Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Benedict “all but” Endorses the Shroud of Turin

Pope Benedict XVI came close to an outright endorsement of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin on Sunday. Speaking in Turin, the Italian city where the relic is kept he called the cloth that many believe is Christ’s burial shroud an icon “written with the blood.” Benedict didn’t address the scientific questions and controversies that surround the linen and whether or not it might be a medieval forgery. Instead, he delivered a meditation on the faith that holds the Shroud is Christ’s burial cloth. Benedict focused on the message that the blood stains conveyed, saying the Shroud was “an icon written in blood; the blood of a man who was whipped, crowned with thorns, crucified and injured on his right side.”


Much like the reported discover of Noah’s Ark last week, the Pope’s elevation of the Shroud as a relic raises the question of the importance of physical evidence and historical accuracy in matters of Christian faith. Among religions in the world, Christianity is unique in this. Christian foundations claim historical validity. We believe God really did create the world – though not necessarily in 6 literal days, and possibly using natural processes. We believe that God miraculously rescued the Hebrews from Egypt, that Jesus healed blind people, that his followers did miracles in his name, and that Jesus himself, literally, actually, and verifiably came back to life after a real and documentable death. Whether or not this Shroud is the actual burial cloth of Jesus is intriguing but only secondarily important. The real matter is that there really was an empty burial cloth that bore Jesus body and that inexplicably it was left behind in an empty tomb.


Christians believe in the objective, literal reality of the resurrection. We have always been willing to subject our claims to the observation and testing of science and history because of course we claim science and history as witnesses to our faith. This is where Christianity and Judaism differ from other religions. We claim that our stories are more than myth. Our faith rises and falls on objective validity. And so far science and history, when addressed with an honest, unbiased and open mind have been thoroughly supportive of Christian faith. This is what drives skeptics mad with frustration. No one has ever produced the body of Jesus. The tomb is empty. And that’s a historical fact that can’t be explained… away… short of believing what seems impossible – that Jesus literally rose from death.


“God, grant us faith to believe what is possible only through your hand. But also give us courage to subject our convictions to the scrutiny of skepticism. We believe, but help our unbelief by giving us the opportunities to see the living proofs of our convictions. Give us open hearts to face the truth, but also open eyes to see it when it is hidden. God, we believe you have acted in history. Show us the signs of your presence. Show us your fingerprints in time and space. Help us to find the significant relics that show your active hand in our world. And give us the faith to accept the consequences of these signs – that if you are present and active, then you also have a claim on our lives and choices. You are real and you are LORD who must also be served and obeyed. And that, we admit is the real challenge to those who do not believe. In short, they do not want to believe. Give us grace to follow the evidence where it leads… right to the foot of your cross… In Jesus Name…”




  • Chris Johnson

    I question claims of authenticity apart from evidence. Most evidence I’ve seen suggests the shrouds INauthenticity.
    And isn’t there a Biblical problem with inerrancy if the shroud IS authentic? The New Testament describes a shroud for the body and a separate cloth for the head. (John 20: 6-7) If this is correct, then the shroud CAN’T represent what the New Testament claims to be true because it’s one piece.

  • Louisa

    Another hoax on the catholic church in the tradition of Galileo.

  • pagansister

    That is Benny’s job, continuing the fantansy. Did anyone actually expect him to claim it WASN’T JC’s burial cloth? After all, as head of the RCC, he is infallible. :o)

