Sunday, April 18, 2010

What's with this "Holy Fire" nonsense?

Dear Rev. Know-it-all;

We heard some loon on the radio going on and on about something called the "Holy Fire" at the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem) I had to google it to try and find more information on it. Absurd! What nonsense. Thank goodness not too many Catholic websites will acknowledge this phenomenon... could you comment? Is this a Greek Orthodox tradition? Beware of Greeks lighting fires. Isn’t that in the Bible somewhere?


Mr. &Mrs. Phil & Sophie Majors

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Majors,

For those less aware than you, let me explain the Holy Fire. Every Easter, that is Easter according to the Greek Orthodox calendar, the Greeks claim that fire spontaneously lights the candles held by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem as he prays alone in the tomb of Christ. That sort of thing seems a bit much to swallow. After all, we are living in scientific times and know that such displays of the supernatural are nonsense. (It is interesting that the comment “Nonsense!” (leiros) does appear once in the New Testament. It is the reaction of the disciples to the women’s tale of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday morning.) All moderately well educated moderns know that the Holy Fire must be a fraud. The interesting thing is that if it is a fraud, it goes back at least 1,625 years.

The Holy Fire is first mentioned in documents dating from the 4th century. One of them, Eusebius of Caesarea’s “History of the Church,” talks about something similar in 188 AD, when Narcissus was Bishop of Jerusalem. It seems that there was no oil for the lamps for the Easter Vigil and water miraculously burned in the oil lamps. This may or may not be a reference to the Holy Fire, but it certainly could not have happened in the tomb itself. The tomb had been buried by the Emperor Hadrian in 135 and remained buried under a temple to the goddess Venus until 325 when the vigil services probably resumed at the Holy Sepulchre which had never been forgotten by the Christians of Jerusalem.

The next mention comes from that era and is much clearer. Around 385, Egeria, a Celtic noble woman from Spain, traveled to the Holy Land. In the account of her journey, she speaks of a ceremony at the Holy Sepulchre of Christ, where a light comes forth from the small chapel enclosing the tomb, by which the entire church is filled with an infinite light. St. John Damascene mentions the phenomenon in 780.

Things become even more explicit in an itinerary written by a western monk named Bernhard after his journey to Jerusalem in the year 865. He describes an angel who came down after the singing of the "Kyrie Eleison" and ignited the lamps hanging over the burial slab of Christ, whereupon the Patriarch passed the flame to the bishops and to everyone else in the church. This description matches what happens to this day. Bernard writes: " It is worth saying what happens on Holy Saturday, in the church of the Holy Sepulchre at Easter. In the morning the divine office begins in this church. Then, when it is over they sing the Kyrie Eleison 'til an angel comes and kindles light in the lamps which hang above the Sepulchre. The patriarch passes some of this light to the bishops and the rest of the people, and each one has light where he is standing. "

On October 18, 1009, Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, (also known as Hakim the Crazy) ordered the complete destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Tomb of Christ as well as random arrests and executions of the Christians of Jerusalem. This is the event that started the Crusades. Al-Hakim "...was aggrieved by the scale of the Easter pilgrimage to Jerusalem, which was caused specially by the annual miracle of the Holy Fire within the Sepulchre.”

In 1096, Pope Urban begged Christians to save the Holy Land and restore the tomb of Christ. In his appeal to Christendom, Pope Urban spoke of the Holy Fire . “Of holy Jerusalem, ...This very city, in which, as you all know, Christ Himself suffered for us, because our sins demanded that place ...He died for us; there He was buried. How precious would be the longed for, incomparable place of the Lord's burial, even if God failed there to perform the yearly miracle! For in the days of His Passion (Holy Week) all the lights in the Sepulchre and round about in the church, which have been extinguished, are relighted by divine command. Whose heart is so stony, brethren, that it is not touched by so great a miracle? Believe me, that man is ...senseless whose heart such divinely manifest grace does not move to faith!”

In fact, the Holy Fire still falls in our time in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in much the same manner as early Christian and medieval sources report. If it is a fraud, that would mean that every Bishop of Jerusalem who has participated in this ceremony for almost 2,000 years has taken his cue from his predecessor and hoodwinked another generation of the gullible.

