed a truly reasonable conclusion about the shroud.

    Forensic science shows us that the image is anatomically perfect and shows us that this image could only have been produced by a body. It also matches the passion and crucifixion of Christ perfectly in every way.

    But what most people tend to miss are the blood clots. This was mentioned in habermas and Stevenson’s book the verdict on the shroud. The blood clots on the shroud are perfect with no signs of breakage or smearing.
    Ask yourself how does a body leave a burial shroud naturally without breaking of smearing the blood clots . The answer is that there is no natural explanation.
    The body had to leave the cloth in an unnatural way.

    If this doesn’t bring you goosebumps then I don’t know what will. There are hundreds of peer reviewed papers on the shroud and I have yet to see one that goes against it’s authenticity.

    God bless