Doesn't Catechism 627 imply Shroud of Turin Not Jesus? Why Jesus not decay in 60 hr?

Catechism 627 quotes the Bible, “You will not let your Holy one see corruption,” (Acts 2:26-27; cf. Ps 16:9-10) and states that Jesus’ dead body “was not a mortal corpse like others …] ‘divine power preserved Christ’s body from corruption.’ (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 51, 3)”

Apparently there is consensus that the Shroud of Turin depicts a man in rigor mortis. Wikipedia editors say that rigor mortis is caused by cell membranes deteriorating. Cell membrane deterioration is bodily corruption. Thus the Shroud of Turin is not depicting Jesus.

The only rebuttal I see to this is, “CCC 627 says that his body “was not a mortal corpse like others”, therefore the rigor mortis had a different cause, other than cell deterioration.” To which one would respond, “The Church also says (likely in the Catechism as well) that Jesus was “truly man”, so it is a self-contradiction to say his dead body would not be a mortal corpse like those of other men. If Jesus was truly man, and like men in all ways except sin, then His dead body was also like the dead bodies of other men.” Here I am at an impasse. It seems Jesus could not have undergone the usual post-death processes during those ~66 hours and fulfill that Bible verse. But then it’s not clear what it means to say that Jesus experienced death!* Because to experience death is to have these things happen to your body! Sorry, I branched out into a second topic here.

CCC 627 says decay was held to begin on the fourth day. Holding this scientifically-inaccurate understanding of Sacred Scripture also resolves the dilemma, so the Shroud could still reveal Jesus. (Sorry, in a bad mood: It may not be “scientifically-inaccurate”: It is possible current scientific theory is wrong somehow; future experiments may clarify or reveal another cause for rigor mortis.)

So it seems:
*]Rigor mortis is a form of corruption. If the Shroud of Turin depicts rigor mortis, and Jesus didn’t undergo corruption, then the Shroud of Turin does not reveal Jesus.
*]If “bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death”, why doesn’t God have the psalmist make that explicit? Why must the Bible require so much study to be understood? Why can’t it be taken literally so as to be clearly understood by all who read it?

  • CCC 630 (and earlier) clarifies that “experiencing death” simply means having soul and body separate, regardless of what happens to the body. This seems incorrect, because part of the horror of death is the actual deterioration of the body. It’s even part of the aging process, why it’s painful to get old, etc. To not undergo this part appears to be “skipping a step”, for the Incarnation to not fully embrace “our human experience”. “But death wasn’t God’s design; it was through the envy of the devil that this happens.” Nonetheless, if Jesus was to truly ‘enter into our suffering’, I don’t see why this part of it “isn’t important” to enter into. To put it another way, the Church says that we are one being, soul and body united. So experiencing the decay of the body is part of death because “our body is us”, according to this idea of unity of being.

There’s a good question in this post about the rigor mortis. However, I must first address the question of whether Jesus who was fully man must have decayed in order to share our nature. If there was any prevention of decay of the body, it was by divine intervention, not because Jesus’ flesh had a different nature than ours, that it did not become a mortal corpse like others. Nor is there any need for the body to decay in order to participate in human nature. Once the soul is departed from the body, the body alone is technically no longer the actual person but just a collection of non-living cells and material. Whatever happens to it is outside of any person’s experience. Corruption of the body in the way you mean it haopens after death, not during a person experiencing death. Some of that material will be recalled for the resurrection, of course, but between death and then talk of it being part of a human being… well, maybe for those left behind. It’s outside of the individual’s experience as a person. This part of your objection, I think, is moot.

As for corruption on the fourth day, this isn’t intended as a scientifically accurate statement. It simply marks a tradition and a common ooint of reference to the body beginning to stink and noticeably decay.

If there is anything scientific that the Christian would question, it would be the conclusion that the man in the shroud had rigor mortis. How certain are the analysts? And how certain can they be? Some quick searching myself seems to suggest that they simply could not rule out rigor mortis, or had the opinion that the man in the shroud had it, but that’s hardly an uncontestable fact. I’m not saying the opinion shouldn’t be given any respect, but it’s the limits of the certaibty of this sort of analysis I’m questioning. One of the quotes from an analyst in this article is quoted as saying, "If I had to go into a courtroom, I could not say there was rigor.”

Even should it be so, to what degree was Jesus’ body protected from corruption? Must it be absolutely to the nano-second his soul separated from the body? Could this just be said to be protection from the traditional signs of corruption associated with the tradition? That’s not a rhetorical dismissal. It’s a question I’m interested in knowing the Church’s allowable tolerance on.

Sorry…I can’t seem to get past the ‘Agnostic Christian Roman Rite’ thing, to even address the OP.