Let me describe the ceremony. The tomb is searched and sealed, formerly by the Muslim Turks, by the Israeli police presently. The patriarch is similarly searched. He enters the tomb and prays while the congregation chants “Lord have mercy.” A recent Greek patriarch, Diodorus who died in 2000 describes what happens. "I enter the tomb and kneel in holy fear in front of the place where Christ lay after His death and where He rose again from the dead... I find my way through the darkness towards the inner chamber in which I fall on my knees. Here I say certain prayers that have been handed down to us through the centuries and, having said them, I wait. Sometimes I may wait a few minutes, but normally the miracle happens immediately after I have said the prayers. From the core of the very stone on which Jesus lay an indefinable light pours forth. It usually has a blue tint, but the color may change and take many different hues. It cannot be described in human terms. The light rises out of the stone as mist may rise out of a lake. It almost looks as if the stone is covered by a moist cloud, but it is light. This light each year behaves differently. Sometimes it covers just the stone, while other times it gives light to the whole Sepulchre, so that people who stand outside the tomb and look into it will see it filled with light. The light does not burn. I have never had my beard burnt in all the sixteen years I have been Patriarch in Jerusalem and have received the Holy Fire. The light is of a different consistency than normal fire that burns in an oil lamp... At a certain point the light rises and forms a column in which the fire is of a different nature, so that I am able to light my candles from it. When I thus have received the flame on my candles, I go out and give the fire first to the Armenian Patriarch and then to the Coptic. Then I give the flame to all present in the Church."

The Holy Light is not only distributed by the Patriarch, but spreads by itself. It is emitted from the Holy Sepulchre with a hue completely different from natural light. The blue flame appears in different places in the Church. Believers claim that sometimes this miraculous light spontaneously ignites candles, which they hold in their hands. It flashes like lightning, and sometimes flies around the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and lights the oil lamps in front of the tomb. It flies from one end of the church to the other. Sometimes it lights the lamps in the upper chapel of Calvary. For about a half an hour after the Holy Fire appears, it is a cool flame that does not burn the face, or beards or the hands. People “wash” themselves with the cool flame. You can find video of the event on You Tube. There is one fascinating video in which a large ball of fire explodes from the tomb, darts through the crown and strikes a pillar which lights up and then the light is gone.

Here's a fascinating 30 minute documentary "Holy Light in Jerusalem: Proofs & Testimonies" with English subtitles (originally produced in Greece). Apparently non-believers are in on the fraud, too.

Some Greeks claim that the Holy Fire proves they are the True Church. However, the Fire is given to the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, not the Patriarch of Constantinople. Catholics believe that Greek Orthodox are "true Church." By our lights, they reject the ministry of the apostle Peter, but they are still "true Church." Sometimes some of them don't like us Latins very much and historically we have sometimes returned the favor, but God is generous with His miracles. They have the Holy Fire and Our Lady of Zeitoun. We have the Shroud and Our Lady of Fatima. My personal belief is that the Holy Fire was given to the first (Jewish ) Christians of the Holy Land and the history of this community involves the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. They have custody of the tomb of Christ, though we Westerners have access to it. God loves them and us very much. I believe that the Holy Fire is not about who is right. God loves us all, East and West, North and South. However, the sad schism of the Church has limited the awareness of the miracle for perhaps 600 years. Perhaps an increasing awareness of this miracle will draw us into the miracle of deeper unity.

“Nonsense!”, you say? Well, hasn’t the Bible lots of nonsense? Remember the bush that burned but was not consumed? Remember Elijah’s chariot of fire? Remember the pillar of fire that led the people of Israel through the wilderness? Remember when the sun danced at Fatima and fire fell, changing the 20th century because of our blessed Mother’s love for Orthodox Russia? Remember the fire that fell on the disciples and the Blessed Mother at Pentecost? It didn’t burn them, but sent them to the ends of the earth. Remember the fire that burned the burial shroud of Jesus and left His image scorched on the linen? John and Peter saw and believed! Didn’t Jesus Himself say, “I have come to throw fire on the earth and how I wish that it was already lit.” (Luke 12:9)? Don’t you say every Sunday that “He is light from light, true God from true God?” The Bible is full of fire, from the angel’s sword in Eden to the fire that exploded in the holy and deathless tomb, the empty tomb on Saturday just a few weeks ago, when an old man, a bishop, an unworthy servant of God knelt to pray. Look at the video on YouTube. The passing of the fire, the clanging of the bells. Isn’t this exactly what we reenact on Holy Saturday in our Vigil service? Look at the video and then read the Exultet. It is the Holy Fire that we celebrate even in the West, His wonders are ever new, but the fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” There is an old song:

