He is risen !

N° 249 – November 2023

Director : Frère Bruno Bonnet-Eymard

The Holy Shroud, the definitive answer

The author of this letter, Mr. Claude de Cointet, was one among the multitude of Catholics who were completely disorientated by the conciliar revolution. He had the grace of meeting Father de Nantes and placed himself under his spiritual direction. He thus avoided, on the one hand, losing the faith, and on the other, falling into the Integrist schism. The spiritual direction that he received made Mr. de Cointet into a perfect disciple and ardent servant of the Church. He joined the Third Order of the Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart, the religious Order founded by Father de Nantes, and later on, the Phalange of the Immaculate. Having become a docile instrument, he accompanied his spiritual director, Father de Nantes, to Rome, the three times that he went there to present his Books of Accusation. On the first occasion, Mr. de Cointet handed the first Liber Accusationis to Paul VI in person, during a general audience. He was also part of Brother Bruno’s research team on the Holy Shroud and accompanied him on his trips to Turin, Italy and Tucson, United States.

Versailles, November 1, 2023, All Saints’ Day.

To Mr Jean-Christian Petitfils, historian and writer.

Care of his publisher, Tallandier, 48, rue du Faubourg Montmartre 75 009 Paris.

Dear Mr. Petitfils,

There is much talk about your bestseller Le Saint Suaire de Turin, temoin de la Passion de Jesus-Christ [The Holy Shroud of Turin, Proof of the Passion of Jesus Christ], which the Tallandier Publishing House is promoting as being the “Definitive Investigation”. You retrace the presumed itinerary of the Holy Shroud in your Part One: “What does history say?” and you are correct in asserting that the Holy Shroud bears the authentic image of Jesus. There was no need to wait for the carbon 14 “verdict” to be certain of that. This was demonstrated forty-five years ago in the masterly work of Brother Bruno Bonnet-Eymard, which he began about ten years before the 1988 carbon 14 test, and which he has continued ever since. You are certainly not unaware of them, since you not only include in your “bibliography” his two books that relate years of study, inter alia, the historical evidence, confirmed by a study on the evolution of the iconography, but you also copy our pictures, including that of the Skylitzès codex, which I personally obtained in 1990 from the National Library in Madrid.

You ignore his work establishing the passage of the Holy Shroud in Athens and you complacently quote Ulysse Chevalier and Saxer, overlooking the fact that Brother Bruno masterfully refuted both of them in 1991, fifteen years before Emmanuel Poulle. He did this by going back to the sources, by studying the “Memoir” attributed to Pierre d’Arcis, in the Troyes Archives . In short, in your book, you have copied from his twenty years of work, but without ever mentioning that he is the author.

In your Part Two, “What does science say?” your compilation recapitulates the work of the pioneers of sindonology, and relates in detail the investigative work of the STURP. It was easy for you to find the French version of the account in the reviews carried out by Brother Bruno. Yet you never quote him, confining yourself to writing two insignificant notes when you quote the words that John Jackson and Gonella addressed to him .

You overwhelm readers by complacently describing the contortions of hundreds of “scientists” or those who believe themselves to be such, who have painstakingly sought, by every possible means, over the last thirty-five years, without succeeding, to justify the results obtained in 1988 in the laboratories, as well as their discrepancies. This retroactive research has focused on the supposed ‘contamination’ of the samples (despite the cleaning protocol applied to them), the presence of cotton (even though the threads found in the laboratories – such as the red thread found in Tucson – had been removed), fires, neutron bombardment and the ‘bioplastic patina’. You admit without batting an eyelid, on pp. 297-298, in a convoluted twelve-line sentence, that it is “a combination of several factors that might (sic) explain the thirteen-century gap with the real age of the Shroud.” This research was all in vain. It has helped to maintain the doubts triggered by what you call “the C 14 bombshell”, while allowing conferences to be held and many books to be sold!

