Modern/big box churches with a cross instead of a crucifix


#1

I went to Confession today outside of my home parish. I'd been to this church before but was more focused on the sacrament than my surroundings. There were several people ahead of me so I just knelt and prayed. After a while, though, my neck got a bit stiff and I started looking around. I've always preferred more traditional churches and right away noticed the bland, modern architecture and boring, sterile walls. What really struck me, though, was the plain wooden cross. I thought it was a requirement that all churches are to have a crucifix either on/behind or to the side of the altar. This one didn't have a single crucifix in the place, at least not that I could see. There was a statue of Mary to one side of the altar, and a statue of Joseph on the other, but no Jesus. In fact, the only visual hint of Jesus I could find was that barren cross.

I like going to Confession there because the times and location are convenient and the priest is very likeable and easy to talk to. I could never see going to Mass there, though. I don't necessarily need marble columns and vaulted ceilings, but I prefer to feel like I'm actually in a church instead of a meeting hall or concert venue. The total lack of any images of Christ also bothered me quite a bit. I wanted to mention it here just to get others' input and opinions.


#2

While it's probably a long shot...

It is possible that the parish is having the corpus created, refurbished, or replaced. When our parish church was first built we had a bare cross for at least two years. The parish had commissioned an artist to create a unique corpus for our parish and it took that long for the sculpture to be completed. I know that we had quite a few negative comments from visitors and even from some parishioners who had somehow managed not to hear the story,


#3

No images of Christ, and especially no crucifix, would bother me quite a bit.

Maybe the next time, after your Confession, you could ask the priest why there’s no crucifix? Like SMH mentioned, there could be a reasonable excuse as to why there is currently no corpus on the cross.


#4

Perhaps the priest inherited the Church, and doesn’t have funds/priority for a crucifix yet.


#5

God is everywhere. He is not dependent on a carved figure, however beautiful it may be.


#6

It's possible the corpus is being refurbished, although this seems to be one of the more well-to-do parishes in the area so I don't believe it's a case of them not having funds. The plain cross seems to match the stark setting, although since I've only been there a couple times I can't be positive. The total lack of other images of Jesus got to me just as much as the bare cross, however. My wife and I wondered if this wasn't a conscious decision in the design of the church, possibly to make it more Protestant-friendly.


#7

[quote="paperwight66, post:5, topic:289960"]
God is everywhere. He is not dependent on a carved figure, however beautiful it may be.

[/quote]

The point isn't the beauty of the thing, it's a remembrance of just what it is Christ did for us. No other Christian church keeps that tradition, and I for one think it's important to remember it.


#8

I thought the requirement was for a crucifix to be near the altar while Mass was going on. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know.

I have seen Masses held in buildings with no crucifix, (the gym for example) and when the altar servers process up with the crucifix, they display it next to the makeshift altar or table during Mass. Maybe they do that at this parish.


#9

[quote="anp1215, post:8, topic:289960"]
I thought the requirement was for a crucifix to be near the altar while Mass was going on. Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know.

I have seen Masses held in buildings with no crucifix, (the gym for example) and when the altar servers process up with the crucifix, they display it next to the makeshift altar or table during Mass. Maybe they do that at this parish.

[/quote]

That is correct. The crucifix brought in at the processional counts as the crucifix which is required to be present at Holy Mass.


#10

[quote="mfrances, post:9, topic:289960"]
That is correct. The crucifix brought in at the processional counts as the crucifix which is required to be present at Holy Mass.

[/quote]

Okay, I thought it was required to be visible at all times. They very well may bring one out for Mass. I'm still not fond of the architectural style or complete lack of other images of Christ.


#11

[quote="Gordon_Sims, post:10, topic:289960"]
Okay, I thought it was required to be visible at all times. They very well may bring one out for Mass. I'm still not fond of the architectural style or complete lack of other images of Christ.

[/quote]

I'm not crazy about that type of architecture either, but as mfrances said, as long as they are bringing in the crucifix for Mass, everything should be a-ok.


#12

There is a church in my area that has a cross with no corpus on it. The reason though is that the crucifix fell off the wall and so they are doing some kind of repairs to it before they put the corpus back on it.


#13

The Benedictine abbey I’m associated with has a very modern church (1994). I happen to like modern architecture… anyway in the Benedictine tradition there is little in the way of icons; just St. Benedict and St. Scholastica on one side, and the Virgin and Child on the other. Behind the altar is a metal slatted screen with a very plain stained glass cross inset into the screen. It’s very plain and stark (again, I like that). However they use a processional crucifix. It is always present beside the altar in its stand; it is removed about 10 min. before Mass for the procession, then placed by the altar during Mass.

I tend not to get too worked up about these sorts of things. One of the most beautiful Masses I went to was for Immaculate Conception in a very plain, modern barn-like structure (called a “community centre”) that was, to put not too fine a point on it, ugly to the point of sin. I guess God had the same opinion because a couple of years after that Mass it burned to the ground and the parish was merged with one of the other parishes in town (fortunately the building was unoccupied at the time). But that particular mass was very pious and beautiful and abuse-free. God sometimes likes to surprise and delight us, and at times He reminds us of what’s really important.

Some “traditional” churches rub me the wrong way because again I’m attracted to Benedictine spirituality which typically always has fairly plain churches. I guess to each their own.


#14

We do not have a Crucifix in our church proper, but the processional crucifix is in the sanctuary during Mass. Ours is a modern church, but we have the most beautiful stained glass windows that depict the Saints all around the sides of the church and a huge one in the front depicting the Holy Family. The ceiling is vaulted and the inside looks very spacious. I like it pretty well, although it is a little plain, but I am not fond of highly ornate interiors either. I don’t like too much fuss around me, whether it’s at home or in church. I like simplicity.


#15

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