NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Year 2000 Shroud
Exposition Dates Announced
On June 3 the Vatican announced the dates for the Shroud exposition in the year 2000, as part of the celebrations of the Jubilee Year. The dates are to be 26 August to Sunday October 22, 2000 .
According to the communiqué: After the apostolic visit of His Holiness John Paul II to Turin, Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, Pontifical Custodian of the Shroud, has set the dates for the next exposition, which will be held in Turins Cathedral. Like the (recent) exposition, the one planned for the year 2000 will be part of the path of the Great Jubilee proclaimed by John Paul II for the millennium of the Redemption, and will have a clearly ecclesial nature, according to the orientations indicated on numerous occasions by the Holy Father.
Since this communiqué positively stipulates the exposition to be in Turins Cathedral, it seems to contradict some rumours that have been circulating that the year 2000 Shroud exposition could be held in Rome. But we may still be in for surprises. Cardinal Saldarini is said to be retiring this Christmas. It will therefore be interesting to see who is appointed for his successor, and what fresh policies he may bring relating to the Shroud
Pope John Paul II visits Turin.
On May 24 of this year, the day after his becoming this centurys longest-serving pope, Pope John Paul II visited Turin. A major highlight of this was his visiting the Shroud, this being still on public display in Turin Cathedral at this time. As it hung before him subtly illuminated by carefully arranged lighting, he knelt before it in intense meditation.
After prayers he then listened to a reading from John 30: 3-8 describing Peter and Johns original discovery of Jesus burial linens in the empty tomb. The Pope then gave his longest-known address on the Shroud, in Italian. Although he carefully avoided referring to it as a relic he urged scientific experts to pursue trying to find the answers to its origins. The following are the most pertinent extracts:
With my gaze turned to the Shroud, I would like to extend a cordial greeting to.. the pilgrims who have come from every part of the world at the time of this public Exposition Before the Shroud, the intense and agonising image of an unspeakable torment, I wish to thank the Lord for this unique gift.
The Shroud is a challenge to our intelligence . It first of all requires of every person, particularly the researcher, that he humbly grasp the profound message it sends to his reason and his life. The mysterious fascination of the Shroud forces questions to be raised about the sacred linen and the historical life of Jesus. Since it is not a matter of faith, the Church has no specific competence to pronounce on these questions. She entrusts to scientists the task of continuing to investigate, so that satisfactory answers may be found to the questions connected with this sheet, which, according to tradition, wrapped the body of our Redeemer after he had been taken down from the cross. The Church urges that the Shroud be studied without pre-established positions that take for granted results that are not such; she invites them to act with interior freedom and attentive respect for both scientific methodology and the sensibilities of believers.
For the believer, what counts above all is that the Shroud is a mirror of the Gospel. In fact, if we reflect on the sacred linen, we cannot escape the idea that the image it presents has such a profound relationship with what the Gospels tell of Jesus passion and death, that every sensitive person feels inwardly touched and moved at beholding it. Whoever approaches it is also aware that the Shroud does not hold peoples hearts to itself, but turns them to him, at whose service the Fathers loving providence has put it. Therefore it is right to foster an awareness of the precious value of this image, which everyone sees and no one at present can explain. For every thoughtful person it is a reason for deep reflection, which can even involve ones life.
The Shroud is an image of silence. There is a tragic silence of incommunicability, which finds its greatest expression in death, and there is the silence of fruitfulness, which belongs to whoever refrains from being heard outwardly in order to delve to the roots of truth and life.
This image of Christ abandoned in the dramatic and solemn state of death, which for centuries has been the subject of significant representations and for 100 years, thanks to photography, has been so frequently reproduced, urges us to go to the heart of the mystery of life and death, to discover the great and consoling message it has left us. The Shroud shows us Jesus at the moment of his greatest helplessness and reminds us that in the abasement of that death lies the salvation of the whole world. The Shroud thus becomes an invitation to face every experience, including that of suffering and extreme helplessness, with the attitude of those who believe that Gods merciful love overcomes every poverty, every limitation, every temptation to despair.
May the Spirit of God, who dwells in our hearts, instill in everyone the desire and generosity necessary for accepting the Shrouds message and for making it the decisive inspiration of our lives.
The 3rd International Shroud Studies
5-7 June, 1998
Report by the Editor
Shroud-watchers have long become inured to European Shroud Congresses and Symposia having their problem and discomforts. Projection systems malfunction. Speakers talk too fast for simultaneous translation interpreters to follow. The lecture hall has no air-conditioning or ventilation. Food and refreshment facilities are over-crowded and inadequate, etc., etc. Accordingly, what can at least be said in favour of the Turin 1998 Shroud Congress is that in virtually every one of these respects it was excellent. The Unione Industriale premises were modern and efficient, with a first-class audio-visual and simultaneous translation set-up. Also the food and refreshments were good, there was a pleasant garden, and a most splendid farewell banquet at a magnificent hunting lodge on Turins outskirts.