The dishonesty of your book, however, lies in the peremptory statement in Chapter XII about the C 14 dating. After a courageous subtitle: “The 1988 test invalidated by its own results”, you declare (p 281) without examining our arguments: “Admittedly, there has been no substitution of samples, as Brother Bruno Bonnet-Eymard and Father Georges de Nantes of the Catholic Counter-Reformation (CCR) have claimed – an unthinkable act given the number of people present in the sacristy of the Duomo when the samples were taken –, but there has been some manipulation of the figures, with the aim of both falling within the correct historical window (sic!) and validating the test overall.”

Now, Jacques Evin had convinced Brother Bruno, before the dating, that the AMS method made it possible to date small samples with C 14, and to do so very accurately. You probably are of the same opinion, but you flippantly write on p. 284: “The conclusion is clear: the 1988 C 14 test, whose scientific method was distorted and misused, is purely and simply null and void [...]. There was an error; all that remained to be done was to find the causes of this error.

Were mistakes made during the sample analysis process? That is a hypothesis, but you have given us no arguments, no description of any error, backed up by evidence!

Had there been trickery? What was only a hypothesis in 1988 was proved by a forensic investigation conducted under the direction of Brother Bruno, in which I took part.

In fact, the “definitive investigation” was undertaken as early as 1988, thirty-five years ago, by the CCR’s multidisciplinary team, of which I was a member, in the very year of the dating. It was quickly concluded that the samples analysed were heterogeneous, as demonstrated by the statistics provided in the Nature report. There followed investigations conducted in the three laboratories, in Tucson, Oxford and Zürich.

This veritable police investigation led to the diagram appended to this letter. It shows how the substitution was carried out, no doubt partly in Turin, but also in the laboratories, which were anxious to coordinate their action to obtain a medieval date “in the correct historical window” as you point out on p. 281, by compensating for the results obtained in Tucson, the first laboratory to carry out the dating, which were too recent.

Our results were published after they were revealed in the Great Hall of the Mutualité Conference Centre in Paris on November 25, 1990 before two thousand people at a public lecture entitled: “Two years after the so-called medieval dating, the evidence of a scientific forgery” . The Shroud had been perfectly dated to A.D. 21-64, but these dates were falsely attributed to the control sample entitled “tissue associated with Cleopatra’s mummy”. Subsequently, indications would be found of the manipulations actually carried out in the laboratories on the samples to arrive at the dates they wanted for the medieval sample, which they christened “Holy Shroud”.

“Denis Dutton, a resolute opponent of the authenticity of the Holy Shroud, told Tite: “We would not want anyone to be able to suspect, for example, that the fibres of a mummy’s linen could have been given to the laboratories instead of real samples of the Shroud!” Dutton could not have suspected that Tite’s intention was just the opposite.   

Yet, that is not all, a lie that borders on ignominy is to be found on page 268 of your book, in the paragraph devoted to “debates and polemics”, where you write these devastating lines: “What really hurt the defenders of the authenticity of the Holy Shroud were the vehement charges against the ‘scientific and ecclesiastical mafias’ and the ad hominem attacks by a member of the CCR League, Brother Bruno Bonnet-Eymard, as good a connoisseur of the Shroud as he was a violent polemicist, whose criticism was at one time relayed by Il Messaggero.”

To make the situation out to be darker than it is and to dissuade your readers from reading us, you include a note (at the bottom of the page, not among the notes at the end of the volume that are not read) to the effect that the CCR, to which we belong, is “an integrist Group classified in a 1995 parliamentary report as a sectarian movement”. That is how the French Republic tries to discredit its enemies! But you are misinformed, because eight years earlier, a campaign of slander had already been unleashed against us by the magazine Trente Jours in Italy. On March 27, 1987, however, Father Vernette, the national delegate to the Bishops’ Conference, from the “Pastoral Care and Sects” group, to whom we had protested, wrote to us – and we published it in CCR, No. 198 – that in his view “the CCR and the Catholic Phalangecan in no way be amalgamated, in terms of content, with Moon, Krishna or Scientology.” We are fully-fledged members of the Catholic Church, even if we are put in last place!

