Traditional Catholic Sacraments 3, Eliseus And Naaman

In the Epistle reading of the Holy Latin Mass for Monday of the 3rd Week of lent, we have the miracle of Naaman.  It is placed here to remind those who are preparing for baptism at Easter what will happen to them through this Sacred Sacrament.the-baptism-of-christ

In those days Naaman, general of the army, of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable: for by him the Lord gave deliverance to Syria: and he was a valiant man, and rich, but a leper. Now there had gone out robbers from Syria, and had led away captive out of the land of Israel, a little maid, and she waited upon Naaman’s wife. And she said to her mistress: I wish my master had been with the prophet that is in Samaria: he would certainly have healed him of the leprosy which he hath. Then Naaman went in to his lord, and told him, saying: Thus and thus said the girl from the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said to him: Go; and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment; And brought the letter to the king of Israel, in these words: When thou shalt receive this letter, know that I have sent to thee Naaman, my servant, that thou mayst heal him of his leprosy. And when the king of Israel had read the letter, he rent his garments, and said: Am I God, to be able to kill and give life, that this man hath sent to me to heal a man of his leprosy? mark, and see how he seeketh occasions against me. And when Eliseus, the man of God, had heard this, to wit, that the king of Israel had rent his garments, he sent to him, saying: Why hast thou rent thy garments? let him come to me, and let him know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Eliseus: And Eliseus sent a messenger to him, saying: Go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh shall recover health, and thou shalt be clean. Naaman was angry, and went away, saying: I thought he would have come out to me, and standing, would have invoked the name of the Lord his God, and touched with his hand the place of the leprosy, and healed me. Are not the Abana, and the Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel, that I may wash in them, and be made clean? So as he turned, and was going away with indignation, His servants came to him, and said to him: Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, surely thou shouldst have done it: how much rather what he now hath said to thee: Wash, and thou shalt be clean? Then he went down, and washed in the Jordan seven times, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored, like the flesh of a little child: and he was made clean. And returning to the man of God, with all his train, he came, and stood before him, and said: In truth, I know there is no other God, in all the earth, but only in Israel: I beseech thee, therefore, take a blessing of thy servant.        IV Kings 5:1-15

The holy prophet Eliseus is seen as a type of Christ who tells Naaman to wash 7 times in the Jordan River.  ‘Wash and you shall be clean.’  He struggles to do it because it seem too simple, too easy.  God does tremendous miracles through the simple outward signs and actions of His Sacraments.  The waters of the Jordan River is the sign that effected his miracle.  baptismThe purification and grace of the sacrament restored his flesh to that of a pure child as what happens in Holy Baptism when we become pure adopted sons of God.

Bible Readings Easter Wednesday

Acts 3:13-15,17-19
In those days, Peter opening his mouth, said, Ye men of Isræl, and ye that fear God, hear. The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers hath glorified His Son Jesus, Whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged he should be released. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. But the Author of life you killed, Whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled. Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.
Jn. 21:1-14
At that time, Jesus showed Himself again to His disciples at the sea of Tiberias. And He showed Himself after this manner. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas, who is called Didymus, and Nathanæl, who was of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee and two others of His disciples. Simon Peter saith to them, I go fishing. They say to him, We also come with thee. And they went forth, and entered into the ship: and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus therefore said to them, “Children, have you any meat?” They answered Him: No. He saith to them,”Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find.” They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it, for the multitude of fishes. That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved, said to Peter, it is the Lord. Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, girt his coat about him (for he was naked) and cast himself into the sea. But the other disciples came in the ship (for they were not far from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits) dragging the net with fishes. As soon then as they came to land, they saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon, and bread. Jesus saith to them,”Bring hither of the fishes which you now have caught.”Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken. Jesus saith to them, “Come, and dine.” And none of them who were at meat durst ask Him, Who art Thou? knowing that it was the Lord. And Jesus cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish in like manner. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to His disciples, after He was risen from the dead.

