Veneration of the Cross- Crucifix Or Corpse-Less Wood Cross

I remember a time prior to the mid 1970’s when Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday whereby the faithful came up the aisles with a priest, deacon or altar boy holding a relatively small (“Crucifix”) and you venerated the crucifix by kissing the legs or feet of Jesus on the Cross and the priest, deacon or altar boy wiped the Crucifix with a purificator.

Today we have a Corpse-less black painted wood plank in the form of a cross in a stand and everybody comes up places there hand for a few seconds of reflection and returns to their pew.

Is something missing. Is it because parishioners are concerned kissing a real blessed crucifix will create too many germs. If people are into this mode of thinking you might as well tout the same reason why some won’t drink from the chalice at communion time.

Maybe I’m getting too old and old-fashioned I don’t know.

But a black painted corpse-less wood plank cross not even blessed seems so cold a symbolic gester.


I think you’re onto something. Ours was homemade, literally two 2x4’s butt jointed together and painted brown. I don’t really get the point of venerating that.

For a couple of decades our parish had a 9’ cross made from a large tree, bark and all. It took four men to carry it in procession. Then we had a smaller one made from 1"x6" planks. For the last couple of years we’ve had a proper crucifix with an old-fashioned painted corpus. Some people will kiss it, but as with Communion from the Cup, many people are not so moved. Personally, I genuflect and touch it, but don’t kiss it.

We had a wood cross with no corpus, draped with a scarlet sash. All in attendance went up the aisle & venerated in their chosen way. Many did kiss it, some took turns holding it. I thought Christ not being on it was symbolic of His being descended to the dead, I did not know the old tradition.
This is the same cross we have had outside the church draped with a sash of the same color as the mass all this season.

This was precisely how it happened in my church yesterday. It was extremely powerful and beautiful. :thumbsup:

We have a bare cross at our parish…it is quite large…6’. I genuflect and touch the cross, but I am not going to kiss a piece of wood after 100 other people. Our program lists options, such as kissing, touching, bowing or genuflection or a combination of these.

I assumed there was no corpse since Jesus was removed from the cross and placed in a tomb.

We have venerated both a cross of wood (largish) which was held aloft over the heads of the congregation; and a cross with corpus (a bit smaller) in the same parish but different churches.

I wouldn’t read too much into either way of public veneration. The crucifix represents Christ suffering and the cross represents the risen Christ (or the Christ just taken off to cross ready for burial). A cross even if unblessed always deserves our highest respect and should be the spring-board of bringing to mind toward what Christ did for us.

On Friday at about 3.30 pm we had the crucifix set upright and we all came out to the front of the church before the altar to show our respect in all the ways described in the above comments with priest and senior altar servers looking on. I wasn’t worried about kissing the crucifix, if I were to catch a cold or something I couldn’t think of a nicer way to get it.

I sometimes get the idea that today’s new age modern liturgists will do anything possible to remove any former reminders of the Tradition Latin Mass or that of how former traditions of Venerating the Cross on Good Friday was in the past.

New generations of Catholics rarely ever notice how former liturgical traditions in the Church were carried out anyway.

Sometimes putting symbolism and liturgical practice into visual prospective should be a concern to modern Catholic liturgists.

At Any Rate Happy Easter Everyone

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