The Crucifix

I’m sure this may have been covered (many times), but please forgive a new participant.

As a returning Catholic, many things now catch my attention that previously never even piqued my interest.

The topic of churches without crucifixes came up on EWTN recently. The speaker (Fr. Groeschel) stated that he would recommend leaving that particular church if you entered and did not see a visible crucifix.

Well, lo and behold, the church I’ve decided to attend (again as a returning Catholic) has no crucifix. Anywhere.

I’ve enjoyed the Franciscan Priest’s homilies (which can be difficult at some Catholic churches) so I’d hate to leave this parish without full knowledge of the importance of this issue as seen by more experienced Catholics.

Long ago, as a cradle-Catholic, I’d feel embarrassed if someone came over and saw the crucifix hanging in our house.

I have just recently overcome that feeling and have hung a very modest crucifix, humbly, in a corner of my room.

No offense here, bear with me: Are crucifixes passé?

Any thoughts on churches and parishioners concerning crucifixes?

(I apologize again if this is an old topic….but I‘d like to know).


St Paul teaches us to “Preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor 1:23)!

If you dont see a big crucifix in the Church you enter then find another one. I think having a crucifix where you pray (eg your room/home) is essential.

When I think of a crucifix, two quotes come to mind:
“Preach the Gospel always, use words if necessary"
"You might be the only Bible someone ever reads”

I was brought up that Jesus should not be on the cross…that He is risen, not dead.

I converted to the Catholic Church this Easter 2007 and the Crucifix is very precious to me. It’s reminds me of the blood that Jesus shed for me! It reminds me why I am even alive and how much he loves me. Mother Angelica said once on her show…if you want to know how much Jesus loves you, look at the Crucifix. His arms are stretched out saying, “this much.”

To me, when people deny the Crucifix they are denying the blood of Jesus. I recommend you take your Crucifix and display it proudly. This is your Savior that died for you and loves you more than anyone else, ever could.

Could you ask the priest why the church does not have a crucifix and tell him how much of having a Crucifix in the church means to you?

You never know, your concern might bring more attention to your church about having a Crucifix.

There should be a crucifix either above or on the altar, so I’ve heard.

I’m not sure who, but someone on these forums has a signature of the Tridentine Mass in the spiritual sense. It shows the priest holding up the host in the air towards Christ crucified. Above Christ are the angels and saints and pretty much Heaven. It is a beautiful way of showing just how wonderful it is to have the Tridentine Mass and also why there’s a crucifix above the altar.

From the GIRM:

  1. There is also to be a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, either on the altar or near it, where it is clearly visible to the assembled congregation. It is appropriate that such a cross, which calls to mind for the faithful the saving Passion of the Lord, remain near the altar even outside of liturgical celebrations.

There must be a crucifix if the church you attend is really in communion with the Church. I have attended other churches where the crucifix was enormous and behind the altar, but was in the stained glass window. I am unsure why there is no crucifix and a bit concerned about it. I would ask the pastor why there is no crucifix.


The church one town over from us has a giant ascending Jesus rising up over the centrally placed tabernacle. This is a church-in-the-round. They stick the processional cross on a stand during Mass.

I am not sure whether the current pastor is troubled by the absence of a crucifix (I suspect not), but in any event, replacing the 8-foot high rising Christ would cost a fortune. It could be that your pastor just hasn’t addressed the problem because of technical or financial constraints. Check it out.

You could volunteer to go to Oberammergau to commission a life size crucifix and donate it . . . Should only cost about $15K.

I certainly could address the issue with the Pastor. I never considered that it may be a financial issue.

It is rather barren inside the church and I just found out that the school associated with the church was recently closed.

But this would seem to beg the question: Even if your church was burdened with insurmountable debt wouldn’t you, as a Pastor, obtain something……anything…even if it were small and inexpensive, just to comply with church policy?

Even if it were temporary until something more reasonable could be obtained?

But talking to the Pastor could answer some obvious issues. As I stated in the OP, I do like him. Ironically, there is a newer Catholic church just 10 minutes further. It seems a little more traditional (crucifix and all), very large and attractive, and is built in the “Spanish Mission” style. Right up my alley; or so I thought.

I started feeling guilty for abandoning the older run down church for the newer one. And the Priests at the newer church don’t quite connect with me during their homilies like the Franciscan at the old church.

That’s when I thought I may be behaving a little snobbishly and, quite honestly, a little hypocritically as a returning Catholic (the prodigal son gets picky over his “homecoming” site???). Seemed like bad form.

So I really hope this missing crucifix can be explained adequately. I’d hate to find out that I was misled.

Thanks to all for the info………

Given that this is a required liturgical norm, I’d be really suspicious of what other norms are not being followed or taught.

At the parish where I grew up, the new priest came in, proceeded to take down the stations of the cross, remove all of the statues and move the tabernacle to a hidden corner of the church.

Not a good sign.

Apparently over time, with a little help from the Parish and the Bishop he repaired a few items both in the building and in his approach.


I have been to a charismatic renewal church where the Crucifix painting hangs just above the central rows of the congregation. It’s a very large beautiful painting done in the old Greek style.

What took my attention about it was how it hangs/looms above the congregation rather than over or behind the altar. I know this sort of doesn’t really matter like, in fact despite the fact it’s now CCR it’s a very old Catholic Church for Australian churches(which are all less than 200 years old) but I thought it was an interestingly placed crucifix and very beautiful when i had a look at that sub-Latin rite’s mass services.

My point is you should probably follow it up and find out, even CCR churches have beautiful Crucifixes. although I personally suspect the priest probably has good reasons for not having put one up yet…

The requirement (as posted above) is that a crucifix must be present during Mass. This could be the processional cross rather than a crucifix above the altar.

So that raises the question of what you are looking for in a parish.

I don’t think you will ever find a parish that has everything you want and does everything the way you want. So what are you willing to trade? Is a crucifix more important or is a good homily more important (since the choices you’ve presented have one or the other but not both)? What about other aspects of either of the parishes? Music? Different activities that are available? Whatever other qualities may be important to you?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit