Crucifix question

Is a Catholic crucifix (particularly on a rosary) required to have a corpus?

I have noticed that crosses without the corpus are generally Protestant but I suspect that is an effect of the whole “graven images” thing. But can a rosary have just a simple cross without the corpus?

I would prefer if those of you who answer could provide citations supporting your view from the catechism or canon law or wherever.

Thanks to all in advance who can help clear this up for me.

No. The point is not the actual object, but the prayers. In fact, to say the rosary you don’t need a rosary at all! Often times when I’m on the bus on my way home I use my fingers.

Well, technically speaking, a crucifix is a cross (crux) with a corpus fixed upon it (fixus). So a crucifix isn’t a crucifix without a corpus. But I don’t think there is an official requirement that a Rosary have a crucifix rather than a simple cross.

In my protestant (Methodist) church, my ministers say that they don’t have a crucifix because it is too graphic and it offends people.
Catholics are quite different I guess.

I personally like to see Christ on the cross so that I can meditate better on the sacrifice he made.
And a cross is only called a cross if Jesus is not on it. But if he is on it then it is called a crucifix.

Mormons don’t wear crosses or crucifix’s. They don’t even have crosses in their churches! (they also have temples…)

Well, not all crucifixes have to be graphic. But if the very thought of seeing Christ crucified offends a person… well… maybe that’s not bad. We need to understand, appreciate, acknowledge, and face up to the crucifixion:
We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. (Rom 6:6)

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor 1:22-24)

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor 2:2)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? (Gal 3:1)

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal 5:24)

Eh, not all. Some Catholic parishes avoid crucifixes like the plague. They either have bare crosses or “resurrectifixes”. Some (though few) have a Christus Rex (Christ as king reigning from the cross).

Since the rosary is a private devotion and not part of the liturgy, there would be nothing in the catechism or canon law to deal with this. Some simple wooden rosaries are made with a plain cross. As, someone else noted, the point of the rosary is the prayer, not the object. Use whichever helps you to pray best.

The OFM Capuchin habit includes a rosary specifically with a cross rather than crucifix, in order for the friars to be mindful of their own crosses to bear.

I believe this is true of some other orders as well.


Many think the plain cross represents the Risen Jesus. However, the plain cross is not the cross of Jesus. It has no nail holes; no blood. It has never been used. As you note, it is my cross and is there to remind me that I must carry it.

I think several orders use it this way. Also, I think it is common in the Eastern Churches where I first met it. For many years for our RCIA pre-Lent retreat I had a crucifix and a matching plain cross set up. They were surrounded by a number of plain wooden crosses on strings. These were given to the participants to wear for Lent.

My favorite rosary has a simple wood cross on it …

No, no, no, I like Jesus on my crosses!

Then you can get a rosary with a crucifix. As many have already stated, the rosary is a private devotion and we don’t even need the string of beads to say it. I have seen many rosaries like the one pictured. Often the rosaries that are knotted string have a plain cross. We give rosaries like that to our CCD students. Not because of the cross, but because the knotted string is very difficult to break! :smiley:

Eh, not all. Some Catholic parishes avoid crucifixes like the plague. They either have bare crosses or “resurrectifixes”. Some (though few) have a Christus Rex (Christ as king reigning from the cross).

This is technically a violation of canon law, which requires a crucifix specifically, must be visible to the congregation at least during Mass.

I personally like crucifixes, simply because the Cross would have been meaningless without Christ…

But a beautiful cross is nice too. I saw a really nice rosary (from that had a nice cross with an enamel overlaid picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the intersection of the cross-beams, and the beads were ruby-red to symbolise the blood drops of Christ. It was beautiful, and I may very well get it.

Technically, it is a violation of the GIRM.
Canon Law is silent on the subject of crucifixes.


Do you guys have a normal metal chain rosary? They break all the time!!!:eek:
Tell me I’m not the only one with this problem?

Although what I have seen in these situations (Churches with a plain cross displayed above the altar or with a “risen Jesus” on the cross) is that a crucifix processes with the priest during Mass, stays on the altar and then processes off

Isn’t the GIRM part of Canon Law?

No. Canon Law is a single specific document. It’s not a term for a “catch-all” of Church governing documents.

Canon Law is one document. It does not prescribe liturgical rubrics. The GIRM is another document, which does prescribe rubrics.

Oh okay. GIRM does state a crucifix (not a plain cross or ressurectifix) is to be present at Mass, then, right?

Do your Ministers avoid reading the Gospels that describe the scourging and Christ’s suffering and death? A soldier stabbing Jesus with a spear is a more graphic tale than an image of a crucifix, at least in my mind.

Anyone offended by being reminded of our Lord’s suffering and sacrifice may want to re-examine their assumptions.

My intent isn’t to single out the Methodist ministers (though these seems to be a Reformation-inspired notion), since I’ve met plenty of weak-kneed Priests in my day that go to amazing efforts to protect us from the basic truths of our Faith.

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