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February 15, 2006



It's not a huge deal, but it is an annoying and weird deal.

I mean, you'll see some reporter standing in the town square, and he'll say, "that's the city government building, check out its yadayada-style architecture, and over there's the Cathedral". So you're waiting for him to say, "Home of the famous Shroud of Turin" or maybe even "home of the famous and controversial Shroud of Turin". But no. Nothing. Nada.

The silence is eeeeerie.

Tim Ferguson

If Dan Brown had mentioned the shroud in the DaVinci Code then the reporters would be all over it.

I do suspect it's a deliberate policy - I wonder if, at some point, an internal memo will leak out to that effect.

Rich Leonardi

As for the Shroud, NBC is working on a feature, Neal added. The reason it hasn't aired yet is simple, Neal said. The network is cutting back on features to concentrate on event action. Stay tuned.

I would have traded a brief Shroud piece for the execrable profile of the flamboyant Johnny Weir last night.

"I don't consider myself a diva."

Of course you don't sweetheart.


Yes, I would love to see a thoughtful, respectful piece on the Shroud of Turin. However, this is NBC we are talking about. I do not believe this network is capable of producing such tasteful programming. Therefore, unlike the Episcopalians who embraced "The Book of Daniel" with the thought that bad publicity is better than no publicity, I prefer silence to inaccurate, sensationalized drivel.

Gerard E.

Might have to pull that piece out of the can very soon. Official Ice Princess Michelle Kwan bowed out of the games. Bode Miller- ooh, controversy, winter equivalent of Terrell Owens-was DQ'd from his event. Not enough taped yet on Emily Hughes, Ice Princess In Waiting. Of course, it might run at 12:30 A.M. EST on USA for people waiting to see reruns of Monk. So it goes.


In addition to a piece on the Shroud, the Today Show also had a piece on a thousand year old monastery church on a peak outside of town - even explaining that it was on the pilgrimage route from France and Germany to Rome. Cool story.

Patrick Kinsale

Compare to 2002, when there were lots of filler stories about Salt Lake City and the Mormon Church.

Jay Anderson

LOL, Rich! I'm with you on that one.

I think Donohue stole my quote: I know somewhere I said not mentioning the Shroud at the Turin Olympics would be like holding the Olympics in Salt Lake City and not mentioning the Mormons. (Or maybe it's just that obvious to everyone that NBC is ignoring the elephant in the room).


Bill Donohue generally irritates me to no end in his griping about civil rights, but in this case I think he is merely stating the obvious. You don't even have to be Catholic to think "Shroud" when you hear the word Turin. It's just odd that it hasn't been mentioned and/or featured, which makes it look like (somewhat deliberate) avoidance. Not a big deal of course, but strange.

I did see a bit on the Daily Show last week in which one of their fake reporters was wearing a long smudged white scarf which he said was "vintage." When host Jon Stewart asked him where he got it, he said it was behind glass in one of the local churches. Apparently even the Daily Shows guys think "Shroud" when they think "Turin."

And for what it's worth, I also think Torino sounds a lot more melodious and glamorous than Turin. Maybe it will now be known as the Shroud of Torino :-)


I agree with Rich on the Johnny Weir interview. An unappealing person, as portrayed.

Local Man

Rich et al.:

Ms. Welborn's post was about the perception of many people that NBC is providing less coverage of the Shroud than it should. Why do you feel the gay-bashing is necessary?


I suppose if I were actually watching I'd wonder a bit about it..but I don't even care about the O's.


I see it's the men who rag on Johnny Weir, but let me add my two cents (clearly off the subject...)

I loved his performace, thought it was brilliant and would love a copy to watch again. It was a beautiful display of intellegent art. He may come off like some kind of diva, but you cannot say that his performance was anything short of exceptional-you'd have to throw in Tchaikovsky with him if that's true.

Rich Leonardi

Local man,

Why do you and a handful of other posters feel compelled to call every critique of homosexual agitprop "gay bashing"?

And JenB, agreed; his performance was terrific, but one can't help but watch that cringe-worthy interview and think that young Mr. Weir has some "daddy issues."

Maureen O'Brien

Look, if Johnny Weir were Johnette Weir, and had the same attitude, I'd be much nastier in my comments. Being an artist does not give you a license to be more girly than My Little Pony.

He's a grownup. He should act like one.

He doesn't. That's weird and scary.


"Why do you and a handful of other posters feel compelled to call every critique of homosexual agitprop "gay bashing"?"

Furthermore, to cheapen the term by using it as a rhetorical club undermines the efforts to stop actual violence against homosexuals.


Local Man

Rich: That response disingenuous at best, and it's backpedaling your part. On the upside, "agritprop" is one of my favorite words. It just sounds great.

Rich Leonardi

LM: Your question was silly. I mentioned Weir because (1.) anyone who saw last night's thinly-veiled SNL skit would have had a strong reaction to it, and (2.) since NBC had time to air Weir's lifestyle propaganda, you'd think they'd've had time in the scores of hours devoted to the Olympics to mention that, "Oh, by the way, that Shroud thingy is here in town."


