ANSWERS: 23
  • In Catholic churches, the emphasis is on the sacrifice involved in the Crucifixion. In Protestant churches, the emphasis is on the empty cross symbolizing the Risen Christ who overcame death by His Resurrection. I believe that technically, the word 'crucifix' means that the body of Christ is on it, the word 'cross' is the form without the body.
  • According to The Catholic Encyclopedia, the "undisguised cross" first appears in the early years of the fifth century. About 200 years passed before a realistic image of Jesus was depicted as adhering to the cross, several hundred more years went by before Jesus was portrayed as a suffering savior If a person focused only on the empty cross, he may think it possible to forget the cost of the sacrifice of love so great, love so amazing, so divine. Then it becomes antiseptic, clean, painless, sentimental. Those would be the dangers of the empty cross. That's the difference between Catholic and Protestant belief of the cross and suffering represented by it. "One of the more striking differences between Catholics and Protestants is that many Catholic crosses have an image of Jesus hanging on them, while Protestant crosses are empty. (The cross with Christ on it is a crucifix.) Why the difference? Some Protestants criticize the use of the crucifix by stressing that Jesus rose from the dead, and is no longer on the cross. Yet Catholics historically believe in the resurrection as well. One minor reason that Protestants use an empty cross is that some early Protestant reformers were very cautious about images of Christ. Crosses are frequent in places of worship, but these reformers believed that using images of God in worship was a violation of the second commandment." http://faith.propadeutic.com/cross.html
  • The intent of the early Roman Catholic Church was to focus on the Crucifixion, the death of Jesus, His suffering and sacrifice, and emphasizes our unworthiness of His grace. After the reformation (See Martin Luther, or the Protestant Reformation) The Protestant Church began to focus more on the resurrection, and the grace offered only through that same resurrection. The symbolism of the empty cross emphasizes the resurrection, while the Crucifix emphasizes the Crucifixion itself. The Protestant Church considers the cross symbolic of the crucifixion and resurrection. The Catholic Church considers the Crucifix itself to be holy; similiarly to the difference between the symbolic consideration of communion in the Protestant church, vs. the doctrine of transubstatiation, which considers the elements of the host (the bread and wine) to be the actual body and blood of Christ shed via His death, not a symbol of the body and blood of Christ which represents the death, resurrection and grace of Christ.
  • In Exodus 20:4 it strickly states: Exod.20 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
  • As a comedian somewhere once said, "Catholics mourn their faith, Protestants celebrate it." From the rather unique perspective of an athest raised protestant and sent to a catholic school I must say it is a fundamental difference in the way that the two forms of Christians look at things. Protestants are more into the future (ex. the next coming of Christ, the Rapture, etc.) while Catholics are more into the past (ex. Communion, confession, holy orders, etc.). I, having asked this question both at church and school in the fifth grade, got the following answers: A Pastor (most protestants' church leader(s) are called pastors, while Catholics have Priests) once told me, "A Crucifix is just too depressing. That's not what we're here for. We are here to celebrate. Every day here is a good day. None of that guilt." While my school Religion (really just the Catholic "religion" though) teacher said, "Jesus died for us and we can't forget that. Plus, the most important part of that cross is that he died on it." And, because mother knows best, my mom told me in fifth grade that "Yeah, he did die, but now he's alive again. No need to hang him back up there." Do with it what you will I suppose.
