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04 May 2010


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Sidney O. Smith III

Robert K. Wilcox -- an investigative writer, truly great guy and someone I had the pleasure to work with in LA -- just published a book on the Shroud. Actually it is an update of his first book on the Shroud that was published, I believe, in the late 1970’s. Here’s is the amzn link, if anyone is interested. Look’s like RKW’s book is selling at a fast pace, with excellent reviews.


Fascinating topic for sure. Highly recommended. While I haven't read Wilcox's updated version, my impression is that Wilcox now believes the burden is on the doubters to explain the mystery, but to each his or her own.

Robert K. Wilcox

The 1988 carbon dating is wrong. It was done on a tiny piece of the shroud that was patched. The patch was done surrepticiously with aid of weavers who made it "invisible" - that is, it was not obvious except to other weavers who knew the procedure. This has been verified by NASA scientists. The full story is in my book, The Truth About the Shroud of Turin (http://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Shroud-Turin-Solving/dp/159698600X/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_6 ) - as are other reasons the 1988 tests were wrong: fires the linen has experienced which can change its carbon dioxide content, and it's lack of vanillin which should be measurable if it dated from the 14th Century. There is much information about the shroud that has not gotten to the public because of a largely ignorant and biased mainstream press. The burden of proof has shifted to the doubters.


I see no "unhinging. I meditate very frequently on the sufferings of Our Lord and many times I kneel in front of a crucifix that seems to represent in a static way those sufferings. Spanish crucifixes are particularly detailed showing the blow marks and the bleeding. The Shroud of Turin represents the sufferings of a man. What is authentic about suffering? Each man suffers as much as another. The sufferings of a man represent the sufferings of Christ. That is all the pope is saying.


Is stress unhinging him? It is puzzling.

I have no doubt that the Pope feels crucified by the press and public opinion, so this open meditation on the Shroud probably does say something about his state of mind. But . . . veneration of relics is as old as the Church itself, so I daresay these comments also reveal just how "old fashioned" Benedict really is.

For some reason, this expression of piety also reminds me of John Paul II's Marian devotion. It's a different form of religious sublimation, directed towards an inanimate holy object rather than an impossibly remote-in-time-but-still-present-with-us Mother of God, but both are grist for the mystic's mill.

I know, I know, I'm missing the point about the Pope departing from the Church's studied stance about the Shroud, but he could be trying to change the subject by signaling a provocative "new" devotion. The continuing popular fascination with the Shroud, even among the heathens, may be just what the Dr. ordered to distract attention from the sex scandals and cover-ups.

As a long lapsed Catholic I probably shouldn't be commenting at all, lest I be accused of trashing what the real Irish call "Religion." But I couldn't help taking the bait here.


If the Church worried about authenticity, there would be no Church.

It's all about faith.


Stress? Doubtful.Rage that his sordid past is being examined is more likely. Mere mortals shouldn't be questioning his omnipotence.


Quite interesting...so glad that you've noted this development.

Will the Shroud of Turin became this age's Holy Lance? The status of Holy Lance - its connections, repatriations and authenticity claims -- was interwoven during some tumultuous European political changes and historical events.

As we watch the slo-mo disintegration of the EU (which as you know territorially resembles the Holy Roman Empire), it's interesting to note the events that preceded the creation and collapse of the Holy Roman Empire.

What are the Pope's motivations in claiming the Turin now? I'm with you -- puzzled. A "Hail Mary" attempt to rally Catholics to him? To the Church? To Protect and claim this artifact now...from what? What does he see on the horizon...
Most certainly the power of symbols.

n m salamon

Being RC, having meditated and adored at the Right Hand of St Stephen [ 1000 year old relic of the first King of Hungary] I can not find any fault with the His Holiness meditating at the Shroud [I read the book, will order the new one]. Amen!

Most important for all to read OFF TOPIC at:


Where the just retired Pres of Shell made the following statement:

Given the current trajectory of an aging infrastructure, decades of restrictions on drilling, failure to tackle the obstacles that prevent both more nuclear plant and clean coal plant projects, frittering at the edges of renewable energy, and avoidance of other energy “hard choices,” within the decade the nation faces an unprecedented energy abyss.



