AVVENIRE - Saturday,  August 10, 2002, page 7

Holy relic - The works carried out in these days have the purpose to assure the best preservation  conditions.  The intervention concluded with the unanimous consent
of the international Commission was  authorized by the Holy See.
Poletto:  «Shroud, successful restoration»
The archbishop of Turin: in  September information and images of the "renewed" Cloth will be available for  the public opinion and  the scientific community.  A special publication is near

"Next September - Cardinal Poletto informs us - all the information about the interventions recently carried out on the Holy Shroud will be available for the public opinion and the international scientific community, and the images of the "restored" Cloth will be available as well for everybody.  An appropriate publication will contain the new images of the Shroud.  But since now the archbishop of Turin, Custodian of the Shroud, wants to specify:  "The interventions have been carried out reservedly not out of a great desire for secrecy, but to guarantee the necessary calm for those who had to work, besides obvious reasons of safety".  The works carried out on the Shroud are completely included in the indications that in these years the Commission for the preservation supplied to the Custodian (in the Commission there are scientists from several nations, whose task is to study the best conditions for the preservation of the Cloth, and to indicate the necessary applications).

"The restoration intervention - Cardinal Poletto adds - was in writing authorized by the Holy See.  And it was carried out completely meeting the two conditions that the Holy See itself requested:  that there was the unanimous consent of the members of the Commission for the Shroud preservation, and that the competent authorities of the Italian State (editor's note: the Piedmontese regional Superintendence at the Patrimony) were properly informed".  All the Archbishops of Turin Custodians of the Shroud in the post-war period, from Fossati to Pellegrino, from Ballestrero to Saldarini and now Poletto have always considered the preservation problem has an absolute priority:  for this reason, a Commission appointed to study and plan the interventions on the Cloth has existed for years.  Obviously, the indications of the Commission are submitted to the approval of the Custodian and the Holy Father, who since 1983, for testamentary bequest of Umberto II of Savoy, is the owner of the Shroud.

The "turning-point" in the preservation strategy was the decision to maintain the Cloth no more rolled up around a wooden roller, like it had been for centuries since 1997, when the Shroud was in the Guarini Chapel and then in the Cathedral of Turin until the fire of April 11.  In order to maintain the Shroud extended, it was necessary to study a completely new "system", as the Cloth measures m 4.36 to1.10, and therefore is decidedly more "cumbersome" than a wooden case...  In these years, from 1997 on, they gradually realized the cases for 1998 and 2000 exhibitions, and the case for the permanent preservation; inside the Cathedral of Turin they located and equipped the areas for the care of the Shroud itself, so that it has a dignified and safe location without, however, interfering with the liturgical life of the Cathedral.  Also the more recent interventions on the Cloth (carried out in proximity of the two exhibitions of 1998 and 2000, and now in the late spring of 2002) come to complete the new strategy of conservation:  maintaining in these years the Shroud extended, it was in fact possible to contain the problem of the "folds", that wrinkled the cloth and made each movement or unrolling problematic.  "The last interventions - the Custodian still comments - were urgent and necessary because they contributed to remove from the Cloth impurities and residues, that could compromise in the time the preservation conditions, and damage the image legibility itself ".  Obviously all the gathered material is not "dispersed", but it is catalogued and kept with care.  For the Cardinal, in the next years this intervention will reveal all its "historical" utility, just because it will have contributed to give back the Shroud to the best possible keeping conditions, also in relationship to the technologies that science currently has.  The work of preservation has nothing to do with the program of scientific researches on the Shroud; moreover, it is not planned any other radiocarbon test in order to verify the dating of the Sheet.