Expert on Shroud of Turin talks about ‘Shroud Encounter’

| February 24, 2012 | 5 Comments

Russ Breault

Russ Breault will unravel the mystery of the Shroud of Turin with four multimedia presentations in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Two presentations are open to families: 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, at Providence Academy, 15100 Schmidt Lake Road, Plymouth; and 9-10 a.m. Thursday, March 1, at Holy Family Catholic Church, 5900 W. Lake St., St. Louis Park, after morning Mass. Two presentations are for fathers and sons, only: 7-9 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Ss. Peter and Paul in Loretto; and 7-9 p.m. Friday, March 2, at St. Michael in St. Michael.

Breault answered the following questions for The Catholic Spirit.

I read that you have been researching and lecturing on the Shroud of Turin for more than 25 years, what is your educational background? Are you a scientist, scholar or what are your qualifications to speak about the shroud?

I have been intrigued with the shroud ever since I learned that a team of scientists was going to analyze it in 1978. As a student, I was a writer for the college newspaper so I spent several months preparing for an article series that ran in the fall of 1980. That same summer, National Geographic published a major story on it. I called several scientists for quotes and by the time the articles went to press I was hooked. In 1981, I gave over 60 lectures at churches all around the southeast. Since that time I have participated in nearly every international conference on the subject.

What part did you play, specifically, in the research symposiums and public exhibitions of the Shroud of Turin?

I am incorporated as The Shroud of Turin Education Project, Inc. with the following mission statement: “To advance the knowledge of the shroud to a new generation.” My work with symposiums is always related to education initiatives. As such, my primary focus is on colleges and universities.

Is there any new research that has been done or will soon be published about the shroud?

The most recent research is very interesting. A group of Italian scientists have been experimenting with ultraviolet lasers. The essence of the research is that for years, many researchers have speculated that the image may be the result of some radiant energy mechanism. However all attempts to replicate the image using heat, light or radiation had failed.  One of the key attributes of the image is its extreme superficiality. It penetrates the surface of the cloth to the depth of a single bacterium. It does not penetrate the cloth. Shave the surface of the cloth with a razor blade and the image would disappear. It also has a unique sepia coloration resembling a scorch. What the Italian scientists were able to do is replicate both the depth and coloration of the image using lasers. This is the first successful attempt to replicate any aspect of the image using light. For those who believe the shroud to be authentic, this is significant. A scriptural analysis of the Resurrection would indicate light was somehow involved as suggested by the Transfiguration on the Mount account.

What are audiences most fascinated with during your presentations?

A subtitle of “Shroud Encounter” is “CSI Jerusalem: The case of the missing body.” The audience is intrigued as the mystery is peeled back layer by layer. There are many “ah ha” moments throughout. It is a roller coaster ride of mystery and intrigue, of science and history, of insight and inspiration. Using nearly 200 images, it is a high-speed journey they will not soon forget.

Tell me about the images that you use during your presentations. Where are they from? What do they prove about Christ?

The images used are from a variety of sources but many are from the Shroud of Turin Research Project, Inc — the scientific investigation conducted in 1978. I don’t attempt to prove anything related to the shroud but rather to reveal key scientific and historic facts and see where they lead. I make no effort to prove the shroud to be authentic. My position is that it could be. What evidence is there that may suggest that possibility?

Why should people in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis attend your presentation?

“Shroud Encounter” is a fast-moving big screen experience that explores one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the world. We are still looking for Noah’s Ark and the Ark of the Covenant, yet the greatest of all archaeological treasures may be lying in a small cathedral in northern Italy, today, covered up not with dirt and debris or snow and ice; but covered with controversy and confusion. Is it or isn’t it? Perhaps one day we will know for sure, until then, let’s explore the mystery and see where it leads . . . it may lead right to the sacred heart of Jesus.

Why are some of the presentations for just fathers and sons?

“Shroud Encounter” is being sponsored by Catholic Man Night, a local men’s ministry with a goal of advancing the New Evangelization to the community and to men in particular. Men are more likely than women to fall away from the church for a variety of reasons. The goal is to make Christ and the church relevant and real to fathers and sons. “Shroud Encounter” is a wonderful way of revealing the reality of what Jesus suffered on our behalf and the power of his resurrection, which is the foundation of our faith.

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