  • Hope of the Human Race, Victory over Satan, Cleansing of Sin, the Open Door to Heaven Answers to Protestant Objections To The Crucifix This Rock Volume 11, Number 10 October 2000 http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2000/0010fea4.asp By Mary Beth Kremski It wasn’t until I found myself wanting a crucifix that I felt force of Protestantism’s opposition to this particular sign. It happened during my "homecoming" to the Catholic Church. I remember having the strange notion that it would require courage for me to be seen wearing a crucifix. Why? Because to most of my Protestant friends a crucifix was "a sign to be spoken against" (cf. Luke 2:34). It was seen as a Catholic symbol—bad enough in itself—that revealed Catholicism’s lack of appreciation for the resurrection and its desire to "keep Jesus on the cross." The implication was that a real Christian doesn’t wear a crucifix. I’d gone along with the Protestant prohibition against crucifixes without giving it much thought. When it became an issue for me, I realized that was exactly the problem. Not only I, but, it seemed, the vast majority of Protestants hadn’t given their objection to the crucifix much real thought. It was a part of Protestant culture that we accepted and handed on unquestioningly. Upon my return to the Catholic Church, I was struck by how far from the truth Protestant beliefs on this subject really are. Does the Catholic Church cling to the crucifix because it would rather avoid the resurrection? Consider this: My Protestant church celebrated Easter for one day. The Catholic Church celebrates Easter for 50 days—not including each Sunday of the year, which are seen as "little" Easters. The Mass never fails to proclaim the resurrection of Christ. And the Church’s daily prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours, is filled with Scripture and prayers rejoicing in the resurrection. The idea that the Catholic Church downplays the resurrection is so obviously erroneous that anyone can unmask this misconception with only minor effort. But my fellow Protestants and I hadn’t made that effort. Instead, we professed to know the answers before we asked the questions. Having discovered just how wrong we were, and as a result growing in my own appreciation of the crucifix, I couldn’t help but wonder, "If Protestants understood the real reasons Catholics love the crucifix, if they could see what we see when we look at Jesus crucified, wouldn’t they too come to love it?" It’s not surprising the crucifix offends many Protestants if they see it as an attempt to keep Jesus on the cross and to keep from Christians the benefits of the resurrection. But what they see when they look at a crucifix is not what I see, nor what Catholics through the centuries have seen. What I see is not a dead Jesus who offends me but a vivid reminder of the very essence of salvation—my own sinfulness that made such an extreme sacrifice necessary and the incomprehensible love of God incarnate laying down his life for me. In the crucifix, I see the hope of the human race, victory over Satan, the cleansing of sin, and the open door to heaven. I see a school of love, humility, forgiveness of our enemies, and all the other virtues. "Consider Jesus on the cross as you would a devout book worthy of your unceasing study and by which you may learn the practice of the most heroic virtues" (Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, The Spiritual Combat, 155–156). When I look at Christ crucified, I don’t see weakness and defeat but "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1: 23–24)—the holy wisdom of divine love. And I hear "Love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). The crucifix also tells us that suffering is not something to fear as though it could rob us of the fullness of Christian life. Because Jesus made suffering a servant in the cause of redemption, if received with faith, suffering can unite us to him in a way few things can. Only Jesus crucified can make sense of and give purpose to human suffering. And what does it stir in a heart that loves Jesus to look upon the crucifix? Faith and confidence to trust in such a God as this. Hope—in the knowledge that salvation is firmly founded on this one perfect sacrifice. And love—a desire to return love for love. Giorgio Tiepolo writes, "Anyone who does not fall in love with God by looking at Jesus dead upon the cross will never fall in love" (The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ, 11). And love refuses to forget the suffering of the Beloved. Why would we want to dismiss from our minds what he went through for us? We memorialize the sacrifice of our war veterans. And Holocaust survivors implore us to "never forget." Why? Because love remembers. Does focusing on the crucifix cause the resurrection to slip from view? On the contrary, it brings to mind the great gift that the slain Lamb of God gained for all who believe—life everlasting. We fall victim to a false dichotomy if we think the crucifix is an offense to the resurrected Lord. The Catholic Church teaches that the crucifixion and resurrection are part of one whole: the paschal mystery. When we look at a crucifix, it is never without the awareness that Christ’s suffering ended in the victory of the resurrection. And when we rejoice in the resurrection, we are to be always mindful of the fact that it sprang from the perfect sacrifice of our Lord on Calvary. The Catholic Church is in love with all of Christ’s life. Depictions of its stages can be found in her art and churches. Nothing in the life of Christ is thought to be insignificant. What sense, then, would it make to exclude representations of the central mystery of the crucified Lamb? There’s more, however, to