Traditional Catholic Sacraments 2

I wish to continue to expound on the Introduction to ‘The Roman Ritual’ by Rev. Philip T Weller.

seven sacramentsThe resurrected Jesus continues to be truly present to us in His Mystical Body the Church.  Christ.  The Word made Flesh, came as a visible sign with great graces for those who choose to believe in Him.  It is He who acts in and through the Catholic Church’s Sacraments.  These sacraments are the Church’s most treasured possessions and in most cases, are the only way that God dispenses His graces to man.  They are normally indispensable for salvation.

We have personally experienced how God brought our dead souls back to life through our baptism.  We have experience being incorporated into the Body of Christ by receiving Jesus’ Body and Blood in Holy Communion.  The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament par excellence because it keeps us united to Jesus and other Catholics in Body and Charity.

the-holy-sacrifice-of-the-mass2An extremely important traditional Catholic teaching, (about the Holy Mass or Eucharist), has all been but forgotten today by most Catholics.  It is explained this way:

As sacrifice, the eucharistic oblation of Christ, truly His very own renewal of Good Friday in sacramental manner, is also the sacrifice of the Church, with a priest as minister acting in the person of Him and in the person of the entire fellowship of the faithful.’ R.R. pg.4.

The Holy Mass is not a meal commemorating the Last Supper.  It is truly the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary, in an un-bloody manner, re-made present through the priest who acts in Persona Christi.  That is why it is not a party where the priest make jokes, people clap and enjoy the ‘Happy Mass’.  Priests offer sacrifices not happy hour.  Our Lady, St. John and the other women were not happily singing songs and clapping as Jesus, on Good Friday, slowly died from torture on the cross.  In contemplative silence, they united their prayers, supplications and extreme sorrow with Jesus’ horrific sacrifice up on the cross.

Luther_at_WormsMartin Luther began the revolt against the Holy Sacraments of Jesus’ Church.  Out of this came Rationalism where the idea of supernatural intervention in human history became laughable.  Man becomes perfect, not in need of redemption or renewal.  There is no ‘Original Sin’.  There is no need for Jesus’ Church or the graces that flow out of the Holy Catholic Sacraments.

We see this only too clearly in Marxism where the problem is outside man.  The problem are the Royal rulers, the rich, who oppress the poor.  They stole all the rich’s possessions. That didn’t work so they had them killed.  They arrested or killed religious ‘superstitious’ priests and ministers.  That didn’t work so they then began to imprisoned the intellectuals in forced labor camps.

communism_doesn't_workBut the Marxist theory failed to deliver what it had promised; an earthy paradise.  Without Jesus’ words and example, without His Church’s Sacraments, man is not redeemed and continues to self destruct from the effect of Original Sin; SELFISHNESS.

We are so blessed to be able to be traditional Catholics and to have access to the powerful Holy Sacraments that help free us from our sins and selfishness.  They give us the graces necessary to be holy and loving to others.

Bible Readings Easter Tuesday

Acts 13:26-33
In those days, Paul standing up, and with his hand bespeaking silence, said, Men, brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you fear God, to you the word of this salvation is sent. For they that inhabited Jerusalem, and the rulers thereof, not knowing Him, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, judging Him have fulfilled them; and finding no cause of death in Him, they desired of Pilate that they might kill Him. And when they had fulfilled all things that were written of Him, taking Him down from the tree, they laid Him in a sepulchre. But God raised Him up from the dead the third day; Who was seen for many days by them who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who to this present time are His witnesses to the people. And we declare unto you that the promise which was made to our fathers, the same God hath fulfilled to our children, raising up Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Lk. 24:36-47
At that time, Jesus stood in the midst of His disciples, and saith to them, “Peace be to you, it is I, fear not.” But they being troubled and frighted, supposed that they saw a spirit. And He said to them,”Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See My hands, and My feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see Me to have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands, and His feet. But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, He said,”Have you here anything to eat?” And they offered Him a piece of broiled fish, and a honeycomb; and when He had eaten before them, taking the remains, He gave to them. And He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.”Then He opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. And He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead the third day; and that penance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations.”

Traditional Catholic Sacraments, Channels of Jesus’ Graces

At this very moment, we traditional Catholics are being kept spiritually alive and sanctified by God’s actions through connection with Jesus’ Mystical Body, the Church.  We call these channels of God’s life and grace; Sacraments.  p_download_bodypart.asp

In the beginning of the Rev. Philip T. Weller’s ‘Roman Ritual’, is the ‘By Way Of Introduction’.  I want to go over this to help you deepen your understanding about the great power of God working right now through the Sacraments of Holy Catholic Church.

