The fourth and final episode of the first season of Mysteries of the Faith brings out a contrasting aspect of the believers in religion and the non-believers. There is a mention of the different scientific experiments that have been conducted on the relics to prove their authenticity. Several events in different parts of the world connecting religious relics important for believers in Christianity have been presented in this episode. Streaming on Netflix, the mini-docu series does not blindly show a biased side of faith but also focuses on certain scientific evidence stating otherwise. It is left to the decisions of the audiences as to which angle of the story they are to believe. What opinions are brought out by the believers and the non-believers in the episode? Let’s find out!
What Made Rosario Livatino’s Shirt A Famous Relic?
A magistrate, Rosario Livatino, had been killed in Sicily. Rosario Livatino, who was a staunch believer in Christianity and Marcello Semeraro, one of the Vatican’s most senior cardinals, compared Rosario’s death with the death of Jesus, as he was a non-corruptible man who fought for the truth. He was considered to be a renowned judge of his time. The bloody shirt that he wore on the day of his death was to be considered the latest modern Holy relic of the church, as declared by Marcello, and was chosen to inspire new faith among the people. Don Gero Manganello, the custodian of the relic, was of the opinion that it was preserved for almost 30 years by Caltanissetta’s court and was never given back to the family so that they would not suffer at the sight of it. Salvatore Insenga, the cousin of Rosario, stated that he felt a void upon receiving the news of his cousin’s death. Rosario knew that the noble path that he was on attracted the attention of the mafia and that he could get killed, which eventually did happen!
What Is The Importance Of The Media In Spreading Awareness About The Relics?
As stated by Dr. Emma Southon, modern relics are an important way to demonstrate the significance of the Catholic Church as an active part of the world. In the 1980s, many innocents were murdered by the mafia in Sicily, and the lawmakers were a particular target. It was mostly done to spread terror and send out messages of violence in society. Rosario died for the salvation of humanity, and after three years of his death, Pope John Paul II held a mass on national television. He had publicly denounced the mafia for the first time ever on a national platform. The Pope had done this act of calling Rosario a martyr as a part of the Vatican project, according to Dr. Emma Southon. He inspired everyone to think that they could be martyrs, and the message was that we all have holiness within.
On April 22, 2017, the Vatican began searching for modern holy figures, as enforced by Pope Francis himself. He was calling in a search for some saints who would be present for the everyday chores at the Cathedral. There is a whole department dedicated to the relics in the Vatican, as they depict stories of the holiness of God. According to Marcello Semeraro, without relics, there is no hope. The Vatican in recent times makes the media a magnet to help attain greater reach of the religious relics. Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, preached the glory of the Holy Face through different media platforms. Peaking the world’s interest in the Holy face, Dr. Robert Cargill talks about the importance of the visit of the Pope to Manoppello and how he left without declaring the face of Christ to be a miracle, hence making its authenticity contestable. Don Gero, the custodian of the shirt of Rosario, hopes to change the mentality of the people around him by making the relic well-known to others and bringing hope to them eventually. The shirt is currently used as a tool for public relations and is taken on several pilgrimages by Gero, helping it gain greater global attention on YouTube. The Vatican makes use of all social media platforms to spread its messages and beliefs. It also helped the Notre Dame Cathedral come back to life after the fire, as social media promotion has helped it garner donations from the believers. In modern times, there is a crisis of faith, eventually opening an important place to search for the meaning of one’s life and existence.
What Were The Claims Of Robert Falcinelli?
The first ever art historian who was allowed to study the veil was Robert Falcinelli. He started conducting research on the veil of the Holy Face in 1989. He had taken macro and micro images of the veil, confirming there was pigment on it. He had therefore declared the veil to be a mere painting and not an impression of the Lord. The research and its results were not appreciated by the people of Manoppello. The Pope’s presence in Manoppello gave many people hope that the veil could really have magical powers, but the Vatican chose to remain silent and never commented on the claims of Falcinelli. There were further debates about the origin of the veil, which had been inspired by Falcinelli’s claims. Chiara Vigo, a believer, stated that the fabric of the veil is byssus, which is an element of the sea, also known as the sea-silk, that is derived from molluscs, which are then harvested and woven. It has been claimed to be an expensive fabric that could have been accessible to wealthy people in the past. It is believed that the disciples of Christ wrapped his body in the finest and most expensive clothing that was available during that time. Whether true or not, the enigma of the story woven around the fabric of the veil continues to draw the attention of more people over time.
What Is The Importance Of Shroud Of Turin?
Dr. Guy Hayward, the founder of the British Pilgrimage Trust, stated that the shroud of Turin was the burial cloth of Jesus as it had a blood-stained image of the Lord, making it a Holy relic for centuries. The shroud of Turin is said to have a close relationship with the shroud of Manoppello, as they are similar. In 1988, several experiments were carried out using carbon dating technology to test the time span of the existence of the shroud. John Paul II had taken a strict step in approving further tests on the shroud of Turin. Dr. Emma Southon said that the experiments found out that the flax for the cloth was harvested between the time spans of 1260 and 1390, hence belonging to medieval times. It was therefore not in line with the time span of Jesus’ existence. The Vatican had completely ignored the results of the tests, however, that did make it more famous among the believers. The shroud was still considered an object of importance by Pope John Paul II, who declared it an icon written in Christ’s blood. By the time of Pope Francis’ arrival three years later, millions of people had crowded to see the shroud because of its increased fame.
Did The Faith Of The Believers Waver?
Rossella, a staunch believer, has faith in the face of the risen Christ and feels peace when she looks at it. She says that in 2004, while she was on a campsite for a holiday, she dreamt of a holy face, moving to and forth. After exactly 2 days, she had a heart attack but was revived. She strongly believes that the Lord guided the doctors in bringing her back to life. There was an increased faith in the relics due to the mysterious events that connected them to the betterment of health. Father Antonio Gentili, the custodian of the veil, intends to make it even more widely known so that more people could become believers. The Holy relics help one connect to God and bring people hope in difficult situations. The mysterious relics are perfect for mingling with the elements of faith and engaging with the segments of life that we cannot completely comprehend.
This episode brings out certain critiques and scientific evidence that bring out the drawbacks of religion. The importance of the different modern relics and the role that media plays in spreading their popularity play a significant role in the series. The final episode had been well-knitted, keeping the audience glued to their seats throughout. The episode leaves it to the audience as to whether they are to believe in the scientific evidence, remain neutral, or ignore it and stick to the religious dogmas. While there are proofs for the science associated with the mystery of religion, there are also a lot of miracles that make us think otherwise. I was left wondering which path to choose: the one that has evidence or the one that is solely dependent on miracles.