As I think about this with my media relations hat on, it occurs to me that the answer to the question that NBC admits it discussed as to whether to refer to the city as Turin or Torino was certainly informed by research of public associations with both names. I think it's pretty much indisputable that "Turin" links immediately in the minds 90% of the U.S. population with "Shroud" (and in 5% with "Glaurung"), while "Torino" links in the minds of about 50% of the population (the male half) with "Ford coupes."

It's not outright anti-Catholicism, but you can see how the corporate decision would have made a calculated preferral of sporty autos to religious devotion.


Local Man

If during its coverage of the Olympics, NBC airs stories about the city of Turin, it history, culture, etc., but doesn't mention the Shroud, then I agree that the coverage is lacking. (Has this happened, by the way?)

But it's not a legitimate argument to claim that because NBC aired a profile of an Olympic athlete, it also has the obligation to mention the Shroud.

What's silly -- and transparent -- is your reference to Weir's "lifestyle propaganda."

Rich Leonardi

LM: Since you obviously have seen neither the coverage or the piece in question, it seems you're only looking to score points here on behalf of your politicized take on Christianity (which is your habit and, I suppose, your right). Otherwise, why bother posting?

Jay Anderson

... (and in 5% with "Glaurung") ...

LOL! Probably more like .05%, though. I doubt more than that has read any of Tolkien's works beyond The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Local Man

Rich, I saw the piece in question, purely by accident, because I'm not a fan of figure skating. True, I haven't seen a some of the other coverage, mainly because in past years, I've found it too heavily dominated by figure skating, at least in prime time.

But so what? My point about NBC's coverage stands.

Meanwhile, you denigrate a man for his "lifestyle," and do you best to link that to NBC's coverage of the Shroud, and I'm the one "politicizing" Christianity?

Rich Leonardi

Meanwhile, you denigrate a man for his "lifestyle"

Right. Because we know that authentic Christianity is all about affirming progressive peculiarities, the only subjects about which you offer comment.

Cheers for now; I think we've both had our say this morning.


I let NBC know I'd like to see a special on the Shroud of Turin. I don't know if anyone will read it, but here is a contact:



I think Mr. Weir was being lampooned (or, if you prefer, denigrated) for his effeminacy, not his choice of housewares.

That's not lifestyle, unless you argue that he lives his whole life around his effeminacy.


Local Man

Okay, then maybe someone else will answer the question: Why does NBC's profile of Weir obligate the network to to do a story on -- or even mention -- the Shroud of Turin?

Ed the Roman

Next up: For the 2028 Winter Olympics, will it be Gondolin, Khazad-Dum or Thangorodrim?


I'd like to see the bobsled runs the Dwarves could construct down Caradharas.



Can we also email NBC and ask them to call off David Gregory?

Bill H

I'll just be happy when NBC acknowledges that they're actually in Turin, or at the very least, decides to be consistent with the Italian and refers to it as Torino, Italia and the other cities in the country as Roma, Venezia, Firenze, etc. Their insistence on calling it "Torino" just seems goofy to me.


I'm glad the coverage is focused on the event action this time around: CBS and ABC seemed to spend a lot of time on painfully sentimental athlete stories, but NBC has moved away from that a bit (with the exception of this week's Kwan binge).

Putting the Shroud story on the Today show sounds just about right.


The Weir bio was weird. It reminded me of one of those late-night 900-number commercials the way he was lounged out on that couch with a certain look on his face.

His skating performance was graceful, remarkable and deserving of recognition. I thought his swan costume was clever (with one orange glove representing the swan's beak).

But I could have done with less about his personal life, with him stating that those Republicans in the South "should be scared of what he represents." Okaaayyy. What if I just think he's a dork and full of himself?


I think i'll just watch his (weir's) performance and chuck the rest.

And Peggy. ABSOLUTELY. What a dufus.

Jay Anderson

Okay, it seems the .05% who might be familiar with the "Narn I hin Hurin" is disproportionately represented here at Amy's.


Even on ABC there was mention and a camera shot of "Touchdown Jesus" during the Notre Dame - USC game last year.

Anglican Peggy

Funny thing about the role of the Shroud in my life. A photo of it played a very important role in my conversion experience and yet I am as neutral about it as I ever was. Sometimes I dont get myself even....

Anyway, while I dont have strong feelings for it one way or the other (vestiges of my Lutheran upbringing?) I have found it very strange that it hasnt been featured. The last I heard was that it wasnt going to be displayed during the Olympics. Color me disappointed in a way but I think I can understand why. I might fear for it if I were its caretaker given recent events. I wouldn't want to it to be besieged with casual gawkers who undoubtedly would care less about it than the usual crowd. I wouldnt want to be the one trying to protect it these days while managing an olympic sized mob of sightseeers.


