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Private revelations and Shroud of Turin

In several conferences this year as well as in social networking groups, I have been asked how to reconcile contradictions between the Shroud and various private revelations, especially those of Ana Catherina Emerick and Maria Valtorta. I am struck by the fact that many people put these revelations on the same level as the revelation of the Gospels. Moreover, they use them as an argument to admit or reject the authenticity or not of the Shroud (if it wrapped Jesus of Nazareth or not).

When searching for these revelations on the Internet, I have been amazed to see a considerable number of pages that extol them as a revealed truth (in some cases even above the Gospel) and consider them as an authentic dogma of faith.

I am not going to assess whether these revelations are authentic or not. It is not up to me but to the Church to make this discernment. But it is necessary to clarify some concepts on this subject:

-God's revelation was fully realized in Jesus Christ and God does not need to "edit" annexes by means of mystical revelations.

-Such revelations are never dogma of faith and, therefore, do not oblige any Christian to accept them, regardless of whether or not they are authentic.

-A private revelation only binds the one who has it, and it will be a life of holiness that will reveal the origin of these revelations.

-It is necessary to be very prudent when they enter into many details and give many novelties. And refer to the judgment of the Church.

-They can in no way contradict divine revelation, nor can they complete it, much less correct it. Their function will be to be an aid to the faith. They are a valid help to live the Gospel better, but they do not oblige anyone.

-St. John of the Cross tells us: "For in giving us, as he gave us his Son, who is his Word, who has no other, he spoke to us all things together and at once in this one Word.... For what He spoke before in parts to the prophets He has now spoken to Him all, giving us the whole, which is His Son. Therefore, whoever now wishes to ask God, or desires any vision or revelation, would not only be foolish, but would do wrong to God, not setting his eyes wholly on Christ, not desiring anything else or anything new" (Ascent of Mount Carmel, II, 22)".

What about the stigmata on the palms of the hands and other points related to the Passion that we now know historically happened differently? God is Master and, as such, He adapts Himself to us. When we approach the Old Testament, we discover a God who teaches, helping man to walk step by step, opening his mind and heart, with much patience and love, to receive the culmination of his revelation: Jesus Christ. And he adapts himself to the mental categories of man, as a primary school teacher does with his youngest pupils.

Would a stigma on the wrist and not on the palm be a sign of God for St. Francis? No, because he had no way of understanding the wound in another place. Would someone from centuries ago understand the crown as a helmet instead of a diadem as we all have in our minds? Or the cross only as the patibulum? ...And the same happens with so many "historical and scientific errors" that we find in private revelations. We even find contradictions among them in geographical, scientific or historical matters.

That the Shroud does not adapt to the mentalities and knowledge of any particular historical epoch is the best sign of its authenticity. That the man of the Shroud and his blood is of an astonishing perfection makes us realize that it could not have been made by anyone in a concrete epoch...because it does not adapt to any and it is present in all.

That, from the scientific point of view, the Shroud contradicts many of these revelations is a clear proof of its authenticity. It does not adapt to any human mental category. It is simply a bewildering image, a scientific impossibility from the human point of view.

The Shroud is simply there. It is a silent witness of history. Perhaps the most important, surprising, puzzling and fundamental moment in history.

Happy Easter

Ignacio Huertas Puerta, CESAN delegate.

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