What pray tell, is ‘Agnostic Christian’ supposed to mean?

…and are there really so many of these (oxymoronic) mythical human beings of whom I have never heard, as to be divided into various ‘rites’, such that the supposed ‘Roman rite’ must be affixed, in order to distinguish it, lest it be confused with…what…the ‘Eastern rite Agnostic Christians’?


I think it means he doesn’t deny the existence of God like an atheist, but he is not sure if Christ is the Son of God. It is an oxymoron, though, I great you that. A Christian is by default a believer.

From past posts, he was raised Roman Catholic (or at least most identifies with it now) but has had serious struggles and doubts about his faith. That’s all I think it’s supposed to mean.

You have a point about the RM, however, the deterioration of a body is a process, and if it is reversed, there is no “corruption.”


So your claim is that those dead saints who have been dead for hundreds of years, but whose bodies are incorrupt, are NOT dead and they did not experience death?

Three off topic posts have been removed.
Please discuss the topic and not other members.

Why does the cosmos, the natural world, human physiology and basically EVERYTHING else require so much study to be understood?

Why isn’t everything just plain obvious to everyone?

Jesus said not to judge strictly on the basis of appearance.

Perhaps the lesson is one of humility to counteract pride and what pride does to our wills once we think we “know?”

Perhaps when we think we know we are still better off not presuming that we do know very much at all. Cf. Socrates.

Thank YOU, another of God’s GREAT Mysteries. I love it. I do believe God knows what HE is doing. I trust HIM. God Bless, Memaw

**Whether or not the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus really has nothing to do with CCC 627. More relevant issues need to be resolved.
Even if the stated premise would be correct, it would not prove that the Shroud was not real, only that the CCC might need to be understood differently or even revised.

The most important issue for the Shroud is its lack of a documented history prior to 1357. If the Shroud really is our Lord’s burial cloth, that lack of history is impossible.
The Shroud could not have been hidden and unknown for 1300 years. No one should be asked to believe that.

To find that missing history one must assume that the Shroud was not recognised as the bloody burial cloth that it is. We must look for something else:
Perhaps a miraculous depiction of Jesus, an image “not made by hands.” And searching in the middle east rather than Europe might also make sense.

The Orthodox Christian Church is famous for its icons (which are depictions of saints and biblical scenes.) One of these icons is the “Mandylion” icon which shows Jesus’ face on a cloth.
Greek words meaning “not made by hands” and “doubled in four” were always used to describe the Holy Mandylion which was the actual image bearing cloth.

This Mandylion was easily the most holy relic in the Orthodox Church. But it disappeared in 1204 when the French Fourth Crusade intruded by force into Constantinople.
The French were primarily interested in finding holy relics for their own churches. They were not out to destroy them.
Therefore it is impossible that the most holy relic of the Orthodox Church, the Mandylion, could have just disappeared forever.

An historical gap of just 150 years (1204 to 1357) is not the same as a 1300 year missing history, and is easily accounted for.
On 10/13/1307 the religious order known as the Knights Templar was arrested by the King of France.
The primary charge was heresy: that the Order had been worshipping some kind of mysterious head image on a cloth.

Geoffrey de Charney was a nephew of the Knights Templar Grand Master whom the King of France had burned alive.
He was also the one to exhibit the Shroud at Lirey in 1357.

Having established a credible history the remaining question is why was the 1988 carbon-14 dating of the Shroud wrong.
Various “invalid sample” theories have been offered and subsequently disproven.
The only answer that makes sense seems to be that the Shroud was subjected to thermal neutron radiation at some point.

Mark Antonacci explains this idea, the Historically Consistent Hypothesis, in his new book:**

Why does the cosmos, the natural world, human physiology and basically EVERYTHING else require so much study to be understood?

If our human bodies were simple enough to be easily understood, they could not support a mind large enough to understand them.



Don’t know if this is off topic or not … but my pastor gave a homily a couple of weeks ago … that he got an emergency call to his [at the time] local hospital. So he went over between Sunday Masses and visited someone who had just died.

He was a young priest at the time. What should he do?

Well, the guidance from his seminary studies was to touch the body and if the deceased was still warm to the touch, to administer an anointing.

The person’s arm was slightly warm, so … he anointed the body.

At that point he had to return immediately to his church to say another Sunday Mass.

After the second Mass, he went back to the hospital.

The body was no longer in the emergency room; he assumed it had been removed to the hosptial morgue.

He asked around and found the [formerly] “deceased person” sitting up in a chair and chatting with relatives.

Go figure.

Later he received a very gracious letter from the family.

And the hospital staff, who had seen everything, had a new experience to share.

Is this applicable?

