Thursday 7 May 2015

A Meeting with the Holy Shroud 1

On Wednesday of last week, 29th April, I had the great privilege of standing before the Holy Shroud exposed in the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Turin. My immediate impression was of the sheer physicality- the enormous presence- of the object presented, as it was, within its large frame. Having pored over photographs- both positives and negatives- over many years, and accustomed to coping with- or attempting to see past the" visual noise" or interference resulting from the process of mechanical reproduction it was a moment of real insight when I was able to view, unmediated, the Shroud itself. No longer interpreting, I was seeing for myself. The visit itself being a gift (for my earlier birthday), I had come to the experience as one unseeking. True, the Holy Shroud had, indeed has, been a subject of abiding interest for the greater part of my life- at least since I acquired the CTS booklet by the Rev. Langton Fox in 1968. Ten years later, in 1978, I bought and devoured the Penguin edition of Ian Wilson's masterly tome and, following that, many less worthy publications. (The Shroud numbers a fair quantity of nutters among its devotees). Most written accounts stress that it was only with the first photographs that the image on the Shroud began to give up its secrets and, on that account, I saw no reason to seek out an actual view of the cloth. Shortly after 11a.m. on the appointed day I realised that there was indeed no substitute for a real sight of it. Whether authentic or not, it is in my, view, a most holy icon of Our Lord's Passion.  I found myself profoundly moved and I hope, in due course, to share some of the insights granted to me. For the present the above image is given as a gentle warning to any other would-be pilgrims to Turin: photographs are not allowed and expect a lengthy journey into the exposition. There is nothing quite like seeing for oneself.


  1. For the Shroud:

    Reasons to Believe in Jesus

    Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

    Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

    Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

    And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

    Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

    From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

    If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

    by David Roemer


    1. I'm sorry, but I haven't a clue as to the relevance of your remarks to what I have written. Please be advised not to cast your pearls before swine.

    2. I'm trying to get people to look at my website about the Shroud of Turin ("Canonical Complaint Against Cardinal Dolan") and about evolution ("Pseudoscience in the American Journal of Physics")

  2. are you aware that tuesday before ash wed an established feast by the catholic church? Its the feast of the Holy Face and is preceded by a novena and litany.