The Crucifix


Recently, my wife was challenged by an outspoken Protestant about the Crucifix. The crux of her argument was “We celebrate Christ resurrected, so displaying him on the Cross is sinful.” My wife was upset at the crassness of the lady’s statement and because she could think of a really clear response. We are considering inviting her over to dinner to explain our faith, so we need some solid reasoning.

This is what I have so far:

  1. (I would have said this had I been at the meeting) Without Christ Crucified, Christ Risen is meaningless, and our religion is pointless.

  2. The Eucharist hinges upon the sacrifice of Christ. This is not a resounding argument for Protestants who abandoned 1500 years of Christian doctrine when they denied the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but I feel that it is essential to Catholic Truth.

Is there anything you guys can think of to help?


1 Corinthinans 1:23: “but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,”

:heart: Love is Patient


i find it interesting that they say they only preach Christ’s resurrection yet they (evangelicals mostly) were the ones responsible for The Passion’s meteoric rise in sales. they obviously talk about His death on the cross. they preach the sacrifice of Christ.

it is wrong for them to assume that catholics don’t preach the resurrection. there are plenty of “empty” crosses in catholicism.

i would remind the person as well that everyday in mass, you are celebrating the sacrifice of Christ for our sins and that the sacrifice itself is what saves us. the resurrection is the proof of the saving power of the sacrifice.

paul says, “we preach Christ and Him crucified.”


I ahve never heard it put so succinctly, thank you!


Being raised as a fundamentalist (Baptist preacher’s kid), I will tell you that the Crucifix offends them JUST even because it is used by the Catholic Church. Part of it is they are just so ANTI-
Catholic, that most anything Catholics do offends them. For instance, making the sign of the Cross, the Priest’s robes, incense, Rosary, formal prayers, infant Baptism, (the list goes on and on). They are just offended by the Church. I believe if a fundamentalist is so offended by the Church – so offended by my being a member of the Church, my response would be for them to pray for me, and I will pray for them and let God decide.

You know, the Catholic Answers Bible is very helpful to explain some of the teachings, traditions, and practices of the Church. Also the apologetics books that address Fundamentalists are very helpful. If a person has a spirit of wanting to know an answer, they will ask a question. If someone wants to just attack the Lord’s Church, or me for attending it, then I will suggest we each pray for each other and let God decide.

We should pray for them, they need Christ’s Chuch. They just don’t know it yet.


Apologetics 101-05 (Link)
Q: I had a friend ask me why Catholics have Crucifixes in our churches…don’t we believe Jesus has risen? Why do we keep Him on the cross?

A: First of all, you would want to check out 1st Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 23. Paul says, “…but we preach Christ crucified…” Why does Paul preach Christ crucified? Doesn’t he know Jesus has been raised from the dead? Of course he does! But, he knows that it is through the power of the crucified Christ on the cross that the bonds of sin and death are broken. As Paul says in verse 24, Christ crucified is the “power of God”.
1 Cor 2:2, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Again, didn’t Paul know that Jesus had risen from the dead? Of course, he did.
Paul preaches Christ crucified because an empty cross has no power. The cross that bears the beaten, battered, and bloodied body of Jesus Christ, however, that cross is the “power of God”. This is why, we “keep Jesus on the cross,” because we, too, preach Christ crucified. The Crucifix reminds us not only of God’s power, but also His love for us - giving His only begotten Son up for suffering and death.
Also, here in this life we do not share so much in the glory of the Resurrection, as we do in the suffering of Jesus on the cross; after all, we must take up our cross daily if we are to follow Jesus, as it says in Lk 9:23.
And, we must die with Christ in order to live with Him as Romans 6:8 tells us. Where did Christ die? On the cross. The Crucifix serves to remind us of these things.
One other passage to keep in mind is Galatians 3:1, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” Did you catch that? Jesus was publicly portrayed, before their “eyes”, as being crucified. Sounds kind of like they may have been looking at a Crucifix, doesn’t it?



Just a thought: When I was a protestant I always thought the empty cross was a bad symbol for the risen christ. Christ did not rise from the Cross he was taken down from the cross. He rose from the tomb, so I always felt an empty tomb would be a better symbol of the risen Christ. But It is Christ Sacrificial death on the Cross that is the reason for my salvation. I love my Crucifix. And I love to wear it around my fundamentalist in-laws I quess that is my subtle way of reminding them I converted and a reminder to me of my love and appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice and my new found love for the church he founded.