But unfortunately what seriously out-weighed all these pluses was bad organisation, as agreed by almost all overseas attendees, together with many Italians from outside Turin. Whether Italian or English-speaking, most speakers did not know until far too close to the event whether their proposal for a paper had been accepted. Then when they were told they were given no indication of when they were expected to speak, or for how long. And when, only at the Congress itself, the programme details became revealed, these did not improve matters. For much depended on which broad time-slot your particular talk had been allocated to, and how many other talks had also been allocated to the same time slot. Also making matters considerably worse was that there were two halls, with the lectures programmed to run simultaneously in each.
The end result was that everyone inevitably missed half of the Congresss overall lecture content. Furthermore, too often they spent much of the half that they did attend listening to a lecture which should never have been included, while waiting for a lecture they particularly wanted to hear. If there was another lecture that they wanted to hear going on in the next hall, their only way of finding out whether this had started was by making a dash between halls. In the case of the speakers, some who had devoted considerable time to preparing a keynote talk, and who had travelled thousands of miles at their own expense in order to do so, they found themselves so brutally cut short time-wise by their moderator that they left the podium close to tears. Thankfully I was not one of these, but felt greatly for those speakers who did suffer in this way. It can only be hoped that those in Turin responsible for this years event do not try to arrange another until they put their house in order
This said, there were some magnificent presentations, with among the participants such well-known Shroudies as Isabel Piczek, Rex Morgan, Dan Scavone, Marie-Claire Van Oosterwyck, Rev. Kim Dreisbach, Dr. Gilbert Lavoie, Dr. John Jackson, Dr. Fred Zugibe, Dr. Allan Mills, Barrie Schwortz, Kenneth Moran, Mario Moroni , Dr. Alan Whanger and Professor Eberhardt Lindner, not all of whose talks, partly for the reasons stated above, I was actually able to attend. Dr. Garza-Valdes, in a presentation I frustratingly missed, described his finding of wood remnants, believed by him to be from the wood of Jesus cross, among samples of blood as from the crown of thorns in the back of the head area of the Shroud. Immediately following this presentation Cardinal Saldarinis right-hand man Don Giuseppe Ghiberti reportedly publicly stated that because the samples that Dr. Garza-Valdes had worked with were unofficial, the Church could offer no confirmation that he had worked with samples directly from the Shroud. This is an unpleasant impasse that still remains unresolved.
However one speaker totally new to me whose talk I did happen to hear and found particularly fascinating was Professor John Beldon Scott, head of the department of Art History at the University of Iowa. The title of his talk Ostension of the Shroud. Architecture and ritual in Piazza Castello might not sound world-beating stuff. However, by homing-in close-up on details from old prints depicting historic showings of the Shroud, Professor Scott explained aspects of the 16th and 17th century Shroud expositions that were certainly completely new to me. In particular, studying the Antonio Tempesta engraving of 1613 depicting the Shroud being exhibited in Turins Piazza Castello, he explained how rosary-like strings of beads called corona di Cristo were thrown up to the bishops holding up the Shroud, in order that they should press these against the cloth, then throw them back down to their owners, the corona now being sanctified by direct contact with the Shroud.
Professor Scott has also explained in separate articles (see Recent Publications later in this Newsletter), how Guarino Guarinis original plan of Turin Cathedrals Royal Chapel was for the Shroud, during expositions, to be held over the Chapels first floor balcony so that it could be seen by those below in the Cathedrals nave. This is very clearly shown being performed in a print of 1703 (see opposite). However, when a glass partition was built for this Chapel in 1825, this prevented any further expositions of this particular kind.
Here an interesting aspect of the current temporary trompe loeil covering the fire damage is that it shows the Chapel without the glass screen in place, thereby giving us a very good idea of the stunning effect that Guarini had originally achieved, and which the screen installation decision of 1825 did so much to ruin. . Raising the point that if the Guarini Royal Chapel is successfully restored, then hopefully the glass screen of 1825 will not be replaced.
The other speaker completely new to me, and definitely worth crossing the world for, was the Israeli palynologist Professor Avinoam Danin. Head of the department of botany at Jerusalems Hebrew University (seen on opposite page). For the last ten years the Dr. Max Frei collection of sticky tapes, with the pollen grains from the Shroud identified by Dr. Frei, has been owned by Dr. Alan Whanger of Durham, Noth Carolina, and nothing seemed to be happening to open this collection up for expert analysis.