and when the waves of anger again the earth shall fill with fire, the ark shall ride the sea of fire and rest on Zion’s hill.

May it soon be so! Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Rev. Know-it-all

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Setting the Times straight


This is an unusual article, but these are unusual times. I have shortened a fine article on our current difficulties. I am borrowing it, hopefully legally. It is “A Response to the New York Times” by Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, a chaplain at Queen's University in Ontario. It can be found in its entirety in the National Review Online. I urge you to go to the site to read the article in full. I excerpt it because it makes it absolutely clear that there is a conspiracy to defame the Church and its Sovereign Pontiff and that there is a significant involvement by our old friend, Rembert Weakbrain, I mean Weakland. Rembert, as you may remember from my article “Are we rolling back the reforms?” from January 31, 2010, is the man who trashed the Catholic Liturgy as well as the Milwaukee Cathedral. Now he is trying to trash the papacy. That old duck is surely the gift that keeps on giving. Well enough of my rantings. Here is the article.

Yours ever,
the Rev. Know it all

The New York Times on March 25 accused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, of intervening to prevent a priest, Fr. Lawrence Murphy, from facing penalties for cases of sexual abuse of minors.

The story is false. It is unsupported by its own documentation. Indeed, it gives every indication of being part of a coordinated campaign against Pope Benedict, rather than responsible journalism.

Before addressing the false substance of the story, the following circumstances are worthy of note:

• The New York Times story had two sources. First, lawyers who currently have a civil suit pending against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. One of the lawyers, Jeffrey Anderson, also has cases in the United States Supreme Court pending against the Holy See. He has a direct financial interest in the matter being reported.

• The second source was Archbishop Rembert Weakland, retired archbishop of Milwaukee. He is the most discredited and disgraced bishop in the United States, widely known for mishandling sexual-abuse cases during his tenure, and guilty of using $450,000 of archdiocesan funds to pay hush money to a former homosexual lover who was blackmailing him. Archbishop Weakland had responsibility for the Father Murphy case between 1977 and 1998, when Father Murphy died. He has long been embittered that his maladministration of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee earned him the disfavor of Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, long before it was revealed that he had used parishioners’ money to pay off his clandestine lover. He is prima facie not a reliable source.

• Laurie Goodstein, the author of the New York Times story, has a recent history with Archbishop Weakland. Last year, upon the release of the disgraced archbishop’s autobiography, she wrote an unusually sympathetic story that buried all the most serious allegations against him (New York Times, May 14, 2009).

• A demonstration took place in Rome on Friday, coinciding with the publication of the New York Times story. One might ask how American activists would happen to be in Rome distributing the very documents referred to that day in the New York Times........ The New York Times made available on its own website the supporting documentation for the story. In those documents, Cardinal Ratzinger himself does not take any of the decisions that allegedly frustrated the trial.. .....that Cardinal Ratzinger’s impeded some investigation is proven utterly false.....

The canonical trial against Father Murphy was never stopped by anyone. In fact, it was only abandoned days before Father Murphy died. Cardinal Ratzinger never took a decision in the case......His deputy.. suggested, given that Father Murphy was in failing health and a canonical trial is a complicated matter, that more expeditious means be used to remove him from all ministry. That Cardinal Ratzinger did anything wrong is unsupported by the documentation.... He does not appear in the record as taking any decision. His office... agreed that there should be a full canonical trial. When it became apparent that Father Murphy was in failing health, Archbishop Bertone suggested more expeditious means of removing him from any ministry.

Furthermore, under canon law at the time, the principal responsibility for sexual-abuse cases lay with the local bishop. Archbishop Weakland had from 1977 onwards the responsibility of administering penalties to Father Murphy. He did nothing until 1996..... The New York Times flatly got the story wrong, according to its own evidence. Readers may want to speculate on why.

