Inspired and Blessed by Bob Acebedo
Inspired & Blessed

The Shroud of Turin

May 20, 2024, 3:54 AM
Bob Acebedo

Bob Acebedo


A few months ago, I wrote on this column about Fr. Robert Spitzer, a Catholic priest and scientist (former president of Gonzaga University, author of 12 books and dozens of articles), demonstrating the scientific evidence of the existence of God and of the human soul.

This piece will tackle Fr. Spitzer’s yet another scientific proof of the evidence of the existence of God and of the soul: The Shroud of Turin.

The Shroud of Turin (Italy) is a length of linen cloth that bears a faint image of the front and back of a man. For the believers, it verily points out to Jesus Christ. But for the skeptics, it’s but a medieval age forgery.

What does Fr. Spitzer say about the Shroud of Turin?

“I do believe it is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ and I believe in it for scientific reasons. I just have enough scientific evidence that I have a certitude that this is the burial cloth of Jesus,” Fr. Spitzer said.

“You remember the 1988 carbon dating that occurred on the Shroud of Turin? It said that the Shroud was produced sometime between 1262 and 1350. So, it was thought as a medieval era forgery. But this was challenged by Dr. Ray Rogers who said, ‘I don’t think that’s right. The strands actually that were used for the test, for the carbonating samples, had cotton fibers in them. Whereas, the Shroud’s linen fabric had no cotton fibers,” Fr. Spitzer continued.

Aside from Dr. Rogers, according to Fr. Spitzer, the 1988 carbon dating of the Shroud was also challenged by other scientists – Tristan Casablanca and Julio Fonte who dated it earlier to 90-95 AD.

“Finally,” Fr. Spitzer pointed out, “in 2022, scientist Liberato Ricardo of Italy’s National Laboratories did a brandnew kind of dating called ‘Wide-angle X-Ray Scattering Dating’ through peer-reviewed series of tests, and finally found out the Shroud to be between 55-74 AD. Whoa! That’s right at the time of Jesus.”

On similar vein, Scott Hahn, a former Protestant Presbyterian minister who converted to Catholicism, and now a leading Catholic theologian and Christian apologist, in his FB post, succinctly explains his belief in the Shroud of Turin.

“The shroud of Turin is woven flax, made by a professional weaver, which was likely to have been owned by a wealthy man (like Joseph of Arimathea). The flax fibers are traceable to the Middle East. The stitching is similar to an artifact found at Masada, dated between 40 BC and AD 73. The cloth is dated to between 300 BC and 300 AD. Chemical tests prove there are blood stains on the Shroud (AB blood type). There are no paint pigments, ruling out the possibility of an artistic forgery. It bears the image of a grown male, 5’ 11” in height, with shoulder length hair and a beard – a victim of crucifixion in the Roman fashion,” Hahn wrote.

Hahn continued to provide a word to skeptics: “Whether the Shroud is or is not Jesus’ burial cloth, one thing is clear, science cannot explain how the impressions remain on the garment as with a photographic negative. Plus, when you read the resurrection account in John 20:3-7, John ran to the tomb and saw the ‘linen cloths’ lying there; then Peter came in and also saw the ‘linen cloths’ there (v. 5), along with the napkin, ‘not lying with the linen cloths but folded in a place by itself’ (v. 7). Such a detail. So who folded the cloths, the angels? Or, more likely, our Lord himself? In either case, the linen cloths meant something to John, as they should to us. The death of Jesus is historical, just as the resurrection is. And if you were John, I suspect you would have picked up the linen cloths. As would the guards or the enemies of Jesus, if they had arrived there first.”

I can no less agree with Scott Hahn. The Shroud of Turin very well points not only to the historical death of Jesus but also his resurrection, which is likewise historically plausible. If so, then, the Shroud profoundly points as well to the scientific validity of the soul, and more so – not only the humanity, but the divinity of Jesus as well.

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