Only very recently, thankfully, it has been opened up, and no-one could be more expert than Danin, one of the worlds leading experts on the flora of Israel, who is being assisted by his colleague Dr. Uri Baruch of the Israel Antiquities Authority, who apparently made his MSC and PhD dissertations on the flora of Israel. Danin and Baruch have not only determined that large numbers of pollens identified by Max Frei are indeed present in the teeth of much scepticism previously expressed on this point by Shroud detractors Joe Nickel and others they also reinforce Freis argument that the Shroud has to have been in Israel.
In particular Danin points to one plant Zygophyllum dumosum as the most significant on Freis list. In his words, from an article he wrote for Eretz magazine The northernmost extent of the distribution of this plant in the world coincides with the line between Jericho and the sea level marker on the road leading from Jerusalem to Jericho. As Zygophyllum dumosum grows only in Israel, Jordan and Sinai, its appearance in Israel helps to definitively limit the Shrouds place of origin.
As an unwavering supporter of Dr.Max Freis findings, I can only regard Professor Danins findings as most encouraging except for the Catch 22 that Danin also accepts (and reinforces with his own observations), Dr. Alan Whanger's seeing of a variety of plant images on the Shroud, as so strongly criticised by me in my Very Like a Whale editorial of Newsletter 46! (see also Dr. Alan Whanger's spirited defence, in Newsletter 47).
Accordingly, as I said directly to Dr. Alan Whanger at the Turin Congress, half-jokingly, half-seriously: I am in serious danger of needing to eat my hat. In recent correspondence he has directly followed up with the request Your hat, sir! and I have deferred because of the same work commitments referred to in this issues Editorial.
It is, however, my intention to study the Whanger/Danin argument with a fresh and open mind just as soon as my workload eases back to something more normal. As I have said to Dr. Whanger, I certainly do not anticipate any mind-blowing conversion to seeing everything that he sees. But Danin and his colleagues are such highly credible and authoritative supports to his argument that I cannot but take them seriously. So watch this space.
Inevitably it is impossible in this report to encompass everything from the Turin Congress, not least because in common with most others, I missed over a half of it. If the Turin organisers swiftly published a full Proceedings in the laudable manner of CIELTs Actes of their Nice Symposium (see Recent Publications) , then they might ameliorate the criticisms of the Congress itself. However, failing this, Barrie Schwortz's web site www..shroud.com is currently steadily accumulating copies of these papers for those able to use Internet facilities.
Planning for the Shroud of Turin in the 21st Century:
Meeting in Dallas, Texas,
November 6-8, 1998
Special report by
On 6th November 1998, at the Catholic Conference Information Centre, Dallas, Texas, a meeting of American sindonologists was held, its success showing that Sindonology in the States is united, live and well. The two day conference was hosted by Mike Minor, whose opening welcome address was followed by my outlining our aims and hopes for the future. The history of the entire Shroud research conducted over the past 100 years was given in a landmark one-hour talk by Paul Maloney , showing the logical sequence of what has been already achieved. This was then followed by Father Kim Dreisbach, who completed the past history of the Shroud with his talk on the struggles and victories of the two founders of American Sindonology, Fathers Peter Rinaldi and Adam Otterbein (for obituary of Fr. Otterbein, see later in this Newsletter)
Dr. Gilbert Lavoie, then talked about his blood transfer theory, and about 1st century Jewish funeral practices. This was followed by a slide demonstration from Dr. August Accetta, covering completely new research in which he injected himself with nuclear material, and then allowed his body to be scanned for six hours with a special scanning device. He stressed that the object of this was not to produce a Shroud image per se, but to show a radiation-created human image. The results were stunning, showing slides which bore a resemblance to the image on the Shroud, and strongly indicating the possibility that the image on the Shroud was created by radiation emanating from the body. Thus the radiation concept was given a lot of credence by this demonstration.
Professor Dan Scavone then summarised the historical research of the Shroud, covering all the relevant theories about the missing years in the Shrouds history, and suggesting future avenues for Shroud historical research. His talk was then followed by another entirely new piece of research, as demonstrated by Dr. Warren S. Grundfest, a medical researcher working at UCLA hospital in Los Angeles, mainly in nuclear and radiation medicine. Again with slides, Dr. Grundfest demonstrated a new scanner which he has developed which could scan the Shrouds surface, register its refractive indices at every point, create a spectral map, and read its chemical content and physical properties. All this could be done in an entirely non-destructive manner, without ever touching the Shroud or tasking samples of it.
Dr. Alan Adler gave a thorough report on the conservation of the Shroud, bringing into the open many details previously unknown to the delegates. The day ended with a talk by the famous Jesuit theologian, Father Walter Abbott, followed by Mass, dinner and a discussion.The second day of the conference was opened by a talk from Dr. Bob Bucklin, summarising Shroud medical research from a forensic standpoint, including the causes of the death of Christ on the cross.
