LA STAMPA – Wednesday September 18, 2002, pag. 16

«The new cloth has such characteristics as to avoid the forming of microorganisms»
«Only dust and dirt have been removed»
The Diocese of Turin reassures: «They could have caused conservation problems»


Marco Bonatti, the Diocese of Turin spokesman, answers to the doubts raised by a lot of people on the Shroud “restoration.” «As it had been already announced for a long time, the Custodian, cardinal Severino Poletto, with his assistants, has convened a press conference for Saturday, during which all the information on the interventions carried out and aiming at guaranteeing the best possible conditions of the Shroud conservation, will be supplied. Since 1992 the Commission for the preservation (a permanent body, which has nothing to do with the 2000 international Symposium or with the Shroud conferences) has been studying and gradually setting up new preservation conditions for the Shroud (for example, the horizontal arrangement, or the realization of the new case).»

So, what will be talked about on Saturday?

«On Saturday the interventions will be explained in detail; they regarded the unstitching of the Holland cloth, which has been replaced with another cloth having a certain number of chemical  characteristic – neither too basic nor too acid – so as not to favor the creation of micro-organisms, and so on. All patches have been unstitched, and this has revealed that between the patches and the cloth a relatively great amount of dirt had accumulated.»

What has been made of that dirt?

«There were bits of burnt cloth, dust, debris. All has been removed and obviously catalogued and burnt (errata: preserved). Nobody thinks of throwing anything away. At the beginning there were also accusations of having made things in a hurry. If that dirt had still been kept there, worse preservation conditions could turn up.»

Was it necessary to carry out this operation?

«On Saturday, the Shroud Custodian, cardinal Severino Poletto, will answer this question. However, I refer to what he had already declared to the newspaper “Avvenire” in August. It was necessary because the Commission for the Conservation’s studies had indicated the fact that now the Shroud is spread, and, consequently, the problem of the folds is far reduced, as a risk. There could be a further problem, arising from the chemical processes on the cloth. Now that the patches have been removed, the dirt eliminated and the accumulated dust swept away, the Shroud becomes readable and in better conditions for being preserved.»

m. tos.