What is the difference between a Pope and P.T. Barnum? Suck on that for a while and you won’t need my help to figure it out.
Meanwhile, while you suck on that, The Papa, on his Vatican throne, [the other one, not the one he defecates into], has issued a statement that his flock should contemplate the Shroud of Turn with awe and reverence; but the old hypocrite stopped short of asserting its authenticity.
But people [are Catholics people?] can miss the point of an icon, so Papa thinks, if they focus too much on the object itself (its age, its construction, its history) and forget to gaze beyond it.
For most of the past five centuries the rag has been kept in Turin and reverenced as the burial cloth which enveloped the body of Jesus before his resurrection. Overlooked conveniently by idolaters, the shroud was proved to be a fraud in 1988 when laboratories in Zurich, Oxford and Tucson did a simultaneous carbon-dating test on a strip of the linen which had been cut into three. All agreed that it was no older than the mid-13th century. In other words, it was a medieval fake. ["Shocked, deeply shocked," Louie's response from a Casablanca drinking joint.]
Inevitably, all investigators of the mysterious cloth, even if they are well-qualified scientists, bring personal sensibilities to bear. After years of studying the Shroud, a man named Hoare, [Okay, okay, I see it, too. You don't have to tell me how hilarious that name is.] who is a liberal Anglican, ["liberal Anglican," just like "conservative Anglican" is code for putz-faced moron] concluded that the man wrapped in it could not have died because the liquids oozing from the traumatised body would have obscured the markings that are now visible. This thought prompted him to posit a revised version of the Resurrection story. According to his version, “Gobble gobble and quiddity quoddity” which translates as, “Since you phony intellectuals take Derrida seriously, why not me?”
Hence, perhaps, the anodyne words of the new Papa, who says it does not make any difference whose visage appears on the cloth. “This disfigured face resembles all those faces of men and women marred by war and violence which afflict the weakest. And yet, at the same time, the face in the Shroud conveys a great peace; this tortured body expresses a sovereign majesty.”
Yeah, yeah! You tell ‘em, Papa.