Local man,
I must have missed the moment that sparked your righteous indignation on behalf of the gay athletic community. Are you under the impression that because Rich referred to Weir as "sweetheart" (within shouting distance of Valentine's Day, by the way) that this is tantamount to "gay bashing?" If so, you really must get out more.

I think the point to this discussion, since you asked someone else to explain it to you, is that that many average Americans, Catholic or not, associate the city of Turin with the Shroud. And that furthermore it seems unusual, to say the least, that the network providing virtual round-the-clock coverage of the Olympic Games in that city finds time to profile all manner of topics, including self-absorbed athletes with flamboyant alternative lifestyles (better? or still too hateful and bigoted?) but not mention the thing that the city is perhaps best known for.

Does that clear things up? Or are you still under the impression that we're talking about a specific race between Johnny Weir and a famous religious relic to be televised first.


Some questions:

The Shroud of Turin/Torino is still not labeled the Shroud of Jesus/Christ so the Vatican still does not know its authencity?

How much money does the Shroud bring into the
Vatican/Italian Church coffers every year?

Who were the lastest investigators of the Shroud and who do they work for?

We can analyze rocks on Mars on a daily basis but there is a 20 year wait for the next analysis of the Shroud. Why is that?

Will Elliott

According to National Geographic, the reason NBC doesn't calls Torino "Torino" instead of "Turin" is because the I.O.C. wants these games known as the Torino games. Of course, not all of the media is following I.O.C. wishes...


The question of the authenticity of the Shroud preserved in Turin is not one of faith or morals. Therefore the Church is not ever going to pronounce on its authenticity.

What is beyond dispute is that Jesus was shrouded and entombed, and that that shroud, if it still exists, would merit great veneration as a relic of the economy of salvation.

A palpable desire to falsify it based on an assumption of deceit is not an impulse which the church of Turin has much motive to indulge.


Jay Anderson

That's a lot of questions for someone who already seems to know all the answers.


"But I could have done with less about his personal life, with him stating that those Republicans in the South "should be scared of what he represents." Okaaayyy. What if I just think he's a dork and full of himself?"

LeeAnn above (at 11:49) nailed what annoys me about the guy. The politicization and sense of superiority to the Red State Rabble. Spare me.



Have you considered Googling the answers to your clearly deeply sincere questions about the Shroud?

Why do I think you're more interested in making points that in actually learning anything at all about this particular relic and what the Church has to say about it...



There have been a number of recent books and analyses of the Shround. I particularly recommend Mark Antonacci's "The Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence", published in 2000. Antonacci, a self-professed Agnostic when he began his investigations, researched the Shroud for over 20 years and does a great job of explaining and analysing the evidence, and the book is heavily footnoted for those inclined to follow-up on the issues.

As for it being called the "Shroud of Turin" and not the "Shroud of Jesus Christ", it is not unusual for ancient artifacts to be named after their place of origin or current safe-keeping. This does not imply any Church decision for or against it authenticity.


Glad to see all this attention despite NBC. My site shroudstory.com is exploding with activity.



I "Googlized" the Shroud of Turin and found no data about the economic impact of the Shroud of Turin on Turin/Torino, the local church or the Vatican coffers. Also there is no information about why it takes so much time to thoroughly analyze the Shroud. Why not do it like NASA's Stardust program, and send out micrograms to 100 different research institutes and universities?


"Why not do it like NASA's Stardust program, and send out micrograms to 100 different research institutes and universities?"

One answer to this question is the fact that no test will truly authenticate it, since there is no DNA of Christ to match to (possibly excepting the relics of Lanciano and similar Eucharistic prodigies)j.

All any test propose so far can do is invalidate it, and each new dating test which can be proposed would raise similar demands for additional samples, until the entire Shroud was consumed to satisfy all the attempts to discredit it.


Peggy H.

Realist - It ain't much, economically. No fee to enter the Cathedral, and I was actually disappointed with the gift shop there. A table or two in the nave with a few books and postcards, nothing elaborate or horribly expensive that I recall. If the aim is to make money, an eight year old running a lemonade stand could probably give the Cathedral suggestions.


The Olympic coverage I've seen has seemed unusally light on the irruptive features and unusually heavy on the athletic competitions (and on the commercials).

Okay, there was the bit about the local bakery selling curling stone-shaped loaves of bread, and of course the endless figure skating babble. (Anyone else willing to pay a cable surcharge for 100% figure skating-free Olympics coverage on just one network, for just one day?)

But I certainly haven't been watching with mounting anxiety that NBC was conspiring to avoid mentioning the Shroud of Turin. I do, though, remember admiring the shots of the crosses atop the (I guess) cathedral against the sunset.


OK, let's ask NBC if it is going to do a prime time story on the Shroud of Torino.

Or even better (thanks to babblefish) how about a story on "protezione di Torino".


Actually, I've found it interesting that I have not seen a single puff piece on the local color during the coverage I have watched. If they weren't showing events, they were showing commentary on an event or interviewing an athlete. It has been all sports, all the time when I've been watching (which is OK for me, because I often find Olympic puff pieces, including athlete bios, kind of boring).

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