The definition of a Sacrament is;

An outward sign of inward grace, a sacred and mysterious sign or ceremony, ordained by Christ, by which grace is conveyed to our souls.  1914 Catholic Encyclopedia

In the sacrament of baptism the outward signs are water and the words; ‘I baptize you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit’.  In Baptism, God mysteriously and miraculously works inwardly by liberating us from the devil, purifying our soul of original sin, pouring into our souls the indwelling presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and making us His adopted sons.  seven sacraments

The sacrament of Baptism was ordained by Christ just before He ascended back to the right hand of God the Father.

‘Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’  Matthew 28:19.

All of this began when in the fullness of time, God exercised a sacramental act of mercy for mankind by sending His Only Begotten Son to become Flesh, called the Incarnation.  Jesus took on created human nature so that the Unseen God could become accessible to man.  By taking on our fallen human nature, Jesus was able to redeem it and restore it.  Incarnation Window_Chartres Cathedral

‘The essence of Godhead is joined in sacramental mystery with visible mortal substance.’  Roman Ritual pg.v

When Jesus took on our human nature and died in that nature in the sacrifice of the cross, He gave birth to His Mystical Body the Church.  He is the head, and out of His pierced side of His body flowed water and Blood, from which His bride the Holy Church was taken.

jesus 9The sacramental mystery of Christ’s Incarnation and Redemption are prolonged every time  a man or child receives one of these sacraments from His Body the Church.  Where Christ the head works, His Body the Church also works.

The sacrament of Baptism is the first sacrament which re-creates us as children of God.  Then the sacrament of the Eucharist is necessary to intensify and complete our incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ or the Church.

‘He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me and I in him.’  John 6:57.

2 - Angels and monstranceAll of the sacraments work to incorporate us into Christ, form us into other Christs (Christians) and build up the Body of Christ.  We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to have so much life and grace flowing to us from these Holy Sacraments of Christ’s Catholic Church.

The Family Under Attack Don Leone Appendix

41VAKxjdgfL2. Redemption of the Body

In Theology of the Body, at least as it is presented by Mr. West, Grace enables men and women to live in the mutual and sincere gift of self (cf. Papal Discourse Jan.30th 1980, West p.42), just as in the beginning man and woman were infused with Grace. Through this Grace, the Holy Spirit impregnates our sexual desires ‘with everything that is noble and beautiful’, with ‘the supreme value which is love’ (Papal Discourse Oct. 29th 1980, West p.43-44). Similarly purity ‘lets us perceive the human body – ours and our neighbour’s – as a Temple of the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of the divine beauty’ (The New Catechism 2519, West p.47). There is a suggestion here that Grace (albeit in conjunction with mortification, West p.47) enables man to regain the state of his first parents. And yet their state, that of elevated nature, has been irremediably lost by Original Sin, and moreover it differs from our state, that of fallen nature, not only in regard to Grace, but also in regard to concupiscence, that is to say the dominion of the passions over the reason, which is one of the evils consequent on the Fall to which all humankind is subject (with the exception, of course, of the Blessed Virgin Mary. See chapter 2 of the present book). Theology of the Body, intent on presenting the positive side of conjugal love, largely neglects concupiscence158, hence giving an incomplete and unrealistic picture of this love. The Church, by contrast, had always recognized and taken seriously this objective disorder in human nature, and has indeed defined the third finality of marriage as ‘the remedy of concupiscence.’

