An Excerpt from The Face of God

from "A Final Supplement"

"The Veil of Manoppello is the sudarium of Christ. This is the mysterious second cloth from the tomb of the crucified Christ that John the Evangelist discovered about forty hours after the death of Jesus in his empty tomb — together with another linen sheet, which is today preserved in Turin.

"Christ's tomb was not empty on the first Easter morning. There was nobody in it — that is true. Christ was no longer lying there. Yet in the decisive passage (Jn 20:5–7), it says of the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, that, "stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself." So the tomb was not empty. And it is unthinkable that John should have bothered himself with irrelevant details at this point.

"The two pieces of material bear two quite different images of Christ. And these two pictorial witnesses are free of anything that contradicts a single word of the Gospels. "The mystery of faith", we say in the Catholic Church, every time, following the divine transubstantiation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ: "We proclaim your death O Lord, and we celebrate your Resurrection." The two cloths tell of this mystery.

"It has therefore taken us some time to comprehend this, even approximately. This process is not yet completed. New pieces of knowledge are still being brought to bear on it as well as many strong arguments that make it probable that the Veil of Manoppello disappeared from Saint Peter's in Rome as early as 1527 — in the 'Sacco di Roma' — and not later, around 1606, for instance. More important, however, are the new developments and knowledge relating to the future of this, the most precious relic in the world, in which God really is going to reveal his merciful Face by means of this little piece of material to all who dwell upon the earth."

The Book

Read an excerpt

Paul Badde, born in 1948, is a best-selling author and renowned journ- alist and historian. Since 2000 he has been an editor of the German newspaper Die Welt, first as the Jerusalem correspondent and now as the Vatican correspondent in Rome. He is also the author of Maria of Guadalupe: Shaper of History, Shaper of Hearts and The Heavenly City. Read more