March 10-12, 2000
volume 11, no. 50
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

Conclusions of International Scientific Meeting in Turin

    TURIN, MAR 9 ( According to experts, the enigma of the dating of the Holy Shroud is neither the most relevant nor the most urgent problem. What is important is that the scientific research be carried out in a coordinated fashion, protecting the Shroud from further damage, and involving historical researchers in the process. This was the conclusion of the first congress of scientists of a variety of disciplines and convictions, which was held in Turin from March 2-5.

    A "calm" look was taken at the scientific examination carried out 12 years ago, which dated the Shroud of Turin to the Middle Ages. The congress had no intention of "prosecuting" the previous study, but of merely being abreast of progress made in science in recent years that would affect the current examination of the Shroud. 12 years ago, the Carbon-14 method was employed, and the conclusiveness of the results is disputed. Both groups met at the Turin congress and all agreed that many questions remain unanswered.

    In particular, emphasis was placed on the need to coordinate and address the scientific research that has focused on the formation of the image on the Shroud. Contemporary technology makes possible a complete computer "map" of the Shroud. A comprehensive database of the Shroud is possible, which will be extremely useful for future studies.

    As regards studies on vestiges of blood and pollen, the congress discovered new elements, especially connected with the pollen, which some scientists consider to have originated in a non-European setting prior to the Middle Ages.

    The experts must also study other aspects, including the historical and the Gospel narrative, if they are to come closer to the truth about this mysterious relic.

The Church's Stance

    The congress was organized by the diocesan Commission for the Exhibition of the Holy Shroud. The initiative is being undertaken now, because the spirit of the scientists carrying out the research is much more serene than it was a few years ago. Above all, the diocese wants to hear the different points of view and learn about the discoveries, in order to come to decisions, including on future studies of the Holy Shroud. However, the final decision on the relic's authenticity belongs to the Pope, as custodian of the Shroud and guarantor of the faith -- this work is only delegated to the Bishop of Turin.

    Within the next few days, shroud experts' attention will be drawn to Rome, where the Roman Center for Shroud Research of Caravita will hold 11 conferences, one each week, on the Holy Shroud, in preparation for the Exhibition of the Shroud in Turin, from August 12 to October 22. The first speaker will be Jesuit Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, Art History professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, who will address the topic, "Rediscovery of Veronica's Veil." ZE00030904


March 10-12, 2000
volume 11, no. 50

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