Here is the relevant timeline, drawn from the documents the New York Times posted on its own website.

15 May 1974
Abuse by Fr. Lawrence Murphy is alleged by a former student at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee. In fact, accusations against Father Murphy go back more than a decade.

12 September 1974
Father Murphy is granted an official “temporary sick leave” from St. John’s School for the Deaf. He leaves Milwaukee and moves to northern Wisconsin, in the Diocese of Superior, where he lives in a family home with his mother. He has no official assignment from this point until his death in 1998. He does not return to live in Milwaukee. No canonical penalties are pursued against him.

9 July 1980
Officials in the Diocese of Superior write to officials in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee about what ministry Father Murphy might undertake in Superior. Archbishop Rembert Weakland, archbishop of Milwaukee since 1977, has been consulted and says it would be unwise to have Father Murphy return to ministry with the deaf community. There is no indication that Archbishop Weakland foresees any other measures to be taken in the case.

17 July 1996
More than 20 years after the original abuse allegations, Archbishop Weakland writes to Cardinal Ratzinger, claiming that he has only just discovered that Father Murphy’s sexual abuse involved the sacrament of confession — a still more serious canonical crime. The allegations about the abuse of the sacrament of confession were in the original 1974 allegations. Weakland has been archbishop of Milwaukee by this point for 19 years. It should be noted that for sexual-abuse charges, Archbishop Weakland could have proceeded against Father Murphy at any time. The matter of solicitation in the sacrament of confession required notifying Rome, but that too could have been done as early as the 1970s.

10 September 1996
Father Murphy is notified that a canonical trial will proceed against him. Until 2001, the local bishop had authority to proceed in such trials. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is now beginning the trial.

24 March 1997
Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, advises a canonical trial against Father Murphy.

14 May 1997
Archbishop Weakland writes to Archbishop Bertone to say that the penal process against Father Murphy has been launched, and notes that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has advised him to proceed even though the statute of limitations has expired. In fact, there is no statute of limitations for solicitation in the sacrament of confession. Throughout the rest of 1997 the preparatory phases of the canonical trial is underway.

12 January 1998
Father Murphy, now less than eight months away from his death, appeals to Cardinal Ratzinger that, given his frail health, he be allowed to live out his days in peace.

6 April 1998
Archbishop Bertone, noting the frail health of Father Murphy and that there have been no new charges in almost 25 years, recommends using pastoral measures to ensure Father Murphy has no ministry, but without the full burden of a canonical process. It is only a suggestion, as the local bishop retains control.

13 May 1998
The Bishop of Superior, where the process has been transferred to and where Father Murphy has lived since 1974, rejects the suggestion for pastoral measures. Formal pre-trial proceedings begin on 15 May 1998.

30 May 1998
Archbishop Weakland, who is in Rome, meets with officials but not including Cardinal Ratzinger, to discuss the case. The trial process is ongoing. No decision was taken to stop it, but given the difficulties of a trial after 25 years, other options are explored that would more quickly remove Father Murphy from ministry.

19 August 1998
Archbishop Weakland writes that he has halted the canonical trial and has immediately begun the process to remove him from ministry — a quicker option.

21 August 1998
Father Murphy dies. His family defies the orders of Archbishop Weakland for a discreet funeral.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Do you really think Jesus rose from the dead?

Dear Rev. Know it all,
The Christian religion is so primitive. This myth of the dying and rising god permeates ancient religions and is only symbolic. Science has proven that dead bodies cannot be brought back to life. I celebrate Easter because it is a beautiful celebration of the power of nature, a celebration of the Goddess in all her power and splendor. Perhaps there is some kind of survival of death, or cosmic consciousness, but resurrection? Really! To believe in an impossibility without a shred of evidence is the height of gullibility. You traditional Catholics make this beautiful spring festival of life and fertility more like something from a Frankenstein movie.
Yours faithlessly,
Dr. Agnes Tick
Professor of Feminist Studies
Bathsheba Bible College

