NSW Minister backs Shroud claims

Speaking at the launch of a new book on the Shroud of Turin by Australian author, Brendan Whiting, NSW Minister for Commerce John Della Bosca says that the most likely explanation for the Shroud is that "it is in fact the burial cloth of Jesus Christ".

Mr Della Bosca (left) was speaking at a NSW Parliament House launch of Brendan Whiting The Shroud Story, the Catholic Weekly reports.

Saying that any reasonable inference based on available evidence as detailed in the book, points to this explanation, Mr Della Bosca described Mr Whiting's book as a "very balanced, very thoughtful and very spiritual presentation of what are critical scholarly issues".

"It's an historical account of the cloth's location and custodianship over 2000 years and it's about the Shroud as an object of scientific study, political scrutiny and as a symbol of our Christian faith," he said.

The book, four years in the writing, details the history of the Shroud, a piece of linen cloth 4.3 metres long and 1.1 metres wide that bears the life-sized image of a naked man bearing wounds consistent with scourging and crucifixion. It is now housed in the Turin Cathedral in northern Italy.

The book also addresses recent claims that the cloth is a forgery.

It says that new scientific findings prove conclusively that carbon-dating carried out in 1988 was anomalous.

Most important of these discoveries is the 2005 finding that the sample taken from the cloth for testing was "chemically different" to the rest of the cloth - that it was not part of the original cloth and actually contained fragments of medieval invisible mending.

Mr Whiting says that the extent of these recent discoveries show "there is nothing about the Shroud of Turin that prevents it from being over 2000 years old".

"Indeed, scientists have discovered a great many facts that identify it as being the burial shroud of Christ with his death image mysteriously cast upon it," he said.

Mr Della Bosca said that science "can answer some of the questions posed by the existence of the shroud but many are beyond any current scientific knowledge".

"In fact, science may never be able to provide definitive answers about the most fundamental of questions in relation to the Shroud," he said.

He said debate about the authenticity of the Shroud has raged from the time it was first put on public exhibition [in France in 1357] when the local bishop declared it as a fake.

"It was the start of a long debate about the authenticity of the Shroud and that debate still goes on," he said.

Evidence is that Shroud 'is Christ's burial cloth' (Catholic Weekly, 8/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Official Shroud of Turin Website
Shroud of Turin (Wikipedia)
Shroud Website

Italian scientists find image on back of Turin shroud (CathNews, 14/4/04)
Vatican scientists accused of destroying Turin Shroud particles (CathNews, 23/9/02)
Researcher claims fresh evidence of Shroud of Turin's authenticity (CathNews, 31/8/06)

5 Oct 2006