Protestantism’s aversion to the crucifix than misconceptions about why Catholics love it. Although not explicitly stated as a tenet of faith, in many Protestant denominations the work and suffering of the crucifixion are seen as being fixed in the past. Now is the time to reap the fruits—-salvation, healing, deliverance. The suffering is over; the work is done. (The "health and wealth" teachers take this idea to the extreme. No suffering for us—just the perks.) A plain cross, as opposed to a crucifix, serves this theology nicely. It can indicate the source of salvation without too vivid a reminder of the actual suffering involved—the wounds, the blood, the death. Now, I’m not opposed to the plain cross. It’s a beautiful symbol, but not to the exclusion of the crucifix. Error results whenever we cling so tightly to one aspect of the truth that we can’t open our hands—or our minds—to receive its fullness. Yes, the crucifixion is past in history, but it’s not just a historical event. Yes, Jesus’ work on the cross is "finished," as he said, but that does not preclude our participation in his work. The idea that Jesus suffered so we don’t have to is not biblical. Peter says, "For to this [suffering] you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). And our Lord himself tells us, "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27). Not only are we called to suffer like Jesus, i.e., in imitation of him, but we are called to suffer with Jesus, to participate in the one redeeming sacrifice of Calvary. Scripture leaves no doubt of this: "The cup that I drink you will drink," says our Lord (Mark 10:39), referring to his passion and death. "Rejoice in so far as you share in the sufferings of Christ that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed" (1 Ptr. 4:13). "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). "I have suffered the loss of all things . . . that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead" (Phil. 3:8, 10–11). "[We are] fellow heirs with Christ provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him" (Rom. 8:17). Then there’s this clincher: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ for the sake of his body, that is, the church" (Col. 1:24, emphasis added). Notice the vital connection between our personal participation in the sufferings of Christ and reaping the fruits of those sufferings—i.e., grace for other members of the body, glory, resurrection, the inheritance of Christ. But, we may ask, how can this be? The crucifixion took place almost 2,000 years ago—can we go back in time? If Jesus finished the work of redemption on the cross, what’s left to be done? The temporal factor, of course, isn’t a problem for God, who operates outside time. It’s true that the crucifixion happened at a particular point in earthly history, and Jesus doesn’t relive it over and over again. But it is, so to speak, "preserved" in eternity, ever present to the Eternal One. In addition, the actions of Christ, because he is infinite God, reverberate through the centuries, and are, in a sense, ever-living. That leads to the second question: What need is there for me to share in the crucifixion? What could possibly be "lacking" in the finished work of Christ? In Jesus, who is the head of the body of Christ, nothing is lacking. His work is perfect. What remains to be done is for this perfect work to be "distributed" to each of the members of his body throughout time. After all, how can we claim to share the mission of Jesus if we take no part in his most important work—the work of redemption accomplished on the cross? And how can we be one with his heart if the idea of suffering for the sake of others is foreign to us? If the suffering and work of Calvary are, as some Protestants claim, past history, leaving nothing for us to do, then maybe using only a plain cross might make sense—maybe. But when we know that Jesus is inviting each of us to join him at Calvary, the value of the crucifix in helping us respond to him becomes obvious. This call to suffer with Christ is an invitation to transforming love. Through the experience of the cross, we touch the inner heart of God. The saints tell us that’s where joy and power reside. In spite of many Protestant misconceptions regarding Catholics and the crucifix, I remain hopeful that their objection to this symbol may someday be overcome, that—even if never embraced as fully as among Catholics—the crucifix may find a meaningful place in those Protestant faiths that oppose it. There’s evidence to suggest we’re not as far apart on this issue as it might seem. Without thinking of it as such, Protestants have already been making use of the crucifix in a variety of ways. Films produced by Protestants contain scenes of the crucifixion more vivid than any crucifix. On the back cover of a magazine published by a prominent Baptist minister, a painting of the crucifixion was displayed. Then there was the night I attended a dinner at an Evangelical church. The guest speaker was illustrating her points with overhead transparencies. At the end, she began to give the usual invitation to accept Christ as Savior. Just then, I looked up and there it was, projected front and center: a crucifix. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:14–15). Just as Moses knew that for healing to occur, the people needed to see not just a plain pole but the serpent on the pole, so too it seemed our speaker instinctively knew that, in order to grasp the message of salvation, the people needed to see not just a plain cross but the lamb slain upon the cross. They needed to see a crucifix. Mary Beth Kremski is a third order Carmelite. She writes from Forty Fort, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband, Stan.
