THE SHROUD OF TURIN
Pope Paul VI called it "the greatest relic in Christendom."
A 16th century Roman Catholic soldier, sent to persectute the
Christians in the Waldensian Valleys, wrote to Rome that it was his great
sorrow that he had not been able to travel the short distance to Turin to
venerate the Holy Shroud.
Dr. D. James Kennedy, in TRUTHS THAT TRANSFORM, interviewed Kenneth
Stevenson, a scientist who examined the shroud and judged it to be
authentic. Dr. Stevenson relates that he was raised Roman Catholic, and
does not give any details of any conversion from that religion.
While Dr. Kennedy does not state that he absolutely believes the
shroud to be authentic, the positive nature of this interview shows that
he was leaning to this position even though he admits that when he first
heard about the shroud, he "was very skeptical." This skepticism seems to
have been overcome by Stevenson's "positive evidence" of the shroud's
Dr. Kennedy asked if any of the scientists had become Christians
through their examination of the shroud. The reply of Mr. Stevenson is
an enthusiastic "Absolutely". Of course, since we know nothing of
Stevenson's spiritual position now, we do not know what he means by
"becoming a Christian." Many Roman Catholics believe they become
Christians when they are baptized as babies.
The whole interview, in which the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin
was unequivocally maintained by Stevenson, is described by Dr. Kennedy
as "most fascinating." Many of his followers probably took this as a vote
for the Shroud, and it further confused them regarding Catholic
An article from Turin, Italy by Robert Suro, from the New York Times
News Service and printed in THE OREGONIAN on 10/14/88 states that the
Roman Catholic Church says tests show that the Shroud of Turin could not
possibly be Jesus' burial cloth. Tests conducted independently by three
laboratories concluded that the shroud cloth was created between 1260 and
1390. Archbishop Ballestrero of Turin said that they don't have any
answers to explain how the image of Christ was created on the shroud.
The Shroud of Turin, a 14'3" long cloth that was alleged to have been
the burial cloth of Jesus, first showed up in a small village in France
in 1357. Roman Catholic scholars have attempted to minimize the
importance of the shroud's having been missing for over 13 centuries, and
some tried to establish its validity because it was said the features of
the man plainly seen on the shroud was very like religious icons of
Christ that can be traced back to the 6th century.
It was last exhibited to the public from August 27 to October 8,
1978, and millions of visitors came to Turin to see it. It was at this
time that the group of scientists, including Mr. Stevenson, had the
opportunity to subject the cloth to a series of analyses which caused the
conclusion by some of the men that it was authentic.
In 1984 scholars presented the Vatican with a proposal for radio-
carbon dating. The three laboratories selected by the church to conduct
these tests were at Oxford University, the University of Arizona and the
Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.
The church has never proclaimed that the shroud was Jesus' burial
cloth, but it certainly has not discouraged that belief. Ballestrero
noted that in church liturgical texts and in his own preaching the shroud
has been presented as a holy image worthy of "respect and veneration."
He continued, "What the Church values most about the shroud is that
its representation of a gaunt, sunken-eyed man has a capacity to inspire
Christians certainly do not hold to the exactness of radiocarbon
dating, and have always found it more authentic to ask "What does the
Bible say?" John 11:44 and 20:7 assure us that the Jewish custom of
burial was to wrap the head in a separate linen cloth, and John 19:40
tells us Jesus was buried as was the manner of the Jews.
Isaiah 52:14 says of Christ, "His visage was so marred more than any
man", and the face on the shroud shows no evidence of this. The Shroud
of Turin is just another of Satan's counterfeits designed to obscure the
true Christ of the Bible. It is a tragedy that highly- respected
Christian teachers should lend their influence in this direction.
LURE OF RELICS INSPIRED FRAUD, THEFT
by James Davis, ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, 10/22/88, p. A-4
The Shroud of Turin may not, after all, be a snapshot of Jesus'
resurrection. But it still offers a glimpse into an alien world of
It's a world of holy places, saints' corpses, vials of tears,
splinters from the One True Cross, and even grave robbing in the name of
That world, despite its strangeness, still echoes in our own. But
until recently, scholars have all but ignored relics and their effect on
worship. "They once thought the subject was beneath their notice, " says
John Van Engen, head of the Medieval Institute at Notre Damne University.
