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.