At first the scientific community came down on Brendan Whiting with zeal, some more aggressively than others. However, as the dust began settling, it became ever more apparent that his premise was factually supported and gaining wide acceptance. One by one, these chemists, researchers, scientists and Shroud scholars who originally responded with cynicism, backed down. Reminiscent of the events of the Mars Polar Lander, when NASA realized they lost a $125 million orbiter because a Lockheed Martin engineering team used English units of measurement while the agency's team used the metric system for a key spacecraft operation. Shroud scientists realized they were trying to date a model "T" from a sample obtained from a recently replaced tire. Fortunately, 8 years later NASA had a successful touchdown with the Mars Phoenix Lander, making riveting discoveries including a huge cache of water ice. Unfortunately, NASA may have scientific colonies on Mars long before the Vatican permits scientists to examine the Shroud again, particularly after enduring the numerous headlines touting the Shroud as a fraud.
Ian Wilson, one of Brendan Whiting’s colleagues, chose to discredit the entire contents of Whiting’s book primarily for including correlating information from a renowned Visionary, as well as the proposed evidence supporting the re-weaving discovery. (1).
Most of Wilson's diatribe hypocritically insults Whiting for mentioning a popular Catholic Visionary (Maria Valtorta) in his landmark book "The Shroud Story", notwithstanding Wilson's own literature on clandestine occult topics such as: "Worlds Beyond: From the Files of the Society for Psychical Research", "The After Death Experience: The Physics of the Non-Physical", "Superself: The Hidden Powers Within Us", "In Search of Ghosts", "Life after Death: The Evidence" and "Nostradamus: The Man Behind the Prophecies". The unprecedented severity and derisive tone of Wilson's censure was unethical as well as unprofessional. Notwithstanding that many Roman Catholic Church devotions, teachings and traditions are based on information obtained through prominent visionaries, such as; The Assumption, Coronation, Divine Mercy, Miraculous Medal, Rosary, Scapular, etc. Critics like Wilson do more damage to their own credibility when they regress to utilizing words like: "hole in the head", "utterly flaky", "absurd", "fantasy-land", "ramblings", "shallow", "pure blarney" and "informational disgrace". "The "The Shroud Story" was launched in September, 2006 in the New South Wales State of Parliament house where the Minister of Commerce, John Della Bosca, described it as a 'very balanced, very thoughtful and very spiritual presentation of what are critical scholarly issues" (2).
Regrettably, some researchers rigorously espouse an indivisible distinction between science and religion. Whiting was a true believer who held that science does not mandate a Karl Marx atheistic approach. Researchers like Whiting possess an inherent supernatural inclination that the Shroud of Turin must be the true burial cloth of Jesus. This spiritual partiality is what inspires Pius researchers to seek supplementary clues, particularly as to why the carbon dating might be erroneous. We read in Matthew 7:7: "Seek and ye shall find". Scientist who consider God and Spirituality erroneous lack innate inspiration to peer further, this lack of passion is what truly inhibits additional examination as well as further investigation. Confident of their results, they proceed down convoluted avenues, such as considering the Shroud to be the world’s first fabric photograph of a carefully prepared cadaver, orchestrated by Leonardo da Vinci (3).
In defending himself, Whiting points out Wilson’s past disdain for the value of Catholic Visionaries’, "In his latest book he criticized Mel Gibson for relying on the writings of the visionary nun, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, for some scenes in the film ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Her inspired, interior locutions Wilson derided as "lurid, hyperimaginative fantasies typical of the type of personality psychologists define as hysteric". Pope John Paul II judged differently when on 3 October 2004 he declared Emmerich as ‘Blessed’ (the last step before being made a saint)" (11).
