There is nothing wrong with a crucifix and there is nothing wrong with an empty cross. Both crosses tell a powerful story, one speaks of the Christ dying in agony for our sins. The other of the Christ who is no longer on the cross, but has arisen. Catholics should not condemn Protestants for holding high an empty cross and neither should Protestants decry Catholics who proclaim Christ crucified. There simply is no issue here.
Here here here! Good post.
I currently work as a Chaplain’s Assistant in the United States Army. We do Ecumenism much better than most civilians. Remember, it was actually several hundred years after Christ before Christians began to display crosses as decorations…for the first 300 years of the Church crucifixion was still a brutal and widely used form of execution. And if I recall my history right, it was a while after this that we began to include the corpus on the cross. Further, I recall that some of the reformers dropped the corpus for fear of idolatry…
having said that…both are valid, Catholics foucus on the sacrafice by keeping the corpus, Protestants focus on the victory with the empty cross…and both are valid.
One Chaplain I worked with, a presbyterian (PCUSA I think) would have me leave the crucifix and the stations out during his service quite often…and ALWAYS during lent.
We Christians, Catholic and Protestants, would honor Christ much more if we acknowledged our differences and focused on our commonality. With very few exceptions this is what I’ve seen Army Chaplains do…I’m Catholic and my best prayer partner is Evangelical. My boss is Southern Baptist (but, as he says, not the scary kind…i.e he enjoys a beer…publically…and dances…etc)…the priest we have is one of the best I’ve ever seen civilian or military…since he came to us in January the Catholic mass attendance has grown by more than 1/3…enough that we have 40 to 50 people standing because of a lack of seating (this is a good problem to have) and we’re looking at adding a Sunday Afternoon Mass to reach the younger soldiers…all this said because he’s praised equally by the Catholic and Protestant congregations.
One of our Chaplains is married to a Catholic woman…they attend mass together…and then he conducts the Protestant worship immediately following…he says he goes to share Christ with his wife…but the added benefit is now he gets to steal sermon ideas.
Guys…we have real differences…and some that can’t be ignored…but some that can…instead of Protestants accusing Catholics of idolatry or not trusting the resurrection because we use the corpus…or instead of Catholics saying Protestants don’t acknowledge the brutal sacrafice on our behalf…acknowledge that the other has a rich traditon in why it uses corpus or not…and MOVE ON…this is one of the little issues that shouldn’t divide us and doesn’t please God.