Par4: You're right. A country that murders a million children a year thourhg abortion has wived its "moral right" to judging the Church--or the Pope--on anything.


Typo alert:

Par4: You're right. A country that murders a million children a year through abortion has waived its "moral right" to judge the Church--or the Pope--on anything.


Will Benedict go next to the church in Rome where the "titulus" is housed?

He might be better advised to visit "The Sudarium of Oviedo" in Northern Spain, the reported provenience of which suggests that it is the real deal: the cloth that covered Christ's head in the tomb. Of course, we can't know for sure (and it's a "matter of Faith") but the existence of such items is pretty fascinating, at least to me.


The final realisation of the falsity and worthlessness of the church hit me many years ago on my first visits to some of the great cathedrals of Europe, including the Vatican.

The meanings contained in them were all about temporal power and authority.

That was enough to shatter whatever faith I might have had.

Nancy K

Matthew, while I deplore abortion, I deplore even more having a man, who can neither marry nor have children, take control of my body and make decisions for me.
I believe that those who think abortion is evil, should not have an abortion. But please stay out of our wombs. We don't want you there.


this seems an interesting device to try. understand it is located in Canuckistan

God_helmet in Wikipedia temporal lobe massaging by magnetic fields induces religious feelings


neurotheology article

explanation of some mechanics merely points to the "antennae" & no answers will ever touch the ineffable of why we or anything else is here, or to what purpose. that will always be a matter of faith.

Lois Hefferle

Wow your moral judgement of an entire country is fascinating. I would love to know what country you are from. Personally, I have been fortunate to have never needed a safe, legal, medical procedure. I also have never advocated the cover up of hundreds of thousands of abuse victims in multiple countries. I guess that puts me in a better position of moral authority ---than some. Gosh, that might include the Pope, go figure. What I do advocate is prevention(contraception) which reduces any need for abortion, and in a worse case scenario a Plan B. I might point out you might want to do historical research on this issue. The Church was not against abortion in the first trimester, until the past 30 years. The issue was still being debated until the 1980's.

Lois Hefferle

Col. Lang
I apologize about my previous remark. This is not an appropriate forum for an abortion discussion, although there is historical basis for my opinion. Please feel free to eliminate my previous remark from the thread. The last thing I want is anti-choice crazies descending upon you. I also assumed that Matthew was not being snarky.

Patrick Lang


The pope should pray wherever he feels called to do so. pl

Robert K. Wilcox

I think the Pope is reacting to the mounting evidence of the shroud's authenticity - not the scandal. He had scheduled his visit to the shroud before the current scandal broke.

If I may, let me post a return to my friend, Sid Smith, once I saw his post here and we had a few exchanges. He asked, "So you think the Shroud is the real deal and evidence of the resurrection?"

My answer: Yes I do. Search for the reasons why it is a fake. All you will find is 1) it's a painting 2) When the first photos were taken documents were found saying it was a fake 3) so and so made an image just like the shroud 4) look at all the other fake relics in the church

1. It is not a painting. Hundreds of artists, photographers and scientists attest to this. This was one of only 3 firm conclusions - arrived at by STURP, the group of 30+ world class scientists who examined the shroud in the 1970s. They are the only ones who have ever been allowed to do that.

The image is made up of fibers which have been changed in a precise way. Each fiber - smaller than a human hair - has had it's outside structure changed in some unknown way. This change goes down from tip to about midway. It is mathematically precise, ie, each fiber is changed in exactly the same way. But nothing has happened to the interior of each fiber. The insides remain unchanged. The image is made up of clumps of fibers. Where there are many clumbed together you get the darkest areas of the image. Where there are fewest you get the lightest. White areas (really yellow) of the shroud are made up of fibers that have had no change.

How is an artist going to effect millions of tiny fibers in exactly the same mathmatically precise way? It's absurd. What kind of tiny paint brush does he use? How can a human hand be that precise? But for arguments sake, if he - or a natural process - did this using any kind of liquid, paint or dye, it would have seeped into the interior of the fibers.