In place of concentrating on evidence and facts concerning the Shroud, Wilson mainly chooses to ridicule and attack the credibility of Maria Valtorta. Fortunately, there is a lot more credibility to Valtorta than Wilson could possibly imagine. Wilson begins by contesting Pope Pius XII’s approval. Notwithstanding that Valtorta’s writings were presented to Pope Pius XII on April 3rd 1947, Who examined them for eleven months. His Holiness then summoned Maria Valtorta's Spiritual Director Father Romualdo Migliorini to a special meeting in 1948, in which He ordered the publishing before three Priests: Fr. Romualdo M. Migliorini (Prefect Apostle in Africa), and two Priest witness who Fr. Migliorini brought with him: Fr. Corrado Berti (Professor of Dogmatic and Sacramental Theology at the Pontifical "Marianum" Theological Faculty of Rome from 1939 onward, later becoming Secretary of the Faculty from 1950 to 1959, as well as consultant to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council) and Fr. Andrew M. Cecchin (Prior of the International College of the Servites of Mary in Rome. These aforementioned Priests documented this event immediately afterwards with signed testimony. Berti’s signed testimony is available online, Migliorini’s and Cecchin’s are displayed at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Florence were Valtorta is buried behind the Altar (12, 13).
The fact that the Pope did grant this audience was historically documented the next day, February 27, 1948 in L’Osservatore Romano. One of the Priests involved pleaded with Vatican residing Cardinal Edouard Gagnon to find and interpret the original minutes from the 1948 Papal meeting written by the Vatican Recording Cardinal who accompanied Pope Pius XII. Shortly afterwards, Cardinal Gagnon wrote from the Vatican that Pope Pius XII's action was: "The kind of official Imprimatur granted before witnesses by the Holy Father in 1948. An "Official Imprimatur" of the Supreme Authority of the Church" (14). Cardinal Edouard Gagnon served as the Peritus during the second Vatican Council (the Expert Theologian Advisor and Consultant), he earned a Doctorate in Theology and taught Canon law for ten years at the Grand Seminary. The Code of Canon Law - Book II, Part II, Section I, Chapter I, Article I - gives the Pope full and supreme power over all levels of the Church and free use to exercise this power (15). The Papal order came first. Canon law prohibits this Papal order from being reversed by subordinate levels of Church authority. Canon law clearly requires that this Papal order be embraced with unconditional acceptance and submission.
Wilson’s diatribe cites that Maria Valtorta’s writings were placed on the Index of Forbidden books in 1959. Saint Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy writings were placed on the Index the very same day as Valtorta’s, therefore demonstrating that the Index of Forbidden Books was erroneous. "In 1959, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani at the Holy Office included her works on a list he submitted to the newly elected Pope John XXIII. The Pope signed the decree that placed her work on the Index of Forbidden Books" (16). Wilson fails to mention that the Index was abolished in 1966 by Pope Paul VI, which liberated the Poem from ecclesiastical restriction. The same Pope who endorsed "The Virgin Mary In The Writings of Maria Valtorta" by Renowned Mariologist Father Gabriel Roschini (17) A copy of the endorsement is posted in the inside cover of the book, complete with Vatican Seal. When Pope Paul VI was Archbishop of Milan, after evaluating Maria Valtorta's writings, ordered her entire works to be sent to the Milan Seminary library (18).
Wilson states that Valtorta’s writings were placed on the Index by Pope John XXIII, this is not entirely incorrect. The writings were placed on the Index by the Head of the Holy Office, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, who was incensed at being bypassed in the approval process. Valtorta’s advocates bypassed Ottaviani and went straight to Pope Pius XII, at the recommendation of the Pope's confessor, Cardinal Augustin Bea (19). Bea was aware that Ottaviani attempted unsuccessfully to gain Pope Pius XII’s signature for the condemnation of Sister Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy writings. Ottaviani resigned to waiting for Pope Pius XII’s death and presented the condemnations to Pope John XXIII for signature as he took Office (20). Wilson also writes "Simultaneously an article in the Vatican Newspaper L'Osservatore Romano condemned it as ‘A Badly Fictionalized Life of Jesus." He fails to mention that the article was unsigned and purportedly written by Ottaviani himself (21). It is heartbreaking how a Vatican Newspaper can condemn such a wonderful gift of God and praise the witchcraft of Harry Potter (22).
Examining what Wilson cites as "utterly flaky data", we find that Maria Valtorta keeps perfect track of Jesus, Mary and over 500 additional personalities. None of which are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesus is appropriately in Jerusalem and Judea for Passover and Pentecost in all four spring seasons, and at the Tabernacles in all three fall seasons of His ministry. Jesus traverses the land of Palestine from one end to another in at least six cycles (some 4,000 miles), ministering in some 350 named locations, including places in Palestine known only to specialized archaeologists.
