TURIN, Italy – A top Shroud expert here told WND he has concluded the Shroud of Turin is authentic, and he believes the Catholic Church would be open to new tests if they meet scientific standards and would not harm the relic.

Bruno Barberis, director of the International Center of Sindonology in Turin, Italy, in the first part of the videotaped interview at his office at the Shroud Museum in Turin, spelled out his reasons for concluding the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ.

See part one of the Barberis interview:

“The studies made up until now permit us to say there is a very high probability the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ,” Barberis said.

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He noted the injuries seen on the body of the crucified man in the Shroud bear an exact relationship to the wounds Christ suffered in his passion and death, as described by the four gospels of the New Testament.

“The crown of thorns and the wound in the side we see in the man of the Shroud were not normal characteristics to the countless thousands of people the ancient Romans crucified,” he said. “The probability that the man of the Shroud and Jesus of Nazareth are the same person is very high.”

Barberis discounted the reliability of the carbon-14 dating tests conducted on the Shroud in 1988. He said the area of the Shroud where the sample for the carbon-14 tests had been taken were contaminated by medieval reweaving with cotton.

See part two of the Barberis interview:

WND previously reported the conclusion of a scientific paper published in 2005 by the late Ray Rogers, a chemist with the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory and a member of the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project. Rogers said that after a fire in 1532 nearly destroyed the Shroud, French Poor Clare nuns repaired it by adding 16 burn patches and expertly reweaving the edges of the Shroud with cotton dyed to resemble the original linen.

Barberis also argued the carbon-14 result had been contaminated over the centuries by human contact with the Shroud. In addition, biological debris accumulated on the Shroud from the many locations in the Middle East, Turkey and Europe where historians and scientists from the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project have determined it traveled over the centuries.

He suggested the Catholic Church would allow further scientific tests to determine the date of the Shroud of Turin, provided a serious proposal was advanced that represented a reasonable chance of a reliable and accurate result, without doing undue damage to the Shroud.

“I am sure, as soon as there is a serious proposal – one with a wide protocol of research, I think the church will say ‘yes,'” he said. “If, and as soon as there is a serious proposal, I am sure the church will permit new examinations on the Shroud.”

In the second part of the videotaped interview, Barberis insisted he did not see a “second face” on the back of the Shroud after the 2002 restoration removed what is known as the “Holland cloth,” the backing initially put on the Shroud to preserve it after the 1532 fire.

“I saw the same blood on the back of the Shroud as I saw on the front,” he explained. “In 1978 the Shroud of Turin Research Project established the image on the Shroud was micrometers thin, not enough to pass through to the other side.”

He argued this was further evidence the Shroud was not painted.

“The studies made by the 1978 Shroud of Turin Research Project members proved the corpse image is not due to dye or pigments, but to oxidation of surface fibers of the cloth.”

He distinguished that the blood seen on the Shroud does penetrate to the other side, in direct contrast to how the image of the crucified man was created on the linen cloth.

WND previously reported two engineering professors at the University of Padua have published in a peer-reviewed journal of optics that by using image-processing techniques, including Gaussian filters and Fourier transformations, they were able to highlight an extremely faint second face on the backside of the shroud, including details of a nose, eyes, hair, beard and mustache.

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Barberis said the 2010 Shroud of Turin exposition has been very successful, with as many as 2 million people planning to travel to see the Shroud in person before the exposition ends May 23.

“There is worldwide interest in the Shroud,” he said. “The message of the Shroud is becoming more important for people in our times.”

What is the message of the Shroud?

“It is a message of the pain and suffering of people all over the world,” he explained. “The Shroud’s message recalls Christ’s message that confirms we need to find those things that are really important in life.”

Barberis is a professor of mathematics who joined the science faculty of the University of Turin in 1983, where he received his degree.

He is an internationally recognized expert on the Shroud of Turin credited with having attended more than 800 conferences on the Shroud throughout the world.

Barberis played a key role in the Shroud expositions of 1978, 1998 and 2000, and he was selected to participate on the commission established by the Archdiocese of Turin in 2002 to preserve the Shroud.

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