Stand alone Benedict Medal vs. embedded in crucifix

I have a crucifix with the Saint Benedict medal in it.

However, due to the thickness of the cross, the Saint Benedict medal is apparently two medals instead of one, possibly with blank back sides. (I am reluctant to pry the medals out to find out).

Does anyone here know if the Benedict medal embedded in a crucifix is “good enough” to be considered a Saint Benedict medal with all the benefits? Or is the stand alone medal recommended over the combination of medal and crucifix?

Or… has anyone removed the medals to see if they were two complete medals with images on the hidden sides?

Are you saying there are two medals, one with the face of a St. Benedict medal on the front of the crucifix, and another with the obverse affixed to the back of the crucifix?

I doubt it makes a theological distinction if the medal is in fact two medals affixed to a cross. Rather than being two separate things, they are combined into a single object. Consider the case where you had two medals each with only either the face or obverse of the medal. If you fused them together, would you not have a complete St. Benedict medal, even though there was some layer of adhesive between the two layers? If you answer yes to that, then I don’t think you should worry about them being fused together in a crucifix.

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I meant that one medal has the figure of Saint Benedict and the other medal has the cross.

I was reading a book written in the 19th century called THE MEDAL OR CROSS OF S. BENEDICT, ITS ORIGIN, MEANING, AND PRIVILEGES by DOM P. GUÉRANGER which includes a brief by Pope Benedict XIV about the Saint Benedict medal which includes the following restrictions:

“Notwithstanding all things whatsoever to the contrary, His Holiness has declared that the Medals herein mentioned which shall not have been blessed by the Monks aforesaid, or by those to whom the Holy See has, by a special favour, granted the power, shall in nowise be indulgenced. He also forbad that the said Medals should be of paper, or such like material ; and that unless they were made of gold, silver, brass, copper or other solid metal, they shall not be indulgenced.”

I know the part about “blessed by the Monks aforesaid” has since that time been expanded to include all priests, but the book has a few other restrictions about the medal and it had me wondering about these Saint Benedict Crucifixes with “split medals” whether they measure up or not. The book does not mention this particular issue because these crucifixes probably did not exist yet.

By the way that book can be read online here:

I’m curious as to what “benefits” you are expecting.

As it says on the web site:

The use of any religious article is therefore intended as a means of reminding us of God and of stirring up in us a ready willingness and desire to serve God and our neighbor. With this understanding we reject any use of religious articles as if they were mere charms or had some magic power to bring us good luck or better health. Such is not the Christian attitude.

You might want to read “The Use of the Medal” on the page I linked to.

But later on…

The medal is a prayer of exorcism against Satan, a prayer for strength in time of temptation, a prayer for peace among ourselves and among the nations of the world, a prayer that the Cross of Christ be our light and guide, a prayer of firm rejection of all that is evil, a prayer of petition that we may with Christian courage “walk in God’s ways, with the Gospel as our guide,” as St. Benedict urges us.

I would think that is what the op was referring to.

Maybe so, but a reminder of prayer isn’t magic. You might have a candle, a crucifix, or an icon present when you pray and they serve as reminders, but they don’t do it for you. I wear my St. Benedict medal every day as a reminder of my oblation, of the values I’m trying to live, etc. The medal doesn’t do it for me, but it helps me remember. The key is to live a life in keeping with the gospel and in keeping with the example of the saint in question.

I figure God will pile on grace after grace whether you have a particular medal or not. But if Benedict or Francis or Therese helps you stay focused, all the better.

SuscipeMeDomine, were the following items also merely reminders?

The staff of Moses that brought about so many miracles (beginning in Exodus 4)
The lamb’s blood for protection from death at the Passover (Exodus 11, 12)
The bronze serpent for healing of fatal snake bites (Numbers 21:6-9)
The holy water used in the adultery test (Numbers 5:11-31)
The water of the Jordan river for cleansing Naaman of leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-14)
The cloak of Elijah which parted the Jordan River (2 Kings 2:6-15)
The bones of Elisha which revived a dead body (2 Kings 13:21)
The edge of Jesus’ cloak which caused a woman to be healed (Luke 8:40-48)
Handkerchiefs and aprons from the Apostle Paul for healing, and casting out demons (Acts 19:11-12)

The Miraculous Medal hanging from the neck of Alphonse Ratisbonne
The Miraculous Medal that Fr. John A. Hardon put around the neck of a boy with the a fractured skull
The Brown Scapular that John McAuliffe threw into the sea and calmed a storm

I could give many more examples from the Bible and history of how God chose to use objects as channels of divine power and grace.

The book I mentioned above gives many stories about the Saint Benedict Medal but I didn’t cite them since they are not well known

Let me add one more thing from the book I mentioned above: THE MEDAL OR CROSS OF S. BENEDICT, ITS ORIGIN, MEANING AND PRIVILEGES by Prosper Louis Pascal Guéranger who was the Abbot of Solesmes, a Benedictine monastery in France in the 19th century

He writes in the preface:

Man has no right to pass judgment on the effects which God deigns to produce by his power and goodness. In order to assist us in our necessities, God, in his wisdom and providence, sometimes makes use of extremely simple means, thus to keep us in humility and filial confidence. A Christian, whose faith is but weak, is surprised at this, and even tempted to be scandalized, inasmuch as it seems to him that the means by which God works, are not in keeping with his greatness. Such a thought as this is nothing less than pride or ignorance; for whenever God puts himself within our reach, he must needs stoop down to our lowliness.