The 15,000 pages of Divine Revelation were given by our Lord in completely random succession. Maria records the visions in simple bound school note books in which the pages were sealed in position, with no corrections, in the random order as they were given. On the surface, the complete work appeared as a well-shuffled deck of cards. Towards the end, Jesus provides the proper sequence, the key, which could not be realized until the mammoth task of typing the manuscript was completed, allowing the individual pages to be sequenced in the specified succession. When finally placed in the correct progression, the puzzle materializes into a seamless perfect flowing chronology (23). Keep in mind that Maria Valtorta was a Carmelite who spent the last 27 years of her life, unable to get out of a sick-bed, writing nearly 15,000 pages (11,000 - Poem) in less than 5 years. She only had a Bible and the Catechism of Saint Pius X. Whenever she was checked on, she was alone, sitting up in her sick bed writing in a supernatural bliss.
Geologist and Mineralogist Dr. Vittorio Tredici points out how Maria Valtorta described and correctly named several towns and villages that were not even discovered until after her death. David J. Webster posted a landmark 31 page article that fundamentally proves the authenticity of Maria Valtorta's writings. The "Poem of the Man-God" may be the very first Private Revelation ever to be scientifically proven genuine. David meticulously and methodically examines Maria Valtorta’s strikingly accurate descriptions of first Century Palestine for every piece of topographical evidence. He then compares this evidence with currently known facts that are only now being proven authentic. "Over thirty percent or 79 (all entries marked with * and **) of the 255 geographical sites in Palestine mentioned in the Poem were not listed in the 1939 International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) Atlas. 62 (all**) of these 79 were not even listed in the 184 page Macmillan Bible Atlas (MBA) published in 1968. [Maria Valtorta died in 1961] Where did Maria Valtorta get all these names? For a first century eye-witness to include so many obscure and unknown names would, of course, be expected. And most surprising is that these names, obscure and unknown in the 1940’s, are only now being proven authentic. 52 of these 62 have no biblical reference whatever, and 17 of these with no biblical reference have been either indirectly confirmed as authentic by recent "ancient external sources" found in the Macmillan Bible Atlas (1968) or actually listed in the HarperCollins Atlas of the Bible (1989). This makes a total of 29 confirmations since the 1939 ISBE atlas listing. Also among those 62 sites are mentioned the ruins of 6 ancient Palestinian cities some corresponding to the modern consensus on location. In addition, Valtorta’s precise descriptions of the natural topography of Palestine from numerous locations and the information about the outside pagan world of that day, including people, places, customs, Greek and Roman mythology, related in the conversations of that day, are strikingly correct (24)."
Astronomical details in Maria Valtorta's writings have been proven strikingly accurate. Harvard educated Theoretical Physicist Lonnie Lee VanZandt upon reading "The Poem of the Man-God" observed that in March of year 0033 Valtorta recorded in one of her visions seeing Jupiter, Mars, Venus and "stars of Orion: of Rigil and Betelgeuse, of Aldebaran, of Perseus, Andromeda & Cassiopeia and the Pleiades" along with a waning moon in the night sky. Using a complex Astronomical computer program, Professor VanZandt conducted a stellar excursion into the distant past and discovered that this was only possible for two days in March of 0033. This astronomical scenario doesn't occur for many decades (before and after) those two days in March, 0033. Moreover, VanZandt uncovered several other similar astronomical conformations. It would have been unfeasible for anyone in the 1940's to be capable of determining these astronomical alignments. These impossibly exact details "tax the credulity of even the immovable atheist more than the alternative that Jesus showed it to Valtorta. In the words of Sherlock Holmes, when you eliminated the impossible, that which remains, however merely improbable, must be true" (Theoretical Physicist Professor Lonnie Lee VanZandt 25).
