Archive for December, 2011

"he saw the linen cloths..."

Recent reports of scientific research carried out into the Shroud of Turin by scientists from Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, Enea, do not appear to have been ‘replicated’ in much of the Irish media.

Unless, I’ve missed something, neither the Irish Times nor RTÉ appear to have found the reports newsworthy.

The Irish Independent carried a report by Nick Squire, Turin Shroud not medieval forgery, says new research – Irish Independent – Tue 20 Dec, 2011, which had appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the previous day, under the title Italian study claims Turin Shroud is Christ’s authentic burial robe – Telegraph – Mon 19 Dec, 2011.

But, the British press appears to have given far greater prominence to this shroud research, which constitutes yet another challenge for those attempting to defend a position of atheistic non-belief.

There were, for example, also reports in the (London) Independent, Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – Independent – Tue 20 Dec and the Daily Mail, Could the Shroud of Turin be real after all? Scientists recreate iconic image with ‘blinding flash of light’ – Daily Mail – Tue 20 Dec.

A comparatively sceptical, and, I would say, somewhat biased analysis appears here, Was Holy Shroud created in a flash? Italian researchers resurrect claim – MSNBC – Thu 22 Dec, 2011  on an MSNBC blog. However, it does contain some interesting mediated correspondence between lead researcher Paolo Di Lazzaro and sceptic Joe Nickell.

On the day, when the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast Day of St John the Evangelist — who was the first disciple described in the Gospel to have seen ‘the linen cloths’ — attention is also drawn to the Sudarium of Oviedo. This is believed to have been hooked over Christ’s head, after his death (please see below).

The blood type common to both of these relics is the relatively rare  ‘AB’, found in less than 5% of the population.

And, although, the Sudarium contains no image, there are several other coincidences between both objects. For example the length of the nose can be deduced from both pieces of cloth to be eight centimetres in length, and the frontal stains on the Sudarium show seventy points of coincidence with the Shroud.

The Sudarium of Oviedo - contains same blood type, AB, as that of the Shroud of Turin

The Sudarium of Oviedo - contains same blood type, AB, as that of the Shroud of Turin

…and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the other napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.  (John 20: 5-9)

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The Family and Media Association welcomes the decision of the Government to order an inquiry into the Prime Time Investigates programme, Mission to Prey, which defamed Fr Kevin Reynolds. However, the choice of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to carry out this investigation raises some concerns.

The BAI’s track record leaves much to be desired regarding its ability to identify broadcasts which are offensive, unfair and harmful to Catholics.

As recently as May of this year, its compliance Committee failed to uphold a complaint against Today FM, for a broadcast which, in FMA’s view, was clearly biased and unfair, and may even have been an incitement to hatred.

Had a similar attack been made on those of a different religious faith, such an attack would, quite rightly, not have been tolerated.

The presence of an elementary grammatical error in the BAI’s written response, did little to inspire confidence in its poorly argued judgement.

As pointed out by Senator Rónán Mullen, “there could be some kind of institutional bias against clergy in particular arising out of scandals and so on”. If such an institutional bias does indeed exist, the BAI, itself, may not be immune from its effects.