My Image

Justice for the Shroud

No one likes injustice and I hope I have made a case that the Shroud has suffered one. It cries out for recognition as a genuine mystery worthy of further study. Those who have branded it as a medieval fraud have, so far, failed to come up with a plausible explanation of how it could have been created. The onus is on them to do so.

Some lobby for a new C14 test but this would be as unwise as it is unlikely until we know a lot more about the cloth. There are now very sophisticated non-invasive techniques that would likely yield much more than in 1978. This can be lobbied and campaigned for.

Why is this relevant today?

If righting a wrong is not enough then consider this: Britain is increasingly described as being a "Post-Christian" country. Church attendance is declining fast. Christianity - over the centuries and in all its diversity - has created ever-more layers of complexity so that degrees in theology are required to be able to comprehend it and very few have time or inclination for that. Meanwhile, many fewer are putting themselves forward to become our qualified and ordained intermediaries with these complexities.

Society is changing faster than ever before and every week newspapers regale us with stories of well-intentioned synods tying themselves in knots trying to reconcile Christianity's Judaic biblical roots with modernity. And yet… Christianity's founder, Jesus of Nazareth's core message is very, very simple: I paraphrase: "Fascinating though the biblical roots are, all you really need are my two core commandments, some stories with examples of them in action and my simple but cogent prayer".

What's wrong with a "Post-Christian" country?

Intrinsically, nothing at all. Many of my best friends do not classify themselves as Christians though most of them are much more "Christian" than I am. But here is the rub. They all grew up in a country still strongly influenced by its inherent Christian values. They would have had daily school assemblies and imbibed the Christian message along with their mother's and then their school milk. Their "Christian" values come from growing up within our national Christian culture. It is the established Churches in their various forms that they have disavowed, not, clearly, the core message from that wandering Galilean teacher. It is the sentimentalised and infantilised image of Jesus that has been rejected - not the revolutionary who dared to challenge everyone and that the image on the Shroud so clearly, if subjectively, suggests to us. A man who has suffered the most tortuous form of execution ever devised but who, somehow, seems to have transcended it.

The once proud and honourable Roman civilisation came and went, collapsing in decadent depravity. Who is to say that our Judeo-Christian civilisation could not go the same way. To some, the signs are already there.

I have come to believe that the Shroud of Turin gives us a mysterious - potentially "miraculous" - authentic image of Jesus of Nazareth. I have been fortunate to have made four films about it during my career and got up close as is possible when the Archdiocese of Turin agreed to remove it from its protective chamber to allow me to film it. In my "semi"-retirement my plan is to do whatever I can to share what I have learnt, campaign to raise awareness and, hopefully, get recognition for the scientific and academic injustice it has received. Watch this space…


(Please inform me of typos or other mistakes if you spot any. Proof reading is not my forte.)

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