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Newsletter of Mater Dei Seminary
March 2000

Other articles in this newsletter:
Old Testament Prophecies on the Sufferings of the Messias


Dear friends and benefactors,

According to many of the saints and spiritual writers, one of the most efficacious means available to us to advance in the spiritual life is meditation on the Passion and Death of our Divine Savior Jesus Christ. Herein we ralize the infinite love of God for us and the great wickedness of the sins of man. How appropriate and beneficial it would be for us to spend some of our time during this holy season of Lent in serious meditation on the Passion. To assist us in this spiritual exercise, we can pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, make the Stations of the Cross, or read the narratives of the Passion from the four Evangelists (St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John). Besides these, there is yet another way to meditate on the sufferings of christ to form in our minds a vivid description of the price Jesus paid for our Redemption. This other way is to study the Shroud of Turin.

Within the past year, a documentary on the Shroud has shed new scientific light on the authenticity of this ancient artifact. These discoveries include the new scientific findings about the original Carbon-14 dating of the Shroud in the early 1980’s, which apparently dated the Shroud back only to the twelfth century. Some of these discoveries are listed as follows:

1) The relationship of the blood and the image on the Shroud of Turin to the blood and the image on the Sudarium (the burial face cloth of Christ of Oviedo, Spain);

2) The images of unique flowers on the Shroud;

3) The presence of particulate pollen on the Shroud;

4) The molecules of limestone found on the Shroud;

5) The analysis of the VP-8 Image Analyzer of NASA;

6) The presence of bacteria on the Shroud which obstructed the original Carbon-14 dating.

Before we consider these new discoveries, let us remember that the image on the Shroud perfectly matches the Biblical description of the sufferings of Christ: the scourging, the crowning with thorns, the nail wounds in the hands and feet, and the wound in the side. We also need to remember that after hundreds and thousands of tests conducted by STURP (the American team of scientists who were allowed to directly examine the Shroud in 1979) with the most sophisticated technology available, they concluded that there is absolutely no way the image on the Shroud could have been a forgery. They also verified that the bloodstains on the Shroud are indeed human blood (type AB) and that there is no known way of how the image was impressed upon the Shroud.

Let us now consider individually each of the new discoveries listed above.

1) There is in Oviedo, Spain, a relic of the Passion of Christ — the blood-stained cloth that wrapped the head of Christ immediately after the crucifixion. According to a fifth century testimonial of the cathedral of Oviedo, the relic is the Sudarium of which we read in the Gospel of St. John and which remained in the tomb with the burial cloth after the Resurrection of Jesus. It was the ancient custom of the Jews (and it still is today) to wrap the head of their dead, especially when the individual died a violent death. The testimonial verifies that this relic was brought to Spain from Jerusalem by way of northern Africa. Thus, the location of the Sudarium is historically and geographically established independently of the Shroud of Turin.

What is most fascinating is that the blood on the Sudarium of Oviedo, Spain, identically matches the blood on the Shroud of Turin (type AB). Furthermore, when the image of the blood-stained cloth of the Sudarium is placed over the image of the head on the Shroud, the blood stains line up perfectly. Thus the Sudarium, which dates back to the first century, supports the authenticity of the Shroud.

2) Another recent discovery found on the Shroud was the presence of images of flowers and plants which had been placed on the Shroud perhaps as a sign of respect or to help perfume the body. Dr. Allen Whanger, a botanist of Duke University, has identified 28 of these plants and flowers, many of which are indigenous only to Jerusalem. He furthermore discovered that these plants and flowers found on the Shroud blossom only during the months of March and April. From this Dr. Whanger concluded that the image on the Shroud was formed during these months.

Dr. Uri Baruch, an Israeli botanical expert, completed the extensive experiments begun by Swiss criminologist and botanist, Max Frey, on the 58 different pollens found on the Shroud. Dr. Baruch conclusively proved that 28 of these pollens were from plants found only in the Middle East where the Shroud had to have originated.

4) Yet another new discovery found on the Shroud is the presence of molecules of limestone. This limestone is unique to limestone found only in and about Jerusalem.

5) Kevin Moran, an optical specialist on the STURP team, discovered from their VP-8 Image Analyzer that the image on the Shroud was indeed formed from an actual body, that is, 3-dimensional. Both he and Don Lynn, an image-processing expert from NASA, again concluded that the image was not a forgery.

6) Lastly, the original Carbon-14 dating of the Shroud in the early 1980’s, which erroneously dated it back only to the twelfth century, was obstructed by a significant amount of bacteria found on the cloth. Dr. Harry E. Gove, physicist and inventor of the modern technique for Carbon dating (Accelorator Mass Spectrometry), has stated that, according to the recent discovery of Dr. Garza Valdez, bacteria that form on the objects to be Carbon dated contaminate the process and such objects cannot be accurately dated until this bacteria is removed. Once again, a significant amount of bacteria was found on the Shroud, thus invalidating the original Carbon-14 dating.

The six discoveries listed above are by no means a comprehensive and complete list of all that can be said concerning the Shroud. Nevertheless, when one weighs all the scientific evidence, I personally believe that the Shroud of Turin is an actual image of our Divine Redeemer. One remarkable comment made by NASA expert, Don Lynn, about the Shroud is that the terrible wounds inflicted on the body of the Person on the Shroud do not correspond to the calm and peaceful demeanor manifested on the face of that Person. Indeed, our Divine Savior Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God “Who takes away the sins of the world.”

May all of you have a grace-filled season of Lent!

With my prayers and blessmg,
Most Rev. Mark A Pivarunas, CMRI

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Other articles in this newsletter:
Old Testament Prophecies on the Sufferings of the Messias

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