Is this a connection with the supernatural and/or the transcendental?

I would disagree. What is experienced is the ‘separation of body and soul’. Once this separation occurs, the only part of the person that is still living is the soul. So, the soul does not ‘experience’ the decay of the body (nor, would we say, does it observe it). The only ones who experience “the horror of death … the deterioration of the body” are those who are still alive and witness these events.

And yes, we are a unity of soul and body … but that unity is sundered at death. That’s the very real ‘horror’ of death – that we quit being the person that we had been.

So, inasmuch as He experienced the separation of body and soul, Christ did experience death in the way that humans do.

No, that is not my claim. However, I will say that every single “Incorruptible” I have ever heard anyone mention, including Tim Staples here on “Catholic Answers Live”, has been obviously decaying. I strongly doubt there are any “Incorruptibles”, and it is scandalous to speak of this embarrassing superstition.

Gorgias helps clarify Wesrock’s explanation, thanks. I suppose the mistake I was making was that, in trying to hold clearly the unity of soul and body, especially in opposition to the modern LGBT ideology, that I was implicitly conflating the soul and body, thereby insisting that the soul experience the decay of the body.

But I think there’s another element not yet addressed: The Catechism claims that Jesus’ body did not suffer corruption because it was “assumed by the divine person” of Jesus. Your explanations make it sound like our person is no longer connected with our body, unlike Jesus. Do you mean that, and do you mean to suggest that it is a difference between being a human person and being a divine person?

Ultimately, I find this discouraging: I am reminded of how I cannot really relate to Jesus, even though He is human, because He is divine. It’s not clear to me how he really suffered, having never lost the Beatific Vision (having never lost his connection to the Father), when perhaps most of my suffering comes from not knowing (or not being able to believe) that God is really there. It seems like my experience (and everyone else’s) is fundamentally different from Jesus’.

No, that is not my claim. However, I will say that every single “Incorruptible” I have ever heard of, including from Tim Staples here on “Catholic Answers Live”, has been obviously decaying. I strongly doubt there are any “Incorruptibles”, and it is scandalous to speak of this embarrassing superstition. To be frank, I lost some respect for Tim Staples after I heard him promote them as examples of miracles – and on multiple occasions. I still can’t understand it, because they’re so obviously rotting, even to the point where they have to put masks over the faces of many of them. All you have to do is look at them to see that it’s a decaying corpse and not someone sleeping.

Can the Catechism be so easily revised? Is it not “ordinary teaching of the Magisterium”? What determines whether or not the Catechism is infallible teaching? Isn’t it held by all the bishops universally, and therefore infallible? Or is it only therefore ‘ordinary teaching’, something Christians are not free to disbelieve, but not itself infallible?

It seems like this is a “fallacy of composition” mistake, since the mind is spiritual, not physical, according to Frank Sheed. (Is he wrong?) And what do those letters mean, again?

Also, I was not complaining that physiology was complex; I was complaining that the Bible, with phrases like “You won’t let Your Holy One see corruption”, is deliberately unclear. It’s a fundamental problem with most Biblical prophecies: God apparently doesn’t want us to understand them until after they’ve been fulfilled.

cool story, bro! :thumbsup: It appears tangential to this thread, but I’m glad to see some people feel a connection to God.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but seems to me that the “Bible” was not written in English.

So, seems to me that studies of various translation efforts seem to be needed.

Perhaps the misunderstanding is built into how the meaning of “incorruptible” is understood.

The word means “not corrupted” but that does not necessarily entail not corrupted AT ALL. It may mean not corrupted to the extent that it should have been under natural conditions. Thus a body that should have been reduced to dry bones under the conditions to which it has been exposed over a time of, say, three hundred years, but has only slightly been changed from the time of death has not been corrupted to the extent that it should have been. It is therefore still “not corrupted” to some extent even though you insist it should not have been corrupted at all to fit your definition. I disagree.

I would think that a body that ought to have been reduced to bone but is still in virtually the same condition it was just moments after death is still incorrupted to a great and miraculous degree. Your insistence that it must not be corrupted AT ALL seems just a tad picayune.

Also, not to be gross, but a lot of times the masks, wax parts, etc. are there to replace body parts that were cut off and taken elsewhere to use as relics. There are also a lot of saints who have been attacked after death, or who were subject to destructive scientific study or being torn apart by hostile governments long after death. If you are really curious, you can usually find out what’s going on, and it turns out to be nothing sketchy.

The usual thing is to find that certain body parts are incorruptible, often ones associated with the saint’s work, while the rest of the body is not.

Incorruption is not always complete, nor is it forever.

Often the atmosphere will react with the skin over time. And some saints have been “incorrupt” for many years and then gone back into nature.


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