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"Kirk first encountered the Shroud [of Turin] while offhandedly visiting the Cathedral of San Giovanni Battista in Torino, Italy, in 1957 when he attended a Mont Pelerin Society conference. Here, he claimed, he encountered the face of God. 'The face was wondrously distinct, almost accurate as a plaster death mask: a strong face, composed in death, with long straight hair, and bearded,' he remembered. This stood not only as a monument to faith, Kirk believed, but to the Roman Catholic Church itself, having protected this fragment of cloth for nearly two thousand years of history."