IL MESSAGGERO - Saturday, August 10, 2002, page 10

The removal of the patches has been confirmed.
The Curia:  "But the Shroud cloth has not been damaged"

ROME - The Curia of Turin has fully confirmed the amazing operation of removal of the Shroud patches, completed in great secret in the Turin Cathedral new sacristy from June 20 to July 22 and revealed yesterday by our Newspaper.  It has been announced that in the first half of September a press conference will take place in order to document, also photographically, the results of the operation, consisting in the removal of thirty patches sewn from the Chambéry Clare nuns in 1534 on the burns of the Sheet, provoked by the December 4,1532 fire, and in the substitution of the backing cloth, called "Holland cloth."  Only then will it be possible to have a general idea of how the Shroud has been "transformed" and answer question that the experts, who have been kept completely in the dark about it, ask: have the Sacred Linen carbonized parts been  trimmed?  However amazing it can appear, according to someone the "burns move forward as time goes on" (but in five centuries they would have "eaten" a lot of cloth…), hence the idea to intervene, eliminating the carbonized parts. If so, last month's operation would have been "invasive". On the contrary,  in yesterday's statement of the Turinese Curia spokesman, Marco Bonatti, who confirmed the intervention, there are references to new scientific "non invasive" tests, that is, which have not damaged the cloth.  Obviously, this intervention, carried out by the textile expert Flury-Lemberg, has been authorized by the Shroud papal Custodian, cardinal Severino Poletto, after obtaining the consent of the Holy See, who owns of the precious Relic after the last Savoy family King Umberto II's  testamentary donation in 1983. The news of this last "operation-Shroud" has also surprised many Turinese clergymen themselves, both for the intervention weight - with the removal of the thirty 16th century patches and the substitution of the "Holland cloth" below, completely stitched to the patches and to the Shroud (only the Face area was left out), and for "the furtive attitude, like Carbonari (? translator's note: the Carbonarist movement was a secret sect of the Italian 19th century Risorgimento)," that surrounded the operation.  In the eight International Shroud Conferences, which have taken place in the last four years, we do not know of any expert suggesting such a challenging and risky intervention as necessary.  The Curia has specified that the matter had been dealt with in the International  Scientific Symposium, which had taken place behind closed doors in Villa Gualino (Turin) from March 2 to 5, 2000.  When we asked them, some participants confirmed they did not hear of it at all, nor is there any trace of it in the Proceedings.  Perhaps the three textile experts who were there (Flury-Lemberg, Testore, Vercelli) talked about it in an informal way. More probably, the decision must have been taken during the scanning of the Shroud back, carried out in November 2000.  Then, the experts may have realized there were dust and dirt between the Shroud and the Holland cloth, sewn in 1534.