Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Shroud of Turin and evolution

Umm, right, so Pope Benedict XVI, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, has spoken out in "favor" of the Shroud of Turin, basically saying that it is authentic, that it really is the shroud in which Jesus was wrapped after His crucifixion. 
From here:
Benedict focused in his meditation on the message that the blood stains conveyed, saying the Shroud was "an icon written in blood; the blood of a man who was whipped, crowned with thorns, crucified and injured on his right side.
"The image on the Shroud is that of a dead man, but the blood speaks of his life. Each trace of blood speaks of love and life," Benedict said.
The Vatican to date had tiptoed around the issue of just what the Shroud of Turin is, calling it a powerful symbol of Christ's suffering while making no claim to its authenticity.
 I have two thoughts on this incident.

1) So the Pope is more than happy to come out in support of the theory of evolution because "the scientists" think it's true, and yet when scientists present evidence using very similar methodologies (ie, radiocarbon dating) that the Shroud of Turin is actually only around 800 years old, he ignores it and leads his people in acts of piety that express dissent with the scientific opinion?
And don't try to play the "but there's debate within scientific circles on the Shroud" card.  There's plenty of debate in scientific circles about evolution as well, not to mention a ludicrous amount of logical argumentation against it.  The Pope went with the scientific "academy" then, why the inconsistency now?

2) These and other news articles are careful to say that Benedict "all but endorses its authenticity".
It is mind-boggling to me that this man would do such a disingenuous thing as to hold a "meditation" in front of this object, modeling meditation on the Cross of Christ, when there's plenty of reason to doubt that it actually is the shroud that wrapped Christ's body for a time.  Further, all the reason to doubt aside, could not the Pope make a pronouncement that it either is or isn't authentic, for sure?  Why dance around the issue?  Does it matter whether the shroud actually wrapped Christ or doesn't it?  When the Pope speaks infallibly, is he right even when the contemporary "scientific establishment" disagrees or not?
It seems very comparable to the RC practice of bowing down and performing acts of religious and worshipful piety in front of and directed toward pictures of dead people.  Outside of icons of Christ Himself and a few specifically-identified elect angels, such as Gabriel and Michael, the RC worshiper has zero guarantee that the dead person to whom he's praying is actually in Heaven.  S/He might be in Hell, or s/he might be in Purgatory.  The Magisterium could clear all that up, but chooses not to, chooses not to get involved in such trivial matters as truth in worship and spiritual meditation.
It's pathetic, really. How is this the action of a church that is the self-proclaimed "pillar and support of the truth"

(Please leave any comments at the cross-post at Beggars All.)