Thanks, all.

I really appreciate your help. I had known about several verses, but I wasn’t quite sure exactly what they were.

When I was Methodist, I was always drawn to the Crucifix…its seemed more real, more true and more poignant than and empty cross.


I agree with the notion that the empty cross is hardly more a symbol of the risen Christ than the crucifix is. Indeed, if the Gospels had ended with the empty cross (i.e. Jesus being laid in the tomb), I suspect that hardly any of us would be Christian right now.

That being said, the resurrection was for our faith and a symbol of Christ’s victory over death. It was the actual crucifixtion that is the basis of our salvation.

Therefore, it is, I think, proper to meditate on the meaning of the crucifix because it was in his suffering that we were redeemed. And we should meditate on the empty tomb because it was his resurrection that assures us of eternal life. The empty cross has meaning only in as much as it reminds us of the other two events.



I just had my Baptist in-laws call and ask for a crucifix to give as a gift, they specified it must have a corpus, not a risen Christ, and it is for another Baptist relative who has a recurrence of MS symptoms after being in remission for several years, following a big rosary prayer campaign. at that time I sent a dozen rosaries, with scriptural rosary prayer book, at their request. the Catholic sibling married to the Baptist husband has already returned to the Church, thanks to that prayer bombardment, so great things may be in the works.



I am currently a Protestant exploring the Catholic faith.

I do not believe that the Crucifix is “a sin”, and would say that many Protestants agree with me. Indeed, many Protestants will acknowledge the crucifixion as necessary to precede the resurrection. For it was necessary for Christ to die for our sins - especially since many Protestants believe it is through Christ’s atoning sacrifice that people receive their salvation.

It may be the emphasis on the crucifixion that could bother many Protestants; that is, if they don’t have a solid understanding of what true Catholics believe. Understand that Protestants may have varying degrees of misconceptions about the Catholic faith, often from coming in contact with “cradle Catholics” that aren’t necessarily solid in what they believe, or from other Protestants that tell continue to teach these misconceptions about Catholics as truth. So, I think it’s great you have this opportunity to clarify what Catholics actually believe! It will be helpful to explain the Bible verses that the people previous to me mentioned (because Protestants really love our Bibles), plus I think it would be helpful to explain the necessity of Christ’s sacrifice before the resurrection. For how can Christ resurrect without first being crucified? Protestants remember his sacrifice during the symbolic communion; being reminded of that sacrifice is necessary, but we also must keep in mind the resurrection.

Hope this helps! Blessings!


I had someone ask me this question once before I even realized that it bothered protestants.
I Was so shocked that I asked, “why would you ever want to take the symbol of the Greatest act of love ever preformed on the face of this earth from me”. I said that the catholics truly believe in the resurection but we also believe in the crucifixion. She was quite shocked and then said oh, my grandmother is catholic with tears in her eyes.
Now I would add the things that others said about the empty tomb would represent the resurection and some of the verses already mentioned.


Prayer bombardment??? Wow Puzzleannie – I love how y ou THINK!!!


The empty cross isn’t totally fruitless, though. I think one of the early Church Fathers said that, every time you see the shape of the cross, you should think of Jesus’ body stretched on it. In fact, he said that Christ’s resurrected Body was in turn a constant reminder of the shape of the cross; the two were pretty much one.

I wish I could remember where I read this. It was beautiful.


My DIL’s Baptist mother proudly wears a beautiful Crucifix, despite some harrassment from some members of her church. She says it is more meaningful to her to see the corpus and she doesn’t care what the others think.:slight_smile:


My thinking is that Our Lord’s resurrection serves as promise for our future; it’s the basis of our hope for future resurrection.

Right now tho, we are still sinners (at least I am). What we continually need are the graces merited by Jesus crucified on the cross - grace of forgiveness, atonement for our sins, justification…



Some wonderful clear answers have been given here already.

I once heard someone say that we use the crucifix “because that is where the work of salvation was done” and we must never forget that sacrifice.

Blessed lent (4.5 days to go),


PS The whole quote from Fulton Sheen is longer, but we are allowed only so many characters. The whole quote is:

“Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people.You have the minds, the eyes, the ears, to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”


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