  • Protestants also believe that praying to a statue of the Virgin Mary is breaking the second commandment. After all, Jesus died for our sins and He became the intermediary between His Father and us, not His mother. She was only the conduit for His entry on this earth and has nothing to do with any of the rest of it.
  • Catholics sacrifice Jesus over and over again. Thats is why they have crosses with Christ still on. When they take communion they actually think they are drinking the real literal blood and body of Christ.Christ paid the debt for sin "once and for all" and He said " it is finished.They want to keep working for their salvation when Christ offers it to us freely! The cross without Christ still on it represents The risen Saviour. He has defeated Satan,and death. He is our risen Saviour seated at the right hand of God.
  • Having been a Protestant for 57 years and, now, a Roman Catholic for three, I can only tell you what I feel in my heart. Although I knew that Christ had died for my sins, it was, indeed, something that had happened so long ago that it hardly applied to my daily life. "Once saved, always saved" may very well apply to others, but I feel myself changed inwardly by the sufferings of Christ. Since my conversion, I, daily, feel moved by the greatest sacrifice ever made and apply it to how I live my life. There is a beauty in the Mass that I was unable to find in any other denomination, and I truly feel "at home" in my new faith. As I said, this is my story of faith, I cannot speak for others. For me, a crucifix is a reminder of what Christ did for me, and a plain cross now seems to be an understatement.
  • I don't know "why" but a comment on terminology... when the cross has the body of jesus on it. Its called a crucifix. When its bare its called a cross. So technically your wording is correct but redundant. I'm not being mean, just commenting and I am really interested in the actual answer of the question so +5.
  • Because Jesus left no guidance on the subject. There IS record that Jesus worshiped God but there is no record of him ever using either the cross or the crucifix in his worship. He was neither seen with them nor spoke of them. In other words neither of them probably crossed (no pun intended) the mind of Jesus therefore both were clearly of no importance to him.
  • The MOST important thing that Jesus did for us was die for our sins to give us the gift of everlasting life. He did rise from the dead but rising from the dead did not open the gates of heaven for us, dying for our sins did. A crucifix in no way denies the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the MOST important point in all of history. The crucifix reminds us of this moment. The following Scriptures even suggest that Jesus wants us to lift up his image: Numbers 21:8-9 states: And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will recover." Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered. And in John 3:14-15, Jesus says in correlation: "And just as Moses lifted up the [image of a] serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life." With love in Christ.
  • well he can't be on both at the same time can he?
  • The crucifix that has Jesus' body on it in the Catholic church, is not only a unique symbol, but also, for the unlearned. I learned about God from the statue of a man hanging on the cross. Without Jesus' body on the cross, I still would not have learned much about Him, since I was illiterate for the first 25 years of my life. Jesus' body on the cross is very important, specially in the remote corners of the uncivilized world, where most people who can not read and write. Central Kansas
  • There are those who went through the motions of their faith as Protestants and then found Jesus in their heart as Catholics and those who went through the motions of their faith as a Catholic and found Jesus in there heart as a Protestant. The key is a living relationship with Jesus Christ in your heart which can be accomplished as either a Catholic or Protestant. The ones that seem to do the most complaining on this topic are the ones that are probably still just going through the motions of their faith and haven’t yet found Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. The symbol of the cross with or without Jesus on it means nothing if you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your savior in your heart. It is just a symbol either way you look at it. The only thing that really matters is your relationship with Jesus. The people who truly understand this don’t really have a problem with either one. This is just faith preference and has nothing to do with your salvation which is the most important aspect of what Christ did on the cross.