Moderation in the area of sexuality is equivalent to chastity;

In this connection we refer to his concept of ‚original innocence‘ in the address of 26th Sept. 1979, by which he perhaps intends to justify the possibility of a return to the state of our first parents, even if this concept lacks clarity. The Pope speaks of ‚this real innocence of man as his original and fundamental state, as a dimension of his being created in the image of God. ‘He says in addition that: ‚These situations (‚original innocence‘ and ‚original sin‘) have a specific dimension in man, in his inner self, in his knowledge, conscience , choice, and decision‘; and that they are linked, for the ‚state of sin‘ which is part of ‚‚historical man‘ plunges its roots, in every man without exception, in his own theological ‚prehistory‘ which is the state of original innocence‘, At another point he describes Original Sin as a state whereby ‚man has lost his primitive innocence‘, and in the address of 12th Sept. 1979 he says that ‚the first account of man‘s creation is of a theological nature.‘ This doctrine is unclear inter alia because it oscillates between a supernatural and a natural concept of ‚original innocence‘. This concept has a supernatural colour in so far as ‚original innocence ‘is presented as a property which man acquires in the ‚theological‘ account of creation, and which man loses by the Fall; it has a natural colour in so far as it derives from creation (in the traditional, Catholic understanding of creation), and in so far as it is presented as persisting as a state in man, indeed in all men.

At the beginning of this treatment it will be useful briefly to distinguish three basic forms of love which have been enumerated in detail in chapter 2. First there is sensible love (or the passion of love), of which sexual love is an example; second there is rational love (or the virtue of love); third there is Charity, which is that form of rational love which is elevated by Supernatural Grace. In the light of these distinctions, the act of conjugal union in its ideal form is to be understood as an act of sensible love informed by rational love, which enables one spouse to love the other not as an object but as a person, and further informed by Charity, which enables the spouse to love the other in, and for the sake of, God.

3. The Nuptial Meaning of the Body

According to the Theology of the Body, the nuptial meaning of the body is the body’s ‘capacity of expressing love: that love precisely in which the person becomes a gift…’ (Papal Discourse Jan.16th 1980, West p.29). In other words the nuptial meaning of the body is the fact that it in a similar vein the Pope states that the Theology of the Body is…’essential and valid for the understanding of man in general: for the fundamental problem of understanding him and for the self- comprehension of his being in the world.’ (Dec.15th 1982, West p.2.)

One of the criticisms of Mr.West’s account made by Dr. Alice von Hildebrandt in her article comparing this account with her husband’s work in the field, is that he ‚underestimates the effects of Original Sin on the human condition’.

In fact, since it is the virtue of chastity which combats (carnal) concupiscence, those who pursue this virtue perfectly (through the vow of perfect chastity) resemble our first parents prior to the Fall more closely than spouses.

Appendix A: Theology of the Body expresses total self-giving love. The Pope continues: ‘… and – by means of this gift – fulfills the very meaning of his being and existence.’ At another point in the same discourse he describes the nuptial meaning of the body as ‘the fundamental element of human existence in the world.’160 In a later discourse (April 28th 1982, West p.74) he adds: ‘On the basis of the same nuptial meaning of (the) body…there can be formed the love that commits man to marriage for the whole duration of his life, but there can be formed also the love that amounts to a life of continence ‘for the sake of the Kingdom.’’ Moreover, those who rise to eternal life will experience ‘the absolute and eternal nuptial meaning of the glorified body in union with God himself.’ (March 24th 1982, West p.61.)

In reply, according to the natural law, the meaningof the body in the domain of sexuality is different from that which the Pope proposes, for according to the natural law (see the beginning of chapter 4), all that one can say of the human body in this domain is that 1) the sexual differentiation of man and woman is oriented towards sexual union; and 2) this sexual union has as its natural outcome the procreation of children.

In regard to the first fact, we have no evidence on the level of the body, that is to say on the purely natural level, that this act of union is characterized by giving, or by taking, or by both. In regard to the second fact, we note that the Theology of the Body, like the Personalism of which it is a part, in its insistence on the subjective realm: on the secondary and intermediate end of sexuality and marriage, which is love, neglects the objective realm: the primary and final end of sexuality and marriage, which is procreation.

As for the Pope’s assertion that the nuptial meaning of the body forms the basis both for marriage and for a life of perfect chastity, it must be said that if, as we have denied, the body expressed the orientation towards total self-giving love, it would not be on the basis of this fact about the body that man undertook a life of perfect chastity, but on the basis of the total self-giving love that it expressed; and that the life of perfect chastity does not involve a love characterized by the body, but rather by the renunciation of such a love.