Dear Dr. Tick,
I would venture that there are shreds of evidence, like a group of men and women, many of whom died violent deaths refusing to deny that they had seen Jesus of Nazareth risen from the dead. Their testimony transformed the world. There are still events that don’t conform to the laws of science, such as Fatima and Lourdes and Zeitoun. There is also the nearness of the Lord available to believers, but I don’t expect you to accept any of these. To do so, you must rely on the witness of others. Still, there is something that one can actually touch and see and examine under a microscope: the Shroud of Turin. I can here you laughing all the way from your tenured teaching chair. After all, wasn’t the Shroud proven a fake by carbon dating in 1988? Herein lies the problem with tenure in institutions of higher learning. Once a person is in for life, he, or she, need never have a new idea — intellectual curiosity becomes optional. The pope should be so infallible!
Let me tell you the latest. Dr. Ray Rogers of Los Alamos National Laboratory was the head of chemistry experiments for the Shroud of Turin Research Project that performed scientific tests of the shroud in 1978. When carbon dating put the origin of the Shroud at around 1300 AD, he gave up on the Shroud. The case was closed. Science had spoken. When some tried to explain why the carbon dating was wrong, Dr. Rogers became angry at these nut-cases who couldn’t accept the verdict of hard science. He was particularly angry at Joseph Marino and his wife Sue Benford. In the year 2000 they claimed that there had been a repair attempt in the area of the Shroud from which the testing samples had been taken. They concluded that the Carbon 14 tests were done on a medieval patch, not on the actual Shroud. Dr. Rogers knew he could prove them wrong. He actually had small pieces of the Shroud from the test area. He examined his samples and was thunderstruck by what he saw. A couple of non-academics had been right.
The cloth examined by some of the world’s most prestigious laboratories was made of cotton. The Shroud is made of linen. Dr. Rogers could actually see where the linen and cotton threads had been spliced together and dyed to match the rest of the Shroud. He submitted his work to review by fellow chemists. His article in the scientific journal Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 20,2005) is the one of the few peer reviewed articles on the subject. In 2008, at Dr. Rogers’ request, a team of nine scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory headed by Dr. Robert Villarreal proved the carbon dating invalid. Villarrea. wrote, “The age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area... representative of the whole."
"The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case.” This means the Shroud of Turin has never been carbon dated. However, there is another way to date ancient cloths. Vanillin is produced by the decomposition of lignin, a component of flax, from which linen is made. It’s found in medieval linens but not in older cloths. It vanishes with time. First century linen cloths don’t contain vanillin because they are too old. Medieval linens contain some vanillin and modern linen has a lot of vanillin. Dr. Rogers' paper concludes that , based on vanillin loss, that the Shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old, old enough to have wrapped the crucified Christ. Well fine, you may say. So the cloth is old. What proves that it’s the burial cloth of Jesus? Where’s your evidence?
First, let me review what the Shroud of Turin is, in case you have been hiding under an ivy covered rock at Bathsheba Bible College.
The Shroud of Turin is a fourteen foot long cloth that has the faint image of a man imprinted on it. The image is not painted, but formed by a sort of scorch, perhaps a radiation burn, of only top threads of the top fibers of the cloth. There are human blood stains on the cloth, but the image is so limited to the threads that where there is a bloodstain, there is no image on the underlying cloth. This means that the image was formed after the bloodstains had been made. There is a faint, pale brown image of a man, five-foot eleven inches tall, who appears to have Jewish style payes (side locks). He has wounds in his hands, side and feet, and small puncture wounds around the scalp, small double wounds all over his body and a side wound the size of a typical roman lance. The small wounds all over the body are the exact size of the tips of an ancient Roma whip, a flagrum. The wounds are consistent with a Jewish man whipped by Romans, crowned with thorns, crucified and pierced with a lance. It is clearly an image of Jesus, the only man we know of who was whipped and crucified, but also crowned with thorns and pierced by a lance. These last two were not part of a typical Roman crucifixion.