What is curious is that throughout your book you justify our criticisms by listing Tite’s manoeuvres: he eliminated the six laboratories in which he had no accomplices, he took precedence over the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he violated the provisions of the protocol he had signed, and so on. He committed crimes by tolerating communications between laboratories, so that they could agree on ways to harmonize their results. Finally, he paid no heed to the warnings of the Colonnetti Institute in Turin, relying instead on the complacency of Mrs Leese. So does it not seem contradictory to you to state, again on this same page 268: “It seems difficult to suspect the three world-renowned radiocarbon laboratories and the British Museum of crude fraud”?

The men of true science who at the time were interested in the Holy Shroud have become our friends, and have always shown us great cordiality, and the same has been true of our relations with the ecclesiastics who have put a lot into the defence of the Holy Relic of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Finally, it is in the hope of showing you, as Brother Bruno of Jesus has asked me to do, the deficiencies and inaccuracies in your book, that I am sending you this letter, believing that the “ad hominem” attack you are making by likening us to integrists belonging to a “sect” is due to a lack of information on your part. Yet whether your comments be true or not, how can they be used as an argument against our demonstration of trickery? And why step outside the realm of scientific argument and try to discredit us by such manoeuvres, which are tantamount to the offences of slander and/or defamation?

Finally, it is clear that those who dwell endlessly on futile research into the contamination of the samples and the “errors” of the laboratories are perpetuating doubt and weakening the case for the authenticity of the Shroud. Which brings me to a final question: Why are you protecting the cheats and their accomplices?

Yours sincerely,

Claude de Cointet

Attachment: Diagram of fraud in C 14 dating - CCR Easter 1997.

Opposite: Detail of a ‘souvenir-photo’ (!) taken at the Tucson laboratory, Arizona, on Sunday, April 24, 1988, which Professor Donahue sent to us on January 3, 1991. Our explanation:

– the Archbishop of Turin’s red wax seal. It was not broken and will be replaced after the substitution, in such a way that on Monday morning, for the official opening of the tube, Damon and Donahue, Jull and Toolin will certify in the laboratory notebook that it was intact.

– the steel tube marked ‘A 1’, the initial of the laboratory (Arizona), and the number of the sample which Tite placed therein on April 21, in Turin, in the presence of Cardinal Ballestrero.

– the aluminium paper in which the sample was wrapped.

– the Holy Shroud sample. It is in two pieces. The large piece weighs 40 mg; the small piece 14 mg.

Damon and Donahue are going to keep the small piece secret, and place the big piece in the tube marked ‘A 3’, after having previously taken from this tube no 3 the sample officially labelled “Linen from the collection of the Egyptian antiquities of the British Museum, associated with a mummy of Cleopatra dating from the beginning of the 2nd century AD, originating from Thebes (EA 6707).” In reality: Linen from the Bock collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (14th-15th century, weight: 53. 7 mg), which is going to take its place in the tube marked ‘A 1’.

Unfortunately for the hoaxers, this nocturnal transformation from 40 mg to 50 and even 53 mg is inexplicable. It is proof of one of the greatest machinations invented by Christ’s enemies in the course of the first two millennia of the Christian era.

To think that we reconstituted the whole of this crime six years ago, published it and everyone learned of it. Yet nowhere has there been heard an echo of this, in any book or article, journal or review. The moral: depending on whether you are a powerful liar or a wretched witness of the truth, the judgements of the court, of Rome or elsewhere, will decide whether you are black or white. 

A. The premeditation of a perfect crime:

– a. In Turin, when the samples were taken, on April 21, 1988, Dr. Tite would introduce

  • into tube 1: the sample of the Holy Shroud.
  • into tube 2: a mediaeval cloth (XIth ‑ XIIth century).
  • into tube 3: under the false label “ linen associated with the mummy of Cleopatra ”, a (XIVth century), sample of cloth, ‘double’ of the Holy Shroud.

