- LONDON (www.nando.net) -- A movie based on the idea of cloning Jesus
Christ from DNA material found on the Shroud of Turin was dismissed by
churches Thursday as "fanciful."
- Filmmaker David Rolfe is planning to
make a "spine-chilling" science fiction thriller about international
power games and a cloned Jesus. Rolfe, who has done research on the shroud,
maintains the "'Jurassic Park'-style idea" has some plausibility.
He claims that the cardinal of Turin has called for the return of blood
samples taken from the shroud and given to scientists for testing.
- "Obviously, the church itself would
not sanction or instigate cloning from the shroud, but they can't rule
out the possibility that someone else might try it," Rolfe said. "Someone
in possession of the shroud might just put together enough DNA from the
blood on it to clone, 'Jurassic Park'-style, the person to whom the blood
belonged, whoever it may be."
- Rolfe believes an arson attack last year
on the Turin chapel that houses the shroud could have been a bungled attempt
to steal it for this very purpose.
- But spokesmen and theologians described
the idea as pure fantasy.
- The Rev. David Hilborn, theological secretary
to Britain's Evangelical Alliance, pointed out that carbon dating tests
on the shroud in 1988 had concluded that it was medieval fabric.
- "The shroud has been pretty conclusively
debunked, but leaving that aside, you cannot clone Jesus Christ anyway.
God does not have DNA," Hilborn said. "If you cloned cells from
the grave clothes, you might get someone who looked like Jesus, spoke like
Jesus, but it would be a mere physical similarity. He would not be the
lord and master of the universe."
- A spokesman for the Church of England
said the possibility of cloning Jesus Christ potentially posed "huge
theological questions" as to the nature of individual personality
in an age of genetic science, as well as the age-old questions of the Incarnation
-- how Christ was both fully God and fully human. "So far, mercifully,
cloning Christ is hypothetical," he concluded.
- Monsignor Kieran Conry, a spokesman for
the Catholic Church, dismissed the idea as fit only for a kids' cartoon.
"You'd only get one side of the story -- Jesus's humanity," he
- The Edinburgh institute that cloned Dolly
the sheep was similarly dismissive about the possibility of re-creating
a human being from organic matter that had long been dead. Harry Griffin,
assistant director of the Roslin Institute, said: "You need live cells
rather than DNA for cloning, and will continue to do so for the imaginable
- But Michael Clift, general secretary
of the British Society for the Turin Shroud, believes in the potential
of Rolfe's plot scenario. "We would have the body of Christ,"
he said, "but whether we would have the mind or the consciousness
of Christ.-- we are in the wilds of fantasy."
- On a personal note, Clift added: "I
believe that if you had the body of Christ, you would have the mind of
Christ also. I have always thought that when the Second Coming happens,
it will be a wonderful surprise."