The Turin Shroud, believed by many to be the last veil of Jesus Christ, has been accidentally thrown in a washing machine by a contract cleaner at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin. Worse news was to follow when the sacred relic was discovered to have been died pink by an errant red T-shirt.
The mistake was noticed half way through the economy spin cycle after a cardinal raised the alarm that the shroud had gone missing.
‘I just couldn’t believe it,’ said cleaner Rosa-Maria Delarosa. ‘The bishop himself came running in and asked where the shroud was. You should have seen their faces when I explained. It was like something you see in one of those prank shows. I half expected a TV crew to pop out any minute. Sadly they didn’t.’
Rosa, who is two months into a three month contract which she still hopes will be renewed, explained how the mix up happened. ‘I just thought it looked so dirty that I put it in the wash with the priest’s vestments and everything else. I thought it was just an old rag, it was so smelly.’ Without realising it, Rosa may have also opened a new debate on the authenticity of the shroud. ‘I pretty much followed the washing instructions on the label. I did add some fabric conditioner, so on the plus side it feels much softer now.’
The Vatican was forced to admit the error after a gay Christian group had claimed that the ‘miracle of the pink shroud’ was proof that God was tolerant and welcoming to gays. However, a Vatican spokesman said they would rather admit the shroud is a fake than change their stance on homosexuality, adding: ‘Look the shroud also shrunk; are you saying that Jesus was a dwarf too?’
Vatican spin doctors have since been battling to contradict the damaging headlines in the Italian tabloids. One cardinal was seen shouting into his mobile phone; ‘No, the Pope did not say ‘Jesus ‘was a gay dwarf.’
(first published 1/2/07)
Malgor and Redland Wolf