"Now they're more interested in the religion of the people."
The main exception has been the Shroud itself, a 14-by-3-1/2-strip of
linen that bears the faint image of a whipped and crucified man. Many
people believed it was the burial cloth of Jesus, who miraculously left
his bodily imprint on it as he rose from the dead. That notion wilted
last month as a results of Carbon-14 tests dated the Shroud around the
That would place it solidly in the "golden age" of relics in Europe,
when every church had its patron saint, and the saint's body itself, or
at least one of his possessions, under the altar.
"People couldn't always go to the alter to pray, so the relic was a
tangible link with the saints, " says Rev. Thomas McNally, a historian
at Saint Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla. "They didn't
divide the sacred from the secular as we do in our scientific age."
Thus the 12th century Three Kings Cathedral in Cologne, Germany,
boasts three skulls purportedly belonging to the Wise Men who visited the
infant Jesus. And a house that Jesus, Mary and Joseph supposedly
inhabited is in Loreto, Italy, allegedly flown there by angels.
Some churches claimed to possess Jesus' milk teeth or the foreskin
from his circumcision. Others claimed they had Peter's tears, Enoch's
slippers, Moses' rod, St. Michael's sweat, the hem of Joseph's coat of
many colors, or the fingers of Paul, Andrew, or John the Baptist.
Msgr. John Ellis, church historian, recalls with disdain his visit to
St. Anthony Church in Padua, Italy. The guide casually pointed out a
vial containing "the milk of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
Remarks Ellis, "Some relics are fed by sheer curiosity, but some are
by fanaticism. I don't say there are no real relics, but there's so
much fraud you can't be sure."
At one time in Europe, there reportedly were two heads of John the
Baptist; three spears that pierced Jesus' side; three corpses of Mary
Magdalene; innumerable thorns from Jesus' crown and splinters from the
cross. The Shroud of Turin itself was one of 40 such cloths, all of
them supposed to be the real one.
THE HOLY FACE
Another interesting aspect of the Shroud of Turin came as I was
reading the publication, THE MEDAL AND THE HOLY FACE put out by the Holy
Face Association, Box 1, St. Henri Station, Montreal Canada H4C 3J7. By
sending a self-addressed envelope to them, you can receive a religious
medal which has an interesting history.
Sister Pierina was a Roman Catholic nun who died in 1945. During her
lifetime, she was repeatedly urged by Mary and Jesus to spread the
devotion to the "Holy Face", in reparation for the many insults Jesus
suffered in His Passion, as well as the ways in which it is now being
dishonored in the Blessed Sacrament by neglect, sacrileges and
Sister Pierina was given a medal which on one side bore a replica of
the Holy Shroud, with an inscription in Latin that, translated, reads
"May, O Lord, the light of Thy countenance shine upon us."
After great difficulty, Sister Pierina obtained permission to have the
medal cast. The expense for this was met when she found on her desk an
envelope containing the exact amount of money that was needed. The devil
is supposed to have expressed his rage at this by burning pictures of the
Sacred Face, and beating Sister Pierina savagely.
The first medal to the Holy Face was offered to Pius XII, and now it
has spread over the world. It is said that no prisoner of war wearing
this badge of salvation has ever been executed. Jesus also is supposed
to have requested that a special feast be instituted to honor His Holy
Face on Shrove Tuesday.
DR. KENNEDY RE THE SHROUD OF TURIN
A letter was sent to Dr. D. James Kennedy regarding an article he
published on the Shroud of Turin. While Dr. Kennedy was careful not to
conclude that the shroud was definitely genuine, he related that people
were converted as a result of examining the shroud. The person who told
of these conversions was raised a Roman Catholic and never told of a
conversion to Christ, so my letter tried to ascertain some facts that
would help us to understand Dr. Kennedy's position re Romanism and the
Shroud of Turin.
So far the only response I have received was two letters asking for
donations to Dr. Kennedy's ministry, so I am on his mailing list.
These two problems are very critical to fundamental Christianity,
when men who have widespread ministries give false impressions about
Roman Catholicism. It is necessary for us to bring this to your
attention so that you will understand some of the battles being faced in
Roman Catholic evangelism today. Every soft statement on the issue makes
our work more difficult, and makes our support more restricted to those
who truly understand the needs within Romanism today.
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