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Jury still out on Shroud of Turin

VATICAN CITY (CNS): The scientific jury is still out on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Christ, said Archbishop Severino Poletto of Turin.

“The last word has not yet been pronounced on the dating of the shroud. We need further research and study,” Archbishop Poletto said at a Vatican press conference on May 22.

As a special event during the Jubilee Year, the shroud will go on display from August 12-October 22 in the northern Italian city of Turin. The almost six-metre-long cloth bears the faint imprint of a man and the apparent signs of wound marks that correspond to the crucifixion.

Archbishop Poletto said that after carbon-14 testing in 1988 dated the cloth to the Middle Ages, suggesting that it was a forgery, new evidence has come to light throwing doubt on those test results. At a closed-door scientific congress sponsored by the archdiocese in March, two experts spoke in favour of the medieval dating while two others took the opposite view.

“For me, that was enough to say that the question is still open,” Archbishop Poletto said. He noted that the Church considers the shroud not an article of faith, but a help for Christians in understanding Christ’s passion.

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