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.