  • I beilieve this says it all: Commentary Crosses, Crucifixes, Risen Christ on Crosses, OH MY! I can't help but wonder why we have to see the image of the resurrected Christ on the cross. Surely, it has profound meaning, like the image of a serpent wrapped around a cross that many ambulances have all over the country. Some of us don't know the meaning of that symbol, so I'll give you one big clue. If you read the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament, you'll find an account of fiery serpents biting at the Israelites. Moses made a bronze serpent, placing it on a standard so that those who were bitten by the snakes could look upon the statue and live. (Numbers 21:4-9) Symbols such as the Bronze Serpent have meanings behind it, just like the Crucifix has profound meaning. When I look at a resurrected Christ presented on a cross, I know the meaning of His salvific death. I find the image of the resurrected Christ on the cross to be very beautiful, but for me, it brings no meaning during Mass. Many of our youth, whether in High School or College are duped into believing it is the norm of our faith to have a resurrected Christ instead of a crucified Christ. The reason for this is because theologians are saying, "We are a resurrected people." That's a good thought, but if I don't have an understanding of the crucifixion, how then can I know of the resurrection or life after death? It is like putting the cart before the horse. The resurrection is given greater importance then His death, when in fact it is His passion, death and resurrection together, that brings me to salvation. If we put the resurrection before His death, how can youth understand the purpose of a suffering Christ as a way to holiness? What does the Crucifix mean to me? You and I both know that what identifies us as Catholic Christians from Protestant Christians is the Crucifix; the meaning of our very existence and our salvation. It is truly the way that each Christian should see him or herself in the face of trials, tribulations and even in danger of death. The crucifix gives every Christian strength and understanding, totally pinning us to the passion of our Lord. He, taking our sins to Himself, delivers us from the clutches of the master of death, so that we may live in His very being. He made it known to us through our Baptism! It is no wonder the Christian, who says and does the sign of the cross, reminds himself that he is intimately united to Christ on the Cross. Nothing can separate this except for sin. Sin tears us away from God, leaving us to die. Confession plays such an important role in the life of every Christian because the priest, during absolution, makes the sign of the cross towards the penitent, forgiving him as well as reminding him that his life is for Christ alone. No matter where we turn, hide, or run from the Lord, the meaning of the crucifix is in our being. We can't remove it, nor reject it; I am truly marked and crucified in Jesus. As He died on the cross, so did I. As He rose from the dead and into heaven, I too will enter with Him. The crucifix itself is a constant reminder to our youth and to all Christians that Jesus is truly present before us as well as in us. So it is, by understanding the Crucifix, we can understand our lives, which bear the mark of Christ through baptism. In this we become a resurrected people, but we can only understand this through symbols and images such as the Crucifix. Paul states firmly that: "At present I rejoice when I suffer for you; I complete in my own flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of the body, which is the Church." (Col 1:24) Is this not what every Christian, young or old, is called to live for? He is to be united to that passion, so that the future of the Church may be "the Light of the world." (Matt 5:14-15) When I speak of the future, I mean the youth, who are the Soldiers of Christ; prayer warriors called by their sacramental life to defend the honor and glory of their Lord Jesus Christ. They are our future Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious brothers and sisters, married or celibate laity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Crucifix brings meaning to these life vocations; fostering in them a healthy search for holiness in Christ. Removal of the corpus from the cross would only murder the reality of what being Catholic is all about. It would kill the meaning of self-sacrifice for others, the desire to be holy, or would leave our youth in constant confusion regarding their vocation in life. That is why it is important to foster a wholesome love for the Crucifix by teaching our youth and families the meaning of the signs, symbols and images which point to the crucifixion. How sad it is that some Catholic teachers in RCIA or CCD lead students in prayer without making the sign of the cross. To prevent the young from identifying themselves with the crucifixion weakens their walk with Christ. There are those whom we know to be good Catholic Christians, but are afraid to make a prayerful sign of the cross when passing a Church. They either look as though they are swatting flies from their face and chest, or they are paralyzed with fear to make the