And why did a faker make the image in the negative? How could he when the idea of a negative (photography) wasn't invented until the 19th Century. The cloth has existed at least since 1350 when it surfaced in Lirey, France. We can prove this unequivocally. How do you make a negative 500 years before photography was invented? And if you did, where are the other ones you made?

It's not a painting.

2. Yes, a church historian at the time of the first photos (1898)did come up with documents saying that 30 years before there had been a fight between two clerics about the shroud. One priest was mad at the other because more people where coming to his church to see the shroud. The documents say that the shroud was a painted fake but do not name the faker or how he did it. In effect, hearsay. But proponents, who know nothing of the shroud details, keep bringing it up.

By the way, unlike what the press says, these active proponents of shroud fakery number about a handful, whereas those who have studied it and believe it authentic or at least undecipherable are easily in the thousands if not more. The press never studies it. They just quote the few saying "but the relic is controversial with those believing it a fake saying..." You get the impression that the debaters are evenly split. Ask someone who has really studied the shroud. They'll tell you it is at least unexplainable.

3. None of the attempts to duplicate the shroud get near to what it is. Not only do the images look bad but the shroud image is the only one that when a computer is put over it the precise mathematical information it gives enables the construction of a 3-dimensional model of the man in the shroud; a holograph-type image that allows one to look over, under, around and at the sides of the man in the shroud. No panting or photo known can do this except the shroud and except certain types of photos specially made by NASA to give relief features of distant planets in space. So the medieval faker had a sophisticated NASA VP-imagizer?

4. Has nothing to do with the facts of the shroud and everything to do with the bias of the person saying it.

The burden of proof is now on the doubters.

P.S. You know where I stand but in my book try only to present the facts and leave the decision up to the reader.

Robert K. Wilcox

In my answer to number 2, the hearsay documents mentioned are from the 14th Century. Sorry, that needed to be stated.


What is more important, an historical reference point or that fact that this speaks to one's soul?


The final realisation of the falsity and worthlessness of the church hit me many years ago on my first visits to some of the great cathedrals of Europe, including the Vatican.

The meanings contained in them were all about temporal power and authority.

That was enough to shatter whatever faith I might have had.

Walrus, with all due respect, you were looking in the wrong places. When in Rome go to the Aventine Hill and check out The Basilica of Saint Sabina, from the 5th Century. Or go to Ravenna and see Sant'Apollinare in Classe, from the same period.

These are the places that showcase the Church at its early best, and a notion of Catholic community that still has huge, grassroots appeal. The apse mosaic in Sant'Apollinare is about Faith and the Gospels, not about temporal power.

There is also much to love in Romanesque and Gothic church architecture as expressions of the Faith of the tens-of-thousands who built them over centuries.

St. Peter's in the Vatican is another story entirely. You do appreciate that the corruption and excesses, which made its construction possible, also led directly to a small movement called "The Reformation"?

s nadh

I think the research and perspective by the likes of James Tabor and Barrie Wilson should not be ignored.


Lois: I'm an American and proud of it. But let's be clear: the "secular" culture you refer to allows for the murder of 1 million children per annum. The priestly culture you decry permitted the abuse of thousands. So, no I don't think the secular people should be flapping their lips about morality. I see very little of it in public life.

Sidney O. Smith III


I look forward to spending some more time researching this topic. You’re the expert, so I am going with your conclusions. You were one of the very first to get the call to shine a light on this story, writing about it way back in the 1970’s. Talking about looking over the horizon and resurrecting a story…wow.

Noticed that someone writing under the pseudonym (?) Charters Wilson Altar Boy left an excellent review at amzn.

Altar boy? Very, very funny. I almost spilled my coffee laughing when I read it. I believe altar boy is a gator and a bull gator at that! But altar boy thinks your book is tops, of that I am sure. I heard altar boy give a spellbinding summary of your original book back in the glory days. Granted, like the Shroud, it is a mystery but truth be told, we both owe altar boy a lot and I’ll leave it that.

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