  • Glenn

    Yeah, I guess it really IS the Pope’s job to see that the truth is told, since he IS a scholar, first and foremost. Science HAS tried for decades to debunk the shroud but the very scientist that had once said it was not genuine admitted his mistake and said that he had inadvertantly taken a sample from a “repair” of the shroud, took a correct sample and now says it appears genuine. Apparently PAGANSISTER feels it is just as much her job to comment on anything RCC whether she knows what she is talking about is what is in question. It Must be early because her buddy, NNMS hasn’t chimed in the “peanut Gallery” yet. I am not catholic but it just seems to me that for someone who claims to be a “pagan” might feels they are exempt from any ridicule which might actually be the case except the only practcing “Pagans” are people who feels the desire to “be different” doesn’t matter that when mankind became civilized that the first thing they got away from was “pagan ritual”. I see someone that is crying out”NOTICE ME!” I am cool! I am trying to be different. I see someone with Multiple piercings, tattoos and an exhorbitant Therapist bill because their OWN life is so devoid and empty. I bet I hit the target in my assessment? Oh, lots of cats too!!Purple, green or Orange hair??

  • Chris Johnson

    I’m interested in where this scientist declares the shroud genuine. No further dating was done on it since the one that led to the middle ages, so I’m curious where this data is coming from…

  • Eliyahu Konn

    Bull. The tomb of Ribi Yehoshua ben Yoseph, the actual man, was found in the 1980’s. That is a fact that has been established in the court of law in Israel, Q.E.D., when the Israel Antiquities Authority accused the sellers of the ossuaries found in the tomb of being forgeries. The judge suggested they drop the case because there was no evidence of the ossuaries being forgeries. Read about it at in the History Museum/Mashiach and then read the rest and become genuine followers of Ribi Yehoshua.

  • Karen

    Thank you Glenn.A bit caustic, but so are some of the opinions and postings made by the countless number of skeptics and unbelievers out there…
    Did anyone out there happen to see the telecast during the Easter/Passover/Resurrection week in April regarding the Shroud? How, through science and technology, His Face was reconstructed so that we might actually see what just about every reproduction or artists’ rendition portrayed on canvas, plaster, or glass since His Resurection is as close to the image shown on that computer screen.
    From the comments I have read regarding just this particular subject/discussion, and from what I have read in The Bible, the unbelievers, skeptics, etc, etc, etc, were foretold about, by Christ, before His death and then again by the men who followed Him prior to… Its all in there people-wake up! By and through faith, I beleive, I know, He is who He claimed to be. Doubts about Him, not a good idea at all. He keeps His Promises and is being awfully patient with us.
    Sorry to ruffle feathers out there, and this may be straying a bit from the main topic,but it is as I see it,truth. There will not be enough land mass under the mountains to cover and hide the unbelievers upon His return … God help us all!
    As for me, I prefer to stick with my faith. He is giving us all a chance to come to Him – does not want to lose even one of us…something any who doubt may want to give some serious thought to-or not…after all, He also gave us free will, right? Might want to see what mountain space is still available…

  • Reply to Chris Johnson

    i think he is referring to Ray Rogers who originally was critical of the idea that the shroud samples involved were partly rewoven fabric from the Middle Ages.
    This scientist did tests on left-over samples from the testing area (Raes corner) and came to the conclusion that the samples were in fact invalid because of reweaving.
    He also did further studies to show the chemical composition of the sample was different to that of the main body of the shroud.
    One of the tests done saw that the level of vanillan (from lignin) on the sample was different to the main body (which had none). He deduced from this that the shroud was older than 1300 years putting the latest date it could have been created at 700 A.D.
    There is also a little publicised test of carbon dating 14 done on a single thread of the shroud back in 1984. This test, (which did not follow the strict scientific process) returned a date of 1st to 2nd century. It is perhaps this dating that convinced the Vatican to get the full blown carbon 14 dating tests done on the shroud. This 1988 test also did not strictly adhere to scientific processes. The checking of medical composition was one failure and the sampling from the same small outer area (Raes corner) was another failing.

  • Reply to Chris Johnson

    Sorry – “chemical composition”, not “medical composition”.

  • dengxixian
  • telson

    The testimony of the Bible records the shroud of Turin as a fake. The evidence of the Bible is undisputed. On this article, you can find Biblical evidence showing the shroud as the deception:

  • dsquared2

    thanks for sharing.I enjoy it.

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