sign of the cross before people around them. This is why it is important to teach our youth the meaning of the crucifixion. If we are not given the strength to testify to our faith with the sign of the cross, how will we be able to testify to our faith in Christ on pain of death? There are other fears, such as offending our Protestant brothers and sisters who consider us fools in having a crucifix. To them, the mere thought of Jesus on the cross is foolish and at the same time idolatry. How Satan picks and chooses the ignorant to manifest his confusion amongst the faithful in Christ! He uses those who hate suffering to consider the image of the crucifixion a sick idea; a silly idea to scare the young into ending their sinful lives, while at the same time, drawing them into worshiping an image. Yet the fallen away Christian, who confuses the faithful, suffers under the reign of the confused. He prides himself in the Resurrection alone, but finds it hard to understand suffering in the world. He wonders how can there be suffering if Jesus is alive. He has always been taught to ignore the image of Jesus' suffering on the cross and to look upon such an image is foolish, which may lead him into idolatry like the Catholics, whom he considers to be damned. Catholics are bombarded with this idea and are left with confusion. But there is a simple defense to this madness. First, to have a crucifix is not idolatry. That means we do not worship the object as being God. It is an image of our Lord, like the picture I have of my Mom and Dad. I neither adore it as it being God, nor look to my Mom and Dad as both gods. I have the picture to remember them. Memory of them is like having them right in front of me. I can imagine the embrace they gave me every morning, the kiss good night before going to bed, and their blessing before leaving the house. The same is said of my Lord; I look to the crucifix and wonder at His Majesty, His Might, His Mercy, His Justice. I contemplate on who He is for me, and the price He paid for my salvation. These images help me to pray, to honor, and to adore Him as my Lord. It is important that every person who seeks the spiritual life understand it through the physical life, because it is logical for God to draw us to Himself through His creation. So what is wrong with having a Crucifix? Protestants have a cross; is that not a symbol or image? A symbol or image presents meaning and purpose. But for Catholics to look at a cross without a corpus provides us with no image of the Passion, while the corpus truly enforces the Gospel account, our Sacramental life, and our understanding of salvation through the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. There is no idolatry in reverencing a crucifix, or in calling a protestant minister "Reverend"; both are created things, representing the glory of God, but yet they are not God. Protestants who hold fast to this ignorant interpretation of ‘reverence’, believing that it means to adore an object, accuse us of adoring the crucifix. Meanwhile, by calling their minister ‘reverend’ they are committing the same sin. It is up to us, as Catholic Christians to defend the true meaning of the crucifix, which draws us to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you want to understand suffering and death then look to the crown of thorns that penetrate the sacred head of our Lord. If you want to know your life vocation and be willing to submit to the will of the Lord, look to His broken hands and feet, pierced by sharp nails. If you want to be a prayer warrior, courageous in battle against the evil one, look to His pierced heart that pours forth great fountains of blood and water. In these images, you will find comfort, humility and strength, but only through the Crucifix. Remove that from our Catholic worship, and you lose the whole point of being Catholic. There's nothing like a good old Crucifix, compared to the modern day Risen Christ on a cross. It makes a youthful heart a solid Christian. You don't have to ask me, ask the Saints of old; they're champs for the crucified Lord! Juan Rodriguez
  • Commentary Crosses, Crucifixes, Risen Christ on Crosses, OH MY! I can't help but wonder why we have to see the image of the resurrected Christ on the cross. Surely, it has profound meaning, like the image of a serpent wrapped around a cross that many ambulances have all over the country. Some of us don't know the meaning of that symbol, so I'll give you one big clue. If you read the Book of Numbers in the Old Testament, you'll find an account of fiery serpents biting at the Israelites. Moses made a bronze serpent, placing it on a standard so that those who were bitten by the snakes could look upon the statue and live. (Numbers 21:4-9) Symbols such as the Bronze Serpent have meanings behind it, just like the Crucifix has profound meaning. When I look at a resurrected Christ presented on a cross, I know the meaning of His salvific death. I find the image of the resurrected Christ on the cross to be very beautiful, but for me, it brings no meaning during Mass. Many of our youth, whether in High School or College are duped into believing it is the norm of our faith to have a resurrected Christ instead