As for the Pope’s assertion that the nuptial meaning of the body will be experienced in Heaven, we recall that the conjugal union is a sign of Christ’s union with His Church in virtue of the intimacy, benevolence, and holiness of marital love, and not in virtue of bodily union; indeed since the act of conjugal union is ordered towards procreation, it exists only for this world and not for the other, for which reason ‘in the Resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married, but they will be as the angels of God in Heaven.’

(Mt. 22.30.)
Finally, the suggestion that Theology of the Body in general, or the nuptial meaning of the body in particular, somehow reveals or constitutes the meaning of life, we reply as we have done in regard to perfect chastity above, that, even if, as we have denied, the body expressed an orientation towards total self-giving love, what reveals or constitutes the meaning of life is not the Theology of the Body, the nuptial meaning of the body, or indeed anything essentially connected to the body, but rather total self-giving love itself.

Bible Readings Easter Monday

Acts 10:37-43
In those days, Peter standing in the midst of the people, said: Men, brethren, you know the word which hath been published through all Judea; for it began from Galilee. after the baptism which John preached, Jesus of Nazareth; how God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things that He did in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; Whom they killed, hanging Him upon a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and gave Him to be made manifest, not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God; even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He arose again from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He Who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead. To Him all the prophets gave testimony, that by His name all receive remission of sins who believe in Him.Velazques Emmaus
Lk. 24:13-35
At that time, two of the disciples of Jesus went that same day to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus Himself also, drawing near, went with them. But their eyes were held that they should not know Him. And He said to them; “What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad?” And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to Him: Art Thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? To whom He said:”What things?” And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, Who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; and how our chief priests and princes delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we hoped that it was He that should have re-deemed Israel: and now, be-sides all this, to-day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who, before it was light, were at the sepulchre, and, not finding His body, came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that He is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but Him they found not. Then He said to them: “O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory?” And, beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things that were concerning Him. And they drew nigh to the town whither they were going; and He made as though He would go farther. But they constrained Him, saying: Stay with us, because it is toward evening, and the day is now far spent. And He went in with them. And it came to pass, whilst He was at table with them, He took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave to them; and their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other, Was not our heart burning within us whilst He spoke in the way, and opened to us the Scriptures? And, rising up the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem, and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were with them, saying, the Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how they knew Him in the breaking of bread.

Shroud Of Turin Proves Jesus’ Resurrection

Mandylion=Shroud It is a miracle to have the Shroud of Turin showing Jesus’ wounded body that leaves its impression on the Shroud as Jesus Rises from the Dead.Turinshroud4_2175986c

This name is primarily given to a relic now preserved at Turin, for which the claim is made that it is the actual “clean linen cloth” in which Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body of Jesus Christ (Matthew 27:59). This relic, though blackened by age, bears the faint but distinct impress of a human form both back and front. The cloth is about 13 1/2 feet long and 4 1/4 feet wide. If the marks we perceive were caused by human body, it is clear that the body (supine) was laid lengthwise along one half of the shroud while the other half was doubled back over the head to cover the whole front of the body from the face to the feet. The arrangement is well illustrated in the miniature of Giulio Clovio, which also gives a good representation of what was seen upon the shroud about the year 1540.

Full-length negative photograph of the Shroud of Turin.

The cloth now at Turin can be clearly traced back to the Lirey in the Diocese of Troyes, where we first hear of it about the year 1360. In 1453 it was at Chambéry in Savoy, and there in 1532 it narrowly escaped being consumed by a fire which by charring the corners of the folds has left a uniform series of marks on either side of the image. Since 1578 it has remained at Turin where it is now only exposed for veneration at long intervals.


