Now, as someone who believes it is the real burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, I similarly realize that a leap of faith over unanswered questions is essential.
New scientific tests on the Shroud of Turin, which was on display Saturday in a special TV appearance introduced by the Pope, dates the cloth to ancient times, challenging earlier experiments dating it only to the Middle Ages..
New research claims that the cloth does in fact date from the era of Christ, disputing other tests dating it to the Middle Ages.
No one has a good idea how front and back images of a crucified man came to be on the cloth.
Yes, it is possible to create images that look similar.
Philip Ball, the former physical science editor for Nature when the carbon dating results were published, recently wrote: “It’s fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever.” If we wish to be scientific we must admit we do not know how old the cloth is.
But if the newer thread is about half of what was tested – and some evidence suggests that – it is possible that the cloth is from the time of Christ.
Actually anybody can do it by using Ox Cal, which is online, easy to access, easy to use, and free.
Stephen tried to do it using the tiny published calibration chart in the Nature paper, deriving his dates simply by adding and subtracting the error from the mean as published in the Nature paper, and attempting to read off the calendar date.
Francis, reflecting that careful Vatican policy, on Saturday called the cloth, which is kept in a climate-controlled case, an "icon" -- not a relic.
But Cesare Nosiglia, the Archbishop of Turin and "pontifical custodian of the shroud," said the special display on Holy Saturday "means that it represents a very important testimony to the Passion and the resurrection of the Lord," The Telegraph reported.
Pope Francis sent a special video message to the televised event in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy, which coincided with Holy Saturday, when Catholics mark the period between Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The Vatican, tiptoeing carefully, has never claimed that the 14-foot linen cloth was, as some believers claim, used to cover Christ after he was taken from the cross 2,000 years ago.
At one point, Stephen tells us that he has been told privately of a possible connection between three anti-something-or-others, Sox, Luckett and Rose. It was probably a mixture of older threads and newer threads woven into the cloth as part of a medieval repair.