of a crucified Christ. The reason for this is because theologians are saying, "We are a resurrected people." That's a good thought, but if I don't have an understanding of the crucifixion, how then can I know of the resurrection or life after death? It is like putting the cart before the horse. The resurrection is given greater importance then His death, when in fact it is His passion, death and resurrection together, that brings me to salvation. If we put the resurrection before His death, how can youth understand the purpose of a suffering Christ as a way to holiness? What does the Crucifix mean to me? You and I both know that what identifies us as Catholic Christians from Protestant Christians is the Crucifix; the meaning of our very existence and our salvation. It is truly the way that each Christian should see him or herself in the face of trials, tribulations and even in danger of death. The crucifix gives every Christian strength and understanding, totally pinning us to the passion of our Lord. He, taking our sins to Himself, delivers us from the clutches of the master of death, so that we may live in His very being. He made it known to us through our Baptism! It is no wonder the Christian, who says and does the sign of the cross, reminds himself that he is intimately united to Christ on the Cross. Nothing can separate this except for sin. Sin tears us away from God, leaving us to die. Confession plays such an important role in the life of every Christian because the priest, during absolution, makes the sign of the cross towards the penitent, forgiving him as well as reminding him that his life is for Christ alone. No matter where we turn, hide, or run from the Lord, the meaning of the crucifix is in our being. We can't remove it, nor reject it; I am truly marked and crucified in Jesus. As He died on the cross, so did I. As He rose from the dead and into heaven, I too will enter with Him. The crucifix itself is a constant reminder to our youth and to all Christians that Jesus is truly present before us as well as in us. So it is, by understanding the Crucifix, we can understand our lives, which bear the mark of Christ through baptism. In this we become a resurrected people, but we can only understand this through symbols and images such as the Crucifix. Paul states firmly that: "At present I rejoice when I suffer for you; I complete in my own flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of the body, which is the Church." (Col 1:24) Is this not what every Christian, young or old, is called to live for? He is to be united to that passion, so that the future of the Church may be "the Light of the world." (Matt 5:14-15) When I speak of the future, I mean the youth, who are the Soldiers of Christ; prayer warriors called by their sacramental life to defend the honor and glory of their Lord Jesus Christ. They are our future Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious brothers and sisters, married or celibate laity of the Most Holy Trinity. The Crucifix brings meaning to these life vocations; fostering in them a healthy search for holiness in Christ. Removal of the corpus from the cross would only murder the reality of what being Catholic is all about. It would kill the meaning of self-sacrifice for others, the desire to be holy, or would leave our youth in constant confusion regarding their vocation in life. That is why it is important to foster a wholesome love for the Crucifix by teaching our youth and families the meaning of the signs, symbols and images which point to the crucifixion. How sad it is that some Catholic teachers in RCIA or CCD lead students in prayer without making the sign of the cross. To prevent the young from identifying themselves with the crucifixion weakens their walk with Christ. There are those whom we know to be good Catholic Christians, but are afraid to make a prayerful sign of the cross when passing a Church. They either look as though they are swatting flies from their face and chest, or they are paralyzed with fear to make the sign of the cross before people around them. This is why it is important to teach our youth the meaning of the crucifixion. If we are not given the strength to testify to our faith with the sign of the cross, how will we be able to testify to our faith in Christ on pain of death? There are other fears, such as offending our Protestant brothers and sisters who consider us fools in having a crucifix. To them, the mere thought of Jesus on the cross is foolish and at the same time idolatry. How Satan picks and chooses the ignorant to manifest his confusion amongst the faithful in Christ! He uses those who hate suffering to consider the image of the crucifixion a sick idea; a silly idea to scare the young into ending their sinful lives, while at the same time, drawing them into worshiping an image. Yet the fallen away Christian, who confuses the faithful, suffers under the reign of the confused. He prides himself in the Resurrection alone, but finds it hard to understand suffering in the world. He wonders how can there be suffering if Jesus is alive. He has always been taught to ignore the image of Jesus' suffering on the cross and to look upon such an image is foolish, which