That the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin is taken for granted, in various pronouncements of the Holy See cannot be disputed. An Office and Mass “de Sancta Sindone” was formerly approved by Julius II in the Bull “Romanus Pontifex” of 25 April, 1506, in the course of which the Pope speaks of “that most famous Shroud (proeclarissima sindone) in which our Savior was wrapped when he lay in the tomb and which is now honorably and devoutly preserved in a silver casket.” Moreover, the same Pontiff speaks of the treaties upon the precious blood. Composed by his predecessor, Sixtus IV, in which Sixtus states that in the Shroud “men may look upon the true blood and portrait of Jesus Christ himself.” A certain difficulty was caused by the existence elsewhere of other Shrouds similarly impressed with the figure of Jesus Christ and some of these cloths, notably those of Besançon, Cadouin, Champiègne, Xabregas, etc., also claimed to be the authentic linen sindon provided by Joseph of Arimathea, but until the close of the last century no great attack was made upon the genuineness of the Turin relic. In 1898 when the Shroud was solemnly exposed, permission was given to photograph it and a sensation was caused by the discovery that the image upon the linen was apparently a negative — in other words that the photographic negative taken from this offered a more recognizable picture of a human face than the cloth itself or any positive print. In the photographic negative, the lights and the shadows were natural, in the linen or the print, they were inverted. Three years afterwards, Dr. Paul Vignon read a remarkable paper before the Académie des Sciences in which he maintained that the impression upon the Shroud was a “vaporigraph” caused by the ammoniacal emanations radiating from the surface of Christ’s body after so violent a death. Such vapours, as he professed to have proved experimentally, were capable of producing a deep reddish brown stain, varying in intensity with the distance, upon a cloth impregnated with oil and aloes. The image upon the Shroud was therefore a natural negative and as such completely beyond the comprehension or the skill of any medieval forger.



Plausible as this contention appeared, a most serious historical difficulty had meanwhile been brought to light. Owing mainly to the researches of Canon Ulysse Chevalier a series of documents was discovered which clearly proved that in 1389 the Bishop of Troyes appealed to Clement VII, the Avignon Pope then recognized in France, to put a stop to the scandals connected to the Shroud preserved at Lirey. It was, the Bishop declared, the work of an artist who some years before had confessed to having painted it but it was then being exhibited by the Canons of Lirey in such a way that the populace believed that it was the authentic shroud of Jesus Christ. The pope, without absolutely prohibiting the exhibition of the Shroud, decided after full examination that in the future when it was shown to the people, the priest should declare in a loud voice that it was not the real shroud of Christ, but only a picture made to represent it. The authenticity of the documents connected with this appeal is not disputed. Moreover, the grave suspicion thus thrown upon the relic is immensely strengthened by the fact that no intelligible account, beyond wild conjecture, can be given of the previous history of the Shroud or its coming to Lirey.

An animated controversy followed and it must be admitted that though the immense preponderance of opinion among learned Catholics (see the statement by P.M. Baumgarten in the “Historiches Jarbuch”, 1903, pp. 319-43) was adverse to the authenticity of the relic, still the violence of many of its assailants prejudiced their own cause. In particular the suggestion made of blundering or bad faith on the part of those who photographed were quite without excuse. From the scientific point of view, however, the difficulty of the “negative” impression on the cloth is not so serious as it seems. This Shroud like the others was probably painted without fraudulent intent to aid the dramatic setting of the Easter sequence:

Die nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via
Angelicos testes, sudarium et vestes.

turin3_2175951bAs the word sudarium suggested, it was painted to represent the impression made by the sweat of Christ, i.e. probably in a yellowish tint upon unbrilliant red. This yellow stain would turn brown in the course of centuries, the darkening process being aided by the effects of fire and sun. Thus, the lights of the original picture would become the shadow of Paleotto’s reproduction of the images on the shroud is printed in two colours, pale yellow and red. As for the good proportions and æsthetic effect, two things may be noted. First, that it is highly probable that the artist used a model to determine the length and position of the limbs, etc.; the representation no doubt was made exactly life size. Secondly, the impressions are only known to us in photographs so reduced, as compared with the original, that the crudenesses, aided by the softening effects of time, entirely disappear.

Lastly, the difficulty must be noticed that while the witnesses of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries speak of the image as being then so vivid that the blood seemed freshly shed, it is now darkened and hardly recognizable without minute attention. On the supposition that this is an authentic relic dating from the year A.D. 30, why should it have retained its brilliance through countless journeys and changes of climate for fifteen centuries, and then in four centuries more have become almost invisible? On the other hand if it be a fabrication of the fifteenth century this is exactly what we should expect.  1914 Catholic Encyclopedia