Q. 1. Recently, I was visiting a local Church, Saint Anne, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Upon entering the Church, the first thing that caught my attention was the front of the Church. There was a large cross with a human being on it, what appeared to be a nun in her robe, with her arms stretched up towards heaven. When I asked what it was, I was told that it was Christ resurrected. Is this a new trend in the Catholic Church, to remove Christ Who was crucified for our sins and to replace Him with what appears to be a resurrected female with her arms stretched upwards? I personally find this very repulsive. In my opinion, it is a mockery of the crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
A. 1. My friend in Christ, I sympathize with you for I share in your suffering. You are but one of thousands of Catholics who have been spiritually shocked and who have left their Parish Church, never to return.
The word "Crucifix," is from the Latin "cruci-fixus", meaning fixed to the cross. Crucifixion was the Roman Empire form of execution. A blank cross in the Catholic church would be ill defined because of not pertaining to Who was crucified. Equally, a resurrected person, man or woman in a robe in front of a cross, would be ill defined because of not pertaining to Who was crucified. This is equal to starting a new form of worship in a new religion. It is not the Catholic traditional way.
The presence of the Crucifix in our Churches, schools, public building, homes and rooms keeps Jesus present in our minds. It reminds us of the moment when He made the ultimate sacrifice for each and everyone of us. It is a manifestation of the love of God for us.
The crucifix is like a book telling us the story of the Passion of Christ. It helps the living to resist sin; it reminds the dying of God's loving mercy.
According to the Book of Blessings, # 1235 "The image of the cross should preferably be a crucifix, that is, have the corpus attached, especially in the case of a cross that is erected in a place of honor inside a church."
According to the General Instruction, # 79 "There is also to be a cross on or near the altar. The candles and cross may be carried in the entrance procession." The Ceremonial of Bishops comments that the image on the cross is to face forward. (n. 128) In the Latin version, which is the authoritative version, "cross" is "crux" meaning a crucifix. This has always meant a crucifix. The same word is used in documents before and after the Second Vatican Council. Had a new interpretation of this word been intended, mention would have been made somewhere. A risen Christ crucifix is an oxymoron and does not fulfill the requirement for a crucifix since a risen Christ is not a crucified Christ. There is nothing wrong with having an image of a risen Christ or a plain cross elsewhere in the Church or even behind the altar as long as during Mass a crucifix is "on or near the altar."
On Good Friday, the primary focus of the entire Catholic Church is on the crucifixion. On this day, more than any other, the practice of venerating the crucifix should be encouraged. I can think of no logical argument to use a plain cross instead of a crucifix.
To venerate a cross without the corpus (Christ on it), is to adore a piece of wood. Such is a pagan practice.
Equally to venerate a cross with an alleged risen person on it, male or female, who does not even look like Christ, is an abuse of the Good Friday liturgy. It is the worshiping of an idol, a known or unknown person, maybe a nun, maybe an Arab in his robe, or possibly a female God (another liberal practice), as a substitute to the worship of Christ crucified. This is another step towards taking Christ out of the Church, first the Sacred Tabernacle, now the Crucifix.
To protest the abuse of Catholic teachings and tradition regarding the placement of the crucifix (cross with the Body of Christ on it), at the front of the Church, Catholics are encouraged to boycott such Churches until such time as it is removed. This boycott should be extended to any and all religious stores that sell such crosses that are a moquery of the Passion of Christ who died for our sins.