"Blessed Gabriel Allegra was the only Scripture Scholar Beatified by Pope John Paul II. His Eminence was well aware that Father Gabriel Allegra was most noted for being an outspoken supporter of Maria Valtorta’s writings. Quite possibly another indirect Papal endorsement of Pope John Paul II. Please take the time to read the links below to Blessed Gabriel Allegra's Critique of Maria Valtorta's works. These authoritative endorsements by a Beatified Scripture Scholar cannot be easily disregarded (26, 27).
Ian Wilson's discourse continues on to argue how two unnamed textile professionals who refute the re-weave theory are more qualified then Dr. Raymond Rogers. If Whiting rests his entire case on these two fabric specialists, wouldn't it be prudent to mention who and what their qualifications are? Unless they happen to be his tailors or the people who do his dry cleaning. Dr. Raymond Rogers is a leading expert in thermal analysis and renowned for his work on the Shroud of Turin (28). Dr. Rogers was the Director of Chemical Research for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) and applied thermal methods to ascertain material properties of the Shroud. His researched data relevant to the dating of the Shroud and his findings were published in Thermochimica Acta. Dr. Rogers participated in discussions with the Shroud Science Group consisting of about a hundred archeologists, historians and scientists. Most rational people would consider Dr. Rogers more of an authority on Dating of the Shroud of Turin than two unknown textile professionals.
"Rogers' continual study of the Shroud resulted from a 2000 study by Joseph Marino and Sue Benford, based on x-ray analysis of the sample sites, shows a probable seam from a repair attempt running diagonally through the area from which the sample was taken. These researchers conclude that the samples tested by the three labs were more or less contaminated by this repair attempt. They further note that the results of the three labs show an angular skewing corresponding to the diagonal seam: the first sample in Arizona dated to 1238, the second to 1430, with the Oxford and Swiss results falling in between. They add that the variance of the C-14 results of the three labs falls outside the bounds of the Pearson's chi-square test, so that some additional explanation should be sought for the discrepancy. The claims by Marino and Benford on the lack of statistical consistency of the results of the 1988 radiocarbon test were in contrast with the conclusions of J.A. Christen, who, in 1994, claimed to have applied a "robust approach" to the radiocarbon data and concluded that the given age for the Shroud was correct, from a statistical point of view.
When Rogers saw the paper by Marino and Benford, his reaction was that they were not scientists, their theory was ridiculous, and that he still had fiber samples he had taken from the Shroud that could disprove their theory. Upon examining the fibers under a microscope, however, he concluded that, as they had hypothesized, a cotton patch had been woven into the linen fibers and then dyed to match the color of the linen. This was possible because linen is strongly resistant to dyes but cotton is not. Rogers claimed that the repair had gone undetected because it was expertly done, there was no record of it, none of the STURP team were textile experts, and the area had not previously been a major focus of any major Shroud researchers' attention because it was outside the image area.
Rogers claimed that under the microscope he could see the undyed linen fibers, the cotton fibers and the dye on the cotton fibers. Because he knew he had terminal cancer he contacted his friend and fellow STURP researcher Barrie Schwortz to record interviews, etc. He also sent some of the fibers to a research lab for independent examination. When they were preparing samples, in one case they accidentally pulled apart the cotton and linen sections of one fiber. Schwortz re-examined false color x-ray fluorescent photographs of the Shroud taken by STURP and pointed out that the sample for radiocarbon dating was taken from the only section that showed up green, indicating it had different chemical properties from the rest of the Shroud, but no one had previously paid attention to the color difference because the green portion is from a section that does not contain part of the image. In December 2008 the Discovery Channel in the United States presented a documentary titled Unwrapping the Shroud: New Evidence containing a detailed explanation of the repair and footage of Schwortz and of Rogers discussing their new findings. A few months before his death Rogers, submitted an article describing his findings to a peer-reviewed journal and it was published less than two months before Raymond Rogers died. The essential conclusion of the article is that the radiocarbon dating was accurate, but because the samples were from cloth that was not part of the original Shroud, they are irrelevant regarding the age of the image area" (29).
In conclusion, it almost seems that Ian Wilson has some personal agenda against the re-weave findings and targeted both Brendan Whiting and Dr. Raymond Rogers as easy targets, since both were in critically ill health and vulnerable, particularly in effectively defending themselves.