You may say, “So it’s Jesus. Big deal. It doesn’t prove a thing. There is nothing supernatural or even unusual about any of this. There are untold thousands of such images in churches everywhere.” Well, what convinces me is what is not seen. For centuries the Shroud attracted no scientific interest until 1898. Secondo Pia, an Italian photographer was allowed to photograph the cloth. When he developed the photographic negatives he was shaken. On the cloth was a faint image. Impossibly, the negative was a perfect photograph. That started the scientific investigation of the cloth that has never stopped. In the 1960's Peter Schumacher developed the VP8 image analyzer for creating relief maps of distant objects such as the Moon and Mars. In 1976, Schumacher had has just finished installing a VP8 Image analyzer for Dr. John Jackson of the Sandia Scientific Laboratories. Jackson placed an image of the Shroud of Turin in the analyzer When it was activated, a three-dimensional image appeared. Schumacher says “I had no idea what I was looking at. (He had never heard of the Shroud.) However, the results were unlike anything I have processed through the VP-8 Analyzer, before or since. Only the Shroud of Turin has produced these results from a VP-8 Image Analyzer.”
Wait, there’s more! Dr. Joseph Kohlbeck, of the Hercules Aerospace Center in Salt Lake, Utah, and Dr. Richard Levi-Setti of the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago, have examined particles taken from the Shroud’s surface. They found travertine aragonite, from near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The chemical signatures of the Shroud samples and the dust found near Golgotha are identical. This particular kind of limestone dust has been found only near Jerusalem.
Wait, there’s more! The bloodstains, which are human blood, have the hidden characteristics of blood. On the Shroud, there are components such as bile, bilirubin, heme, and serum, unknown to medieval medicine. These marks were made after death, and are invisible to the naked eye. They can be seen only under ultra-violet light. The blood has a high bilirubin content which means it was shed under conditions of severe stress. Quite a clever medieval forger to put all these invisible things on the Shroud in a foolish attempt to dupe us modern sophisticates.
Wait, there’s more. Mechthild Fleury-Lemberg, one of the worlds leading textile experts did conservation on the Shroud and was able to thoroughly examine the cloth front and back. She discovered a unique nearly invisible seam that she has found on only one other cloth. That cloth is is from the time of Christ and from Masada, only a few miles from Jerusalem.
Wait, there’s more! Dr. Peter Soons of Holland noticed another detail of the Shroud. There is no directionality to the image on the Shroud. The image is the same from any angle, above or below, from right, left, or front. The image emerges from the cloth evenly. The Shroud looks like a picture to our eyes but image analysis shows no directionality to the lights and shadows of the picture. In every picture, painting or photo, there is a light source that reflects off the image to the beholder, whether artist or camera. This is not true of the Shroud. The light is everywhere at once. The Shroud is a holograph! In Jerusalem there is an amazing exhibit on the Shroud. When you see the 3-D holograph, you realize that the image is not on the cloth at all. It floats in space some distance from the cloth. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
Wait, there’s more! Dame Isabel Piczek, a particle physicist, noticed that there is no distortion in the image on the cloth from the pressure of the body on the tomb slab, nor are there folds and wrinkles from the cloth. Rather, to quote her, “There is a strange dividing element, an interface from which the image is projected up and the image is projected down. The muscles of the body are absolutely not crushed against the stone of the tomb. .....The body is hovering between the two sides of the Shroud..... there is absolutely no gravity. The image is absolutely undistorted...... A heretofore unknown interface....” This interface she says, “would have been the result of a, collapsed event horizon, in the center of which, “there is something which science knows as a singularity. This is exactly what started the universe in the Big Bang.” Golly!
Wait, there’s more. I haven’t room here for the coins minted by Pontius Pilate on the eyes, (Barry Schwortz, a brilliant photographer disputes this, though he has no doubt that the Shroud is for real) or for pollen unique to Jerusalem on and on and on. So the Shroud has hidden photographic and hidden three dimensionality in it. It is a hidden holograph and demonstrates the mysteries of quantum physics, as well as rock dust and pollen that come only from the area of the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem. It may have coins from the holy Land minted only at the time of Christ.
I can hear you say, “Well all this must be just coincidence. After all, the carbon dating proves....”
Can’t you get it through your thick tenured head that there was no carbon dating of the Shroud? JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD. The sooner you get used to the fact, the sooner you’ll come to know Him and accept Him as the Lord of the universe and the Lord of your life.

Happy Easter,

Rev. Know-it-all