I agree with Lenny, who also teaches science, that the shroud is probably real. I agree, too, that it is irrelevant, at least in the sense that he means. It doesn’t matter to me if the shroud is real or not. I don’t see it as an essential ingredient in my soup. However, in another sense, I knew it is very relevant; more like a dash of salt or a pinch of pepper that doesn’t overpower but brings out the flavors. A decade of studying the Shroud has enhanced my scientific reasoning skills, given me a greater appreciation for tradition through history, and focused my thinking about scriptural meaning and possibilities. The shroud, real or fake, does not affect my faith. But the study of it has.
“My brother is afraid of certainty,” said Lenny.
“My brother is afraid of faith,” said Father Joe. “He is an intellectual atheist. Was it not for my faith, I would share his beliefs. God, however, is very real to me.”