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Shroud of Turin

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Definition:   A linen cloth that appears to bear an image of a crucified man. Many believe that the shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus. In 1988 a piece of the shroud was scientifically tested, and the cloth was dated to around 1300 AD. However, some believe that the testing did not take into account repairs that may have been made to the shroud around that time. The Catholic Church has not made an official pronouncement concerning the relic. Around 1940, Sister Maria Pierina was instructed by Jesus and Mary to make a medal based on the image on the shroud. She was also told that a feast day should be celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday each year. In 1958, Pope Pius XII approved the devotion of the image on the cloth as the Holy Face of Jesus, and appointed the requested feast day based on the vision seen by the nun.

DiscussionThe shroud is an appropriate analogy for the poor Catholic. Instead of allowing direct access to Jesus, the Catholic Church places multiple mediators to effectively “enshroud” the Savior from their sight. Instead of promoting the worship of God in spirit and truth (Jn. 4:24), Catholicism promotes absurd devotions to relics. Christians are to have nothing to do with worldly fables and old wives tales (1 Tim. 4:7).

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