Resurrected Christ versus Crucified Christ?

Does the “Resurrected Jesus Cross” do it for you?

How does it compare to the traditional Crucified Christ Cross in its impact upon you?

What is your spiritual response to each?

Leaving aside money and artistic considerations and focusing only on the content of the symbolism:

What do you think of replacing, in a Catholic Church’s sanctuary over the altar, a Crucified Christ Cross with a Resurrected Christ Cross?

There’s a leaning toward the Resurrected Christ Cross in my parish, and I need lots of pros and cons. Thanks in advance for your ideas.

It just strikes me as trendy, change-for-change-sake. On this earth we are a suffering people, not a risen people, and I appreciate the constant reminder that God, out of his love for us, joined with us in that lot.

Crucified Christ is a sign of God’s love. Risen Christ is a sign of God’s power. I think emphasizing his love may be more beneficial for us here on earth.

Well . . . for me, the Crucified Cross should stick, both because of the tradition behind it, and because we receive Christ most gloriously in the Eucharist. The Church teaches that Calvary is present in each Eucharist. We receive the flesh and blood of Christ, which comes from his Passion and is our salvation. By so doing, we, “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). This is the source of Christ’s indwelling in the Church, the cause of his Resurrection, and the ultimate expression of his love for the world.

Besides, an empty cross suggests that suffering is over, and it isn’t. Each of us on Earth must pick up our cross and follow Christ, according to His words. It seems to me that some other symbol for the resurrection might be better. A little image of the open, empty tomb or something.

The only significance of the cross is that Christ died for our sins upon it on Good Friday.

Christ’s return from the dead was a feat at least two others could claim (Larus and Tabitha). The Resurrection’s significance lies in confirming that Christ was who he said he was. It is not the most significant of his actions, however----that would be dying for our sins and founding his Church.

For these reasons, Christ crucified is the only way to go IMO. We need the reminder of what was done for us, and at what price.

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (First Corinthians 2:2)

Liturgically, we are directed to have an image of Christ crucified present. I prefer that to be the dominant image.

However, I see nothing wrong having a cross with the Risen Christ in front of it. It, too, can be a fitting object for devotional meditation.


Put me down for the crucified Christ. I think that 2000 years of this symbol shouldn’t be “improved” upon. It was Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that opened the door to Salvation. While the resurrection is certainly important in our faith, when it comes down to it the resurrection was simply an aid to help us know that He was the Christ. Salvation came through the death not the resurrection. And for this, I choose to remember His loving sacrifice via the cross used by the Church (aka - the Crucifix).

No! Never! Please! This is new agey, happy clappy Catholicism at its worst. How is Satan to fear such a cross? The blood of Christ is everything to us. His eternal sacrifice, as recalled by the crucifix, paid our debt. We are in the year of Saint Paul . He preached “Christ, and Christ crucified”. This is a slap in the face of Saint Paul, and is easily one of the worst ideas to come along in some time. I wonder who sent it…

We follow the teaching of Paul, we proclaim Christ crucified. Why does Paul focus so much on crucifixion? Does he not know that Jesus is resurrected? Ofcourse he does! But he focusses more on the crucifixion for it is the power and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-24). In this life on earth, we experience a lot of suffering and knowing that our Lord has endured such suffering enables us to follow his example and endure the suffering.

“…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 1:23-24)

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

"And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and** take up his cross daily and follow me**.” (Luke 9:23)

“But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.” (Romans 6:8)

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

Amen! :thumbsup:

I uploaded these images from Google. While the intent may be good, it adds nothing to our faith, and actually detracts from it, confusing those who view it. This is a bad example of a mixed metaphor. Christ did not rise from the cross, He suffered and died on it. Once He rose, the cross became the universal symbol of His suffering and death.

If one must change for the sake of change, would it not make more sense to show Him risen atop the empty tomb? But, let’s face it, this is nothing to even be seriously considered!

Never mind what the G.I.R.M. has to say.

Neither the Incarnation, the Passion nor the Resurrection make any sense at all without the Crucifixion.

Our Eucharistic Liturgy is the making-present-again the Once for All Sacrifice of Our Lord.

The Sanctuary without the Crucified Lord visible and given pride of place is a gross misunderstanding of Christian Theology. Even in Churches that are named for the Resurrection, while having the empty Cross visible in the Sanctuary is not disallowed, the Crucified Lord must remain a visible presence in the Sanctuary.

As Christians we are nothing if we do not heed Jesus’ call: he who wishes to come after me must deny himself, pick up his cross and follow me.

“The Savior hangs before you with a pierced heart. He has spilled His heart’s blood to win your heart. If you want to follow Him in holy purity, your heart must be free of every earthly desire. Jesus, the Crucified, is to be the only object of your longings, your wishes, your thoughts…He wants your life in order to give you his. Hail to the Cross, our only Hope!” St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her last written words before being sent ot the gas chambers of Auschwitz, August 9, 1942.

But the GIRM says explicitly that the Crucified Lord MUST be present, visible and either on or near the Altar, both during Mass and at all times.

One of my favorite Crucifixes was present in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in West Ashley, Charleston, South Carolina. It is of Jesus, the High Priest and King Crucified. Absolutely beautiful. Of course, above the main Altar is a beautiful Crucified Christ, with visible Wounds from both the Nails and the Scourging.