And yet, does he not shew his greatness when he selects simple material objects as the medium of communication between himself and us, as in the case of the Holy Sacraments? Does he not thereby shew us how he is the absolute Master of all, even so far as this - that he can embody his grace in such low and apparently commonplace forms as these? The Church, which is guided by his Spirit, delights in imitating this his mode of acting, at least in some slight way, and hence she communicates the divine virtue, which she possesses, to those objects which she sanctifies as helps and consolations for her children.

Granted, this book is not the Bible, but it is the work of a prominent Benedictine priest who did his research, was highly esteemed by the Pope, and knew what he was talking about.

I removed the medals from the crucifix which is wood, and found that the hidden sides are indeed blank, with the wood of the cross separating them. (Then I glued them back in place).

I have a question. There is an official prayer for the Saint Benedict Medal. Does the Saint Benedict Crucifix need to have this blessing done or is there a separate official blessing for the Saint Benedict Crucifix?

I’ve read that the medal on the crucifix should have this special blessing.

Interesting thread. I can’t imagine why a crucifix with the medal would be any less of a channel of God’s grace than the medal alone. If anything I would think the crucifix would be an inestimable blessing to have with the medal. My only question would concern prying it all apart. Will you be able to put it back together again and wear it?

God’s peace. :slight_smile:

Oh, I glued it all back together again immediately!

My concern was the medal itself, if two halves of a medal with a layer of wood separating them still constitutes a real medal…

I’m also wondering if the special blessing for the Benedict medal also blesses the crucifix or if the crucifix should also be blessed in the normal manner as a crucifix.

The articles themselves have no powers. People are healed through their faith. The Catholic Church teaches against superstitions because “Superstition of any description is a transgression of the First Commandment:” and also lists some such as “amulets, things worn as a remedy or preservative against evils or mischief, such as diseases or witchcraft;”

Wilhelm, J. (1912). Superstition. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Hmmm, I wonder how much faith that dead guy had when his corpse touched the bones of Elisha, which brought him back to life. I’m sure everyone there was surprised, especially the dead guy!

Several Biblical accounts show that there was no faith present at all when a miracle took place via a holy object or substance. Naaman was actually skeptical when he dipped in the waters of the Jordan river, but he got healed anyway.

I keep hearing two extreme views on this subject:

True, those who claim the objects have power in themselves have gone too far and are guilty of superstition which the Church condemns. But those who claim that the objects are merely a reminder to stir up our faith have gotten off the bus too soon. It’s such a safe, no-risk position that even a Protestant could embrace it without hesitation (I can say that with impunity since I was a Protestant for the first 54 years of my life). And I’ve seen many abuses that came out of the “people are healed through their faith” position, such as the faith healer saying “God did not heal you because you lacked faith.”

There’s a third, balanced position that sees sacramentals as channels of God’s power. This position seems to be backed up by scripture and history.

For an inadequate comparison, but the only one that comes to mind, think of a satellite dish; it does not contain any TV programs in itself, but it can bring us lots of TV programs from an outside source, programs we might not be able to receive any other way.

I don’t want to play “my source can beat up your source” but I’ll go with the Bible and also with what the Abbot of Solesmes has documented in his book, which I quoted above.

Have a little more faith in what God has chosen to do via sacramentals which have been blessed by the Church!

There is more than one concept involved in the list of examples you gave: examples of faith healing and miracles. The sacramentals are objects or actions that the Church uses that, on the authority of the Church, draw on the personal dispositions of the individuals, and on the merits and prayers of the Church. In Catholic teaching any holy power associated with an object is devoid of all forms of divination, magic, sorcery and spiritism.

CCC 1669 Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a “blessing,” and to bless.174 Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons).175

1671 Among sacramentals blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) come first. Every blessing praises God and prays for his gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father "with every spiritual blessing."177 This is why the Church imparts blessings by invoking the name of Jesus, usually while making the holy sign of the cross of Christ.

Sacrosanctum Concilium60. Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments: they signify effects, particularly of a spiritual kind, which are obtained through the Church’s intercession. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy.

  1. Thus, for well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event in their lives; they are given access to the stream of divine grace which flows from the paschal mystery of the passion, death, the resurrection of Christ, the font from which all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. There is hardly any proper use of material things which cannot thus be directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God.

This is what I have been saying!

So there is plenty of evidence from Scripture and history – and Sacrosanctum Concilium (thank you for the reference) – concerning holy objects (what we call sacramentals) as real channels of God’s grace and power. Or as you quoted above, “the stream of divine grace.” If you still don’t believe, it’s because you don’t want to believe. And there’s no need for me to continue to pile on more evidence.

As I said before, have a little more faith in what God has chosen to do via sacramentals which have been blessed by the Church!

I do believe, but it is not based on any superstition or belief that the articles themselves have powers.

I hoped to find a Vatican reference to the use of medals, that they are not talismans nor are to be used without commitment to living a Christlike life, and did.Like all medals and objects of cult, the Miraculous Medal is never to be regarded as a talisman or lead to any form of blind credulity (260). The promise of Our Lady that “those who were the medal will receive great graces”, requires a humble and tenacious commitment to the Christian message, faithful and persevering prayer, and a good Christian life.

(260) Cf. LG 67; PAUL VI, Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus, 38;CCC 2111.

**CCC 2111 **Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition
Congregation for Divine Worship & the Discipline of the Sacraments Directory on Popular Piety and the LiturgyThe Council has also denounced certain devotional deviations, such as vain credulity, which substitutes reliance on merely external practices for serious commitment. Another deviation is sterile and ephemeral sentimentality, so alien to the spirit of the Gospel that demands persevering and practical action.(106) We reaffirm the Council’s reprobation of such attitudes and practices. They are not in harmony with the Catholic Faith and therefore they must have no place in Catholic worship.

Have a little more faith in what God has chosen to do via sacramentals which have been blessed by the Church.

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