There seems to be no end to the “big match” between science and faith. We remember neither how nor why it ever began. But everyone, perhaps even unawares, finds it exciting. It involves every one of us. It poses questions deep within us, whether we like it or not.
And it is the search for our reasons, whether theological, philosophical or scientific, that makes us yearn for new knowledge, progress and truth – as though science and religion nourished each other’s uncertainties.
Perhaps what we really hope is that the match will never end.
For us it is the starting point for a confrontation between a Capuchin friar and a Professor of Building Science at the Department of Structural Engineering and Geotechnology of the Turin Polytechnic, on the authenticity of the Shroud.
This confrontation provides the background for a striking parallel tale of places in Turin that are closely connected to the Shroud.
The subject of the Shroud is always linked to the puzzle of the unsolved mystery. Almost invariably, what stands out is a stereotyped reading of what the Shroud is and what it represents, for believers and non-believers. Not that the simplification of the word “mystery” can describe this icon of Christianity. What we want is to escape from the vicious circle of this narrative simplification. We shall turn to two individuals, two stories, two lives that for different reasons have crossed paths with the Shroud in Turin. We are going to look into the daily lives of a friar who lives at Monte de Cappuccini and a university teacher immersed in geological studies at the Polytechnic.
They are much the same age, they have breathed the air of the same period. But their ways of life are profoundly different. And this difference is marked by their contrasting relationships with the Shroud, in both cases the fruit of mere curiosity. Anyone who lives in Turin sooner or later has to come to terms with the Shroud.
The relationship we are going to create between our two protagonists will be set first of all in the city of Turin, especially in those places that are linked to the Shroud: the Cathedral, the Museum, Piazza Castello.
We shall look at these places through the eyes of our protagonists, as it were through their lens, but with the help from above of a drone. This is not a merely aesthetic choice. “Looking down from above” takes on a totally different meaning when you are talking of the Shroud.
At our disposal we shall have a significant archive on which to draw, the archive of Turin’s NOVA-T: the first high-definition images of the Shroud, the Expositions of the Shroud from the 1930s to the present day.
Our aim is to show, with the help of our two protagonists and the comparison of two different experiences, how great, how intricate and how unpredictable is the relationship between faith and science, when seen in the shadow of the Shroud.