This all points to the danger of blurring the separation between the clergy and laity. It reveals the danger of morphing the church into a democracy. This must be rejected - all of it. Will the evils perpetrated by my generation of baby boomers never cease?

Yes—even now the Pope John Paul II generation of clergy and laity is rising, and with it a return to orthodoxy. The worst of the relativist seepage into the Church is behind us.

Praise God! But, clearly, some pressure washing remains. My generation was/is so bad that JPII rightly concentrated on the younger generations. It is to God’s glory that a few of us, by His grace, escaped the morass of modernity.

Praise God.

Teflon, could you provide some source for your claim that the new Catholic generation is less relativistic than the old one? I’d really like to know this :).



I have nothing but anecdotal evidence, having not attempted to quantify this. I hear this from my bishop and priests, and Father Serpa recently responded in similar fashion on Ask An Apologist.

Certainly, trends such as the return of the Tridentine Mass seem positive, if not dispositive. I will collect some info and see if the larger trend is real or not.

Since the G.I.R.M. specifically states that the sanctuary cross must be a Crucifix with a Crucified Christ, the question is moot.

However, to continue the discussion…

A similar question was raised a while back on the EWTN forum. The person asking the question was Eastern Rite, where they apparantly focus more on the Resurrection than on the Passion. The poster asked why the difference.

I no longer remember Fr. Levis’ reply, but I was inspired to write this response:

I am extraordinarily far from being a theologian, and have no credentials whereby I should speak, but as one who has always had a very deep devotion to the Passion of Christ and ultimately found my vocation in the Passionist Secular Institute, that although the Resurrection is the most awesome, astounding event of pure joy, God’s love can be seen so much clearer, so much more intimately, in the Passion and Death of Jesus. The image that comes to mind is the first Christmas photo of a couple holding their new baby – the joy. But that joy would have never have been known without the pain and blood of the labor and birth.

One day, we will rise. We believe because of His promise. But for me, it’s more of an abstract kind of belief, since I don’t even know how to imagine it. It’s so difficult to envision. I can’t even imagine His Resurrection. (Oh, to have been that proverbial fly on the wall!)

Yet, each moment of the Passion, His suffering, His death… these are personal experiences in so many ways. The thought that the Creator God, Glorious King, the One who is above everything, became one like us - experienced everything we can experience… The One who is forever complete as Three, was left alone by His friends in the Garden. He was betrayed - by a friend, no less - and with a kiss… The One Who came to set us free was arrested. Truth itself was falsely accused and called a liar. The One Who knows the answer to anything that can be asked was interrogated by those whom He created. He Who never denies us was denied by one of His closest, most trusted, friends. The Hands which formed the mountains were bound as a common criminal’s. The Ruler of the universe was shuttled between two puppet rulers, one too jaded to seek truth, the other too bloated to care. The Just Judge was unjustly judged. The Creator Who thought out every detail of our creation down to giving us saliva so we would be able to swallow was spat upon. His Sacred Body, one cell of which is worth more than a boatload of diamonds or a mountain of gold, was tortured with whips. Upon the Head which should bear a crown of gold and precious jewels was forced a Crown of the sharpest thorns. The crowds jeering “Crucify Him!” should have been prostrate in worship at His feet. The One who spoke words of comfort was mocked by the words of His creatures. He from Whom one word could have summoned a complement of the heavenly host to hurl his persecutors to the ends of the galaxy chose instead to have his persecutors nail His Hands and Feet. The One whose birth was contemplated by shepherds in breathless awe, suffocated to Death for us with His Breathless Love.

Contemplation of even the least of His sufferings could take an entire lifetime.

And what makes it even more personal is the knowledge that our sins, my sins, did this to Him.

I cannot go back in time and “uncommit” my sins, but I can contemplate what my sins did to Him and tell Him again and again how much I love Him and how sorry I am, for I believe that just as He saw my sins as He hung upon the Cross, He also saw my sorrow and my love that I give to Him now with each breath that I take.

Likewise when we honor Mary in her sorrows and console her with our prayers. Here is a woman who watched as her Son was tortured and murdered, and she mothers us. A mother who daily tries to draw us to her Son if we allow her… she can just as easily reject us and would have every right to do so, after all, we are the ones who murdered her Son. We see paintings of Mary with the sword through her heart… how often do we stop to imagine our hand upon the hilt? Yet, still, she invites us to ask her intercession for she knows her Son will deny her nothing.

After reading the above, I guess you know that my vote will always be for the Crucifix with the Crucified Christ upon it.

I responded very early on expressing my preference that the dominant image be the crucifix. I also brought up the Church’s regulation that a crucifix must be on or near the altar.

I don’t particularly like the “resurrected Christ crucifix.” I’ve never been a fan of it.

I even was the first in the thread to cite Paul’s resolution to preach Christ crucified.


There is a lot of vitriol expressed in this thread over the image. It is presented as somehow contrary to the teaching of the Church. It isn’t. (Here I am defending an image that I don’t particularly like!)

Read all of the 15th chapter of Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (v17)

See also:
Romans 1:4
Romans 6:5
Phillipians 3:10 ::: Just from Paul

As far as placing the Resurrected Christ in front of the empty Cross… so what? A reminder that first came the Passion and Death, and then came the Resurrection? Is that a BAD thing?

I don’t care for it, but I can find no reason to condemn it.


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