– bIn each laboratory, after the inversion of the samples of tubes 1 and 3:

  • tube 1, labelled “ Shroud ”, contains the Holy Shroud’s double, the pseudo mummy.
  • tube 2, no change.
  • Tube 3, labelled “mummy”, contains the Holy Shroud.

– c. Results to be obtained:

  • Sample 1: XIVth century... is the pseudo mummy declared to be the Holy Shroud!
  • Sample 2: XIth ‑ XIIth century... is the mediaeval cloth.
  • Sample 3: Ist century... is the Holy Shroud declared to be the mummy!

B. The realization, modified three times, made the crime patent:

– a. At Turin, on April 21, 1988, Dr. Tite introduced

  • into tube 1: the Holy Shroud;
  • into tube 2: the XIIth century cloth;
  • into tube 3: material chosen from a collection of the XIVth ‑ XVth century;
  • into an envelope 4: frayed threads from a XIIIth century cope.

– b. In the laboratories, too late a dating for sample 1, the “ double ” of the Holy Shroud necessitated substituting sample 4 for sample 1, perhaps partially in Zurich, in Oxford totally.

– c. Vulnerable results: technically perfect, statistically unacceptable:

  • Sample 1:  statistical analysis accuses the sampling of being heterogeneous.
  • Sample 2: as planned.
  • Sample 3: the substitute is not very consistent with the dates of the mummy of Cleopatra known to history (2nd century), nor with the dates obtained in 1987 by means of the classical carbon 14 dating. It is, moreover, an uncontrolled dating: 110 B. C. ‑ 75 A. D. On the other hand, it falls exactly within the years expected for the Holy Shroud: 11‑64 A. D., or 37 ± 27, completing the proof that the Holy Shroud was buried beneath the label of a forgotten mummy.
  • Sample 4: admirably dated by top performance machines. 

The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 20th Century, No.237, March 1991, pp. 12-23. In Special Issue: It’s the Standard of our salvation. Brother Bruno studied the documents in the Troyes Archives, then translated “Champagne 154 f°137”, the so-called “Mémoire” attributed to Pierre d’Arcis, Bishop of Troyes, from the photo in the Bibliothèque Nationale.

The Americans we met in Tucson, and many “scholars” interested in the Shroud, gave “the Mémoire de Pierre d’Arcis” as proof of its medieval origin, without having read or studied it.

Professor Baïma Bollone requested Brother Bruno to give a presentation at the Bologna Congress on November 27-28, 1981, on the STURP team’s work since he had followed it from start to finish. He has continued to follow their work, for example, in 1991, he presented the theses of John Jackson. See CCR, op. cit. Special Issue 271, pp. 29-36.

Catholic Counter-Reformation, op. cit., no 117 Dec. 1979 - Jan. 1980.

See Chap. X, note 4, p. 227, giving J. Jackson’s memories at the age of thirteen! And note 12 p. 243, quoting Gonella: “This image must not, cannot exist! And yet the Shroud does exist!”

Accelerator mass spectrometer – an analytical instrument in which an emission is dispersed according to some property (such as mass or energy) of the emission and the amount of dispersion is measured.

The date found (1369-1378) was unsuitable, being later than the first expositions in Lirey, in 1350!

The documents collected in Oxford and the recordings of our conversations with the laboratory engineers during the investigation will be made available to the Vatican when it shows interest and requests them.

Jean-Michel Forestier had already found clues in a document given to him by Hedges during our visit to Oxford, and this was confirmed by the documents Tristan Casabianca was able to obtain from the British Museum in 2017.

Catholic Counter-Reformation Special Issue 295, p. 28. The diagram appended to this letter is more eloquent about the C 14 fraud than a long speech.