Pope visits Turin to see shroud

Sunday, May 2, 2010

TURIN - Pope Benedict XVI arrived Sunday in Turin to visit a controversial Catholic relic - a cloth some say is the one used to wrap Jesus’ body for burial and others dismiss as a medieval forgery.

Some 25,000 people gathered in the northern Italian city’s central San Carlo square to greet the pontiff who was later scheduled to celebrate mass.

Known as the Shroud of Turin, the 4.3-metre-long, 1 metre-wide cloth has gone on public display in Turin’s cathedral for the first time in 10 years and after restoration work was completed in 2002.

Authorities in Turin say some 1.5 million people have made reservations to view the shroud which is kept in a bulletproof, climate-controlled glass case.

The Vatican has declined to take a definitive stance on the cloth’s authenticity, but has allowed the faithful to venerate it as a symbol of Christ’s suffering.

The cloth shows the faint image of a man whose wounds appear consistent with those suffered by someone who was crucified.

Carbon-dating of fragments of the cloth have suggested the linen was made in the 13th or 14th century, but experts disagree on the validity of the scientific tests or how the image was formed.

The president of the Turin archdiocese’s commission on the Shroud, Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, has said the Vatican, which owns the cloth, is considering a new round of scientific tests after the public display ends May 23.

Filed under: Religion

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