Then followed talks from members of the group concerned with the physical archiving of Shroud material. Father Fred Brinkmann, C.Ss.R. , talked about the efforts of himself and another member of his community to catalogue, record and file the many documents, letter and photos which comprise the Esopus Collection, as gathered by Fathers Otterbein and Rinaldi. This is an on-going project, revealing many treasures previously hidden, some from a trunk belonging to Father Rinaldi the whereabouts of which were for a while unknown.
Richard Orareo then talked about the physical archiving of treasures which are at present in private hands, stressing the importance of a repository for these, and showed some rare books and magazines to emphasise the importance of such items. Fr. Dreisbach elaborated on this theme, with special reference to his own personal collection, at present in storage, outlining the problems of archiving.
The concept of electronic archiving was then addressed by Barrie Schwortz, Marc Borkan, and Kevin Moran . Moran gave a general introduction to the concept, folowed by a talk by Borkan on the use of the Internet for Shroud research, with suggestions for future research. This was followed by Barrie Schwortz enthusiastically outlining the wide range and great reach of the Internet, and the importance and power of electronic archiving. He then demonstrated part of his CD-ROM and Internet programmes, showing how the VP8 image analyser achieved the 3D image of the Shroud, and yet could not produce a 3D image of another, randomly chosen picture.
Russ Breault then gave another original paper, outlining a new method of teaching Shroud research to high school and college students. Through writing papers and theses and creating support groups many went on to become new members.
Several Shroud centres, some unknown to the delegates, were represented at the conference. Dr. August Accetta represented the Huntington Beach, CA, group of volunteers and medical researchers, who are conducting new research as yet unpublished. The centre also has programmes, guided tours to exhibits and acts as a catalyst for people of all faiths and walks of life. Likewise, Father Dreisbach demonstrated that the Atlanta Centre is still active as an intellectual and spiritual centre, although having lost its physical centre. Phillip E. Dayvault, representing the centre run by Dr and Mrs Alan Whanger, talked about the breakthroughs achieved in their work, and that which they have conducted in collaboration with Professors Danin and Baruch in Israel. Their work proves that the Shroud was definitely in Jerusalems environs at some stage, and as there is no reference to this in its history after 1356, ergo it has to have been there prior to this date. Thus the painting theory, and the result of the carbon dating are both shown to be erroneous.
Ecumenism, and the call for unity, was addressed by Father Dreisbach. And Don Lynn, a member of AMSTAR, gave his thoughts about Shroud research and the future. Michael Minor then summed up a conference which delegates felt had clearly achieved all its goals, and had set American sindonology on a path of new research and unity.
The facilities, food and arrangements were excellent, and the final surprise of the conference was the appearance of Pete Shoemaker, the original creator of the VP8 Image Analyzer, talking about Shroud research, and its purpose. A fitting end to one of the best conferences we have ever had.
Father Joe Marino quits priesthood for new
Spiritual Science organization
For many years Benedictine monk Fr. Joe Marino of St. Louis has made it his mission to send out any latest snippet of Shroud information that has come his way. First this was via printed news-sheets, then more recently via the Internet, where his current list of e-mail addressees must soon qualify for the Guinness Book of Records!
It was therefore with great sadness that a few weeks ago fellow-Shroudies learned by this same means that Father Joe is quitting St.Louis Abbey, and the priesthood, to become co-director of a Spiritual Science Institute to support research and education on cancer eradication, alternative and complementary medicine, electromagnetic energy systems and unexplained phenomena like the Shroud of Turin. Apparently this Institute also plans studies in human superhypertherimic carbonization (SHC), alternative energy sources and spiritual evolution and transformation..
Joe Marino's co-director at this Institute will be Ms. Sue Benford. Their avowed aims are undeniably worthy: "to expand knowledge of our creation and, with it, to apply that knowledge to advance health and well-being for humanity and our planet", and plans apparently include the sponsorship of annual conferences focused on specific themes, as well as smaller regional events including occasional lectures by visiting scientists and scholars.
Several of those, such as myself, who have known Father Joe over many years, expressed their views directly to him that they felt his quitting the priesthood to be a mistake, particularly at a time when vocations are at such a low ebb. Nevertheless, he has gone ahead, and as he has insisted, he will still be continuing as vigorously as ever to work in the cause of the Shroud. Our good wishes therefore go to him for this.
Dr.Dmitri Kouznetsov Freed from Prison before his Trial
On 29 May of this year, only days before he was due to stand trial, the Russian scientist Dr. Dmitri Kouznetsov, who claimed he could prove the Shrouds carbon 14 content had been enriched by the 1532 fire, was freed from detention in Connecticut. He had been facing larceny and forgery charges for tryng to pass bad cheques in a Connecticut bank. He is understood to have pleaded guilty to a charge of administrative misconduct, and accepted a fine, and 150 hours community service. When last heard of he had returned to Moscow.