may lead him into idolatry like the Catholics, whom he considers to be damned. Catholics are bombarded with this idea and are left with confusion. But there is a simple defense to this madness. First, to have a crucifix is not idolatry. That means we do not worship the object as being God. It is an image of our Lord, like the picture I have of my Mom and Dad. I neither adore it as it being God, nor look to my Mom and Dad as both gods. I have the picture to remember them. Memory of them is like having them right in front of me. I can imagine the embrace they gave me every morning, the kiss good night before going to bed, and their blessing before leaving the house. The same is said of my Lord; I look to the crucifix and wonder at His Majesty, His Might, His Mercy, His Justice. I contemplate on who He is for me, and the price He paid for my salvation. These images help me to pray, to honor, and to adore Him as my Lord. It is important that every person who seeks the spiritual life understand it through the physical life, because it is logical for God to draw us to Himself through His creation. So what is wrong with having a Crucifix? Protestants have a cross; is that not a symbol or image? A symbol or image presents meaning and purpose. But for Catholics to look at a cross without a corpus provides us with no image of the Passion, while the corpus truly enforces the Gospel account, our Sacramental life, and our understanding of salvation through the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. There is no idolatry in reverencing a crucifix, or in calling a protestant minister "Reverend"; both are created things, representing the glory of God, but yet they are not God. Protestants who hold fast to this ignorant interpretation of ‘reverence’, believing that it means to adore an object, accuse us of adoring the crucifix. Meanwhile, by calling their minister ‘reverend’ they are committing the same sin. It is up to us, as Catholic Christians to defend the true meaning of the crucifix, which draws us to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you want to understand suffering and death then look to the crown of thorns that penetrate the sacred head of our Lord. If you want to know your life vocation and be willing to submit to the will of the Lord, look to His broken hands and feet, pierced by sharp nails. If you want to be a prayer warrior, courageous in battle against the evil one, look to His pierced heart that pours forth great fountains of blood and water. In these images, you will find comfort, humility and strength, but only through the Crucifix. Remove that from our Catholic worship, and you lose the whole point of being Catholic. There's nothing like a good old Crucifix, compared to the modern day Risen Christ on a cross. It makes a youthful heart a solid Christian. You don't have to ask me, ask the Saints of old; they're champs for the crucified Lord! Juan Rodriguez
  • Short answer: Catholics do what St. Paul did - "...we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles" (1 Cor 1:23). The question about about statues and such was settled during the Second Council of Nicea. It was known as the Iconoclast issue and it was settled over 1200 years ago and over 700 years before the first Protestant church appeared.
  • Jesus Christ has risen and is no longer on the cross.
  • Everything that the Lord did/does is eternal. Past, present and future. What Christ did can still transform us - as much as it transformed a Roman soldier standing under the reality of the cross. St. Paul reminds at Pentecost all that happened to Christ and thousands converted to Christianity. The crucifix is a reminder of that reality and touches us when no words, no dogma, no human preaching, can reach us. When we hurt we cling to the crucifix and our pain is transformed in Christ. i can identify with my Lord and savior's real suffering in the Garden and at Gethsemane. It is not a bad thing to acknowledge that people do suffer as Christ suffered. The next time you visit someone suffering with the pain of cancer or facing death, give them a crucifix and you will see what happens for them spiritually. Yes, they will be open to the reality of the resurrection and the anticipation of the joy of the afterlife, but in that pain, our Lord understands as he also sweated blood and said, If it is possible, take this cup. He did not go celebrating to the cross.
  • The Protestant churches show him BC (Before Cross) and the Cathewlics show it as AC (After Cross). And, really, can you blame the dude, he probably got tired of just hanging around the Cathewlics...I know I would
  • I-D-O-L-A-T-R-Y. My 2 cents. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idolatry_in_Christianity
  • "Roman Catholic and High Anglican depictions of the cross are often crucifixes, in order to emphasize Jesus' sacrifice. Many Protestant traditions depict the cross without the corpus, interpreting this form as an indication of belief in the resurrection rather than as representing the interval between the death and the resurrection of Jesus." Source and further information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_cross

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