During a visit to the Shroud in the northern Italian city of Turin, Benedict didn’t raise the scientific questions that surround the linen and whether it might be a medieval forgery. Instead, he delivered a powerful meditation on the faith that holds that the Shroud is indeed Christ’s burial cloth.
“This is a burial cloth that wrapped the remains of a crucified man in full correspondence with what the Gospels tell us of Jesus,” Benedict said. He said the relic — one of the most important in Christianity — should be seen as a photographic document of the “darkest mystery of faith” — that of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
The 14-foot-long, 3.5-foot-wide (4.3-meter-long, 1 meter-wide) cloth has gone on public display for the first time since the 2000 Millennium celebrations and a subsequent 2002 restoration. Kept in a bulletproof, climate-controlled case in Turin’s cathedral, it has drawn nearly 2 million reservations from pilgrims and tourists eager to spend three to five minutes viewing it.