Why the Crucifix?

I understand why the Crucifixion is important, but I saw a non Christian online is confused as to why Christians use the instrument of Christ’s death as their symbol; using the analogy of wearing a sniper symbol for JFK.

How should one explain this?

Thanks in advance and God bless.

Except His death was the means of our Salvation. Big difference.

welcome to the fora, BTW :slight_smile:

Catholics wear a Crucifix to be reminded of the sacrifice Jesus made for all of humanity, by suffering & dying on the cross.

Because we believe that Jesus’ life was not taken, but that He laid it down for us. He sacrificed Himself. Jesus could have prevented His gruesome death, but He did not.

He allowed Himself to be Crucified out of His love for us.

JFK did not allow himself to be shot to save others. So this is a bad analogy.

I hope this has helped

God Bless You


The crucifix is how Jesus atoned for our sins, and we must never forget that. It serves as a reminder but is even more powerful than that. I understand that demons cannot look upon it. It also shows how Satan was defeated.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have asked this of me once, to which I replied that there are two specific reasons.

The first is the fulfillment of God’s promise to “make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) God has turned death into the means for life. What would normally be something horrible and despised and illogical to the world, God has used to bring about something wonderful, freedom from sin and death, and a way to life without end. To “proclaim Christ crucified” is “a stumbling block” to some and “foolishness” to others, but to us the crucified Christ is “the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom.”–1 Corinthians 1:23-25.

Secondly, the dead wood of the Cross is actually the promised Tree of Life to us who believe in it, and the Body and Blood of the Crucified Lord is the “fruit from the tree of life” from which one “eats of it and lives forever.” (Genesis 2:9; 3:22; compare Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14, 19 with John 7:54.) This symbol is therefore a catechism to Life, and as such it is important to display it as the Hope of the world.

Read these Scriptures and memorize their connection to this subject. This should help you explain to one who is puzzled by the seemingly contradictory display of the Crucifix. What appears on the surface to be foolish to men is definitely not the same treasures on display to those open to God.

Beyond that is the reminder of why he had to make that sacrifice. Because the crucifixion is an eternal moment in time, He was crucified for both our past, present, and future sins. To look upon His broken body reminds me that my own sins are why He is there. My sins wound Him so it reminds me of what my selfishness has (and will) wrought. None of us can change that eternal event, but we can remember the sorrow and seek to be contrite for the wounds we cause the Lord.

It reminds us of what God has done for us