The piece of linen which many people believe to be the winding-sheet in which Jesus was wrapped by Joseph of Arimathea before his burial is to be shown on Italian television on Friday, November 23.
Usually called the Holy' Shroud, and the property of the Royal House of Savoy, it is preserved in the Royal Chapel behind the High Altar of Turin Cathedral. It is not normally exhibited, but at times over the centuries it has been exhibited for public veneration. The last occasion was in 1933.
Reports that the Shroud would shortly be pronounced by the Church's official Commission on the Shroud as authentic were not borne out by Mgr. Jose Cottino, the official press officer appointed by Cardinal Pellegrino, Archbishop of Turin. Mgr. Cottino said: "The Commission is very far trom making a decision. It is not in a hurry. It is not the job of the Church to say 'Yes or 'No' about the historical authenticity of the Shroud. It is the job of the scientist and the historian. Any statement would still leave people free to accept or reject the Shroud."
Explaining the decision to allow 'the Italian State Television Service to show the Shroud on television, Mgr. Cottino said in an article in the Turin journal Voice of the People on October 14: "Exactly 40 years have elapsed since the last public viewing of the Shroud, which took place in Turin Cathedral during the Holy Year of 1933. "Requests have been made both in Italy and abroad for another public display. We began to give more and more thought to the idea that in modern times the Shroud could be viewed on television, so that millions and millions of people could see it.
Cardinal Pellegrino had obtained complete approval from Pope Paul before giving permission to show the Shroud on television, said Mgr. Cottino. He added: "The Holy Father showed the keenest interest whenever this particular subject was mentioned. There were no difficulties: the Royal House of Savoy and the Italian authorities gave their consent most willingly."
There will be a special article about the Holy Shroud in next week's issue.