Vatican City (AsiaNews) – For 40 days in the spring of 2010 it will be possible to see the Shroud of Turin which, according to tradition, is the cloth in which the body of Jesus was wrapped after his death and which shows the marks of the Passion and Crucifixion as told by the Gospels.
Benedict XVI, who owns the Shroud, made the announcement yesterday when he met the participants to the pilgrimage organised by the Archdiocese of Turin led by the local archbishop, Card Severino Poletto, who is the custodian of the Shroud.
The Pope spoke about to the display in relation to the diocese’s pastoral journey, which in 2010 will be devoted to a “closer contemplation of the mystery of the Passion of Christ.”
“In such a context I am happy to fulfill your great expectations and accept your bishop’s wish, allowing the Shroud to be solemnly put on display in the spring of 2010,” said the Pope. “It will be a most propitious occasion, I am certain, to contemplate that mysterious Face, which silently speaks to the hearts of men, inviting them to see in it the face of God.”
For the Church the Shroud is not a “relic” since it has never actually said whether it is the linen cloth in which the body of the dead Christ was wrapped or not.
At the time of the last display in 2000 (previous ones took place in 1973 and 1998) John Paul II referred to it as “icon”.
At the same time though, the Church has never denied that the linen cloth might be the one the Evangelists talk about in the Gospels.
On several occasions the Church has allowed the Shroud to undergo scientific tests, with contradictory results that are still source of great debate among scholars around the world.