Group Says Shroud's Pollen is Middle Eastern

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 15—A group of Israeli scientists has concluded that plant imprints and pollen found on the Shroud of Turin — revered by many as Jesus’ burial shroud — support the premise that it originated in the Holy Land, said the AP.

The linen, brought to France by a 14th-century crusader and enshrined since 1578 in the cathedral of Turin, Italy, bears a faint yellowish front and back image of a man with thorn marks on the head, lacerations on the back and bruises on the shoulders. A number of imprints of plants surround the figure.

Traces of pollen taken from the shroud are from plants found in Israel and neighboring countries, including the bean caper and the tumbleweed appearing on the shroud, Uri Baruch, an expert on pollen at the Israel Antiquities Authority, was quoted saying.

AP reported Baruch refused to discuss the authenticity of the shroud, but said the findings of the Israeli scientists show that it was probably from the Holy Land.

Skeptics have used carbon dating to claim that the linen postdates the crucifixion by more than a thousand years — to the 13th or 14th centuries — while others say that carbon tests have sometimes been proven to be inaccurate, and that the testing of the shroud may have been contaminated.

British Magazine ‘Overstepped the Mark’

SELECT MUSIC AND BEYOND, July—The editor of the glossy British music magazine apologized for a cover photo featuring a singer in a mock pose of sanctity, including the stigmata.

Select, edited by Catholic-educated John Harris, pictured Gay Dad lead singer Cliff Jones with a halo and stigmata on his palms on the front page, several times inside the magazine, and on billboards around Britain.

The whole band is also pictured with loaves and fishes, and Harris admitted that the editorial staff had also attempted to depict the band members turning water into wine — a shot that the photographer was not able to pull off.

Harris said in the article, “We did not mean to shock and insult people with these pictures, but we have obviously overstepped the mark.”

The good news to come out of episode is that England's Christians are no longer standing by for the casual, often blasphemous, use of Christian imagery in advertising. Harris reported that in the first week of the current edition, the magazine received 10 times more complaints than ever before.

Another Miracle for Padre Pio

THE UNIVERSE, June 13—Another venerated figure of the 20th century on a rather speedy track to sainthood is the recently beatified Padre Pio.

His cause may have been aided by a 73-year-old Neapolitan man, paralyzed following a stroke, who claims to have been miraculously cured earlier this month thanks to the intervention of Padre Pio.

Antonio Trabucco's doctors were said to be “astounded” by the rapid cure, which is almost unheard of in elderly victims of a severe stroke, according to the British Catholic weekly.

The newspaper reported Trabucco's account of the miracle: “Padre Pio appeared to me at 3 a.m. and asked me, ‘What are you doing here?’ Then he told me to get up and walk! I got up and began to walk. All the time I heard the voice saying, ‘You must walk.’ So I walked … the whole night long.”

Padre Pio, an Italian Capuchin priest who bore the stigmata and was known for his ability to read souls, was credited with many miracles in his lifetime and with one, officially, since his death, which was necessary for beatification. Canonization as a saint requires an additional miracle — which Pio's many supporters hope may have been supplied by the event in Naples.