IL MESSAGGERO - Saturday, August
10, 2002, page 10
The removal of the patches
has been confirmed.
The Curia: "But the
Shroud cloth has not been damaged"
ROME - The Curia of Turin has fully confirmed the amazing operation of
removal of the Shroud patches, completed in great secret in the Turin Cathedral
new sacristy from June 20 to July 22 and revealed yesterday by our Newspaper.
It has been announced that in the first half of September a press conference
will take place in order to document, also photographically, the results
of the operation, consisting in the removal of thirty patches sewn from
the Chambéry Clare nuns in 1534 on the burns of the Sheet, provoked
by the December 4,1532 fire, and in the substitution of the backing cloth,
called "Holland cloth." Only then will it be possible to have a general
idea of how the Shroud has been "transformed" and answer question that
the experts, who have been kept completely in the dark about it, ask: have
the Sacred Linen carbonized parts been trimmed? However amazing
it can appear, according to someone the "burns move forward as time goes
on" (but in five centuries they would have "eaten" a lot of cloth…), hence
the idea to intervene, eliminating the carbonized parts. If so, last month's
operation would have been "invasive". On the contrary, in yesterday's
statement of the Turinese Curia spokesman, Marco Bonatti, who confirmed
the intervention, there are references to new scientific "non invasive"
tests, that is, which have not damaged the cloth. Obviously, this
intervention, carried out by the textile expert Flury-Lemberg, has been
authorized by the Shroud papal Custodian, cardinal Severino Poletto, after
obtaining the consent of the Holy See, who owns of the precious Relic after
the last Savoy family King Umberto II's testamentary donation in
1983. The news of this last "operation-Shroud" has also surprised many
Turinese clergymen themselves, both for the intervention weight - with
the removal of the thirty 16th century patches and the substitution of
the "Holland cloth" below, completely stitched to the patches and to the
Shroud (only the Face area was left out), and for "the furtive attitude,
like Carbonari (? translator's note: the Carbonarist movement was a secret
sect of the Italian 19th century Risorgimento)," that surrounded the operation.
In the eight International Shroud Conferences, which have taken place in
the last four years, we do not know of any expert suggesting such a challenging
and risky intervention as necessary. The Curia has specified that
the matter had been dealt with in the International Scientific Symposium,
which had taken place behind closed doors in Villa Gualino (Turin) from
March 2 to 5, 2000. When we asked them, some participants confirmed
they did not hear of it at all, nor is there any trace of it in the Proceedings.
Perhaps the three textile experts who were there (Flury-Lemberg, Testore,
Vercelli) talked about it in an informal way. More probably, the decision
must have been taken during the scanning of the Shroud back, carried out
in November 2000. Then, the experts may have realized there were
dust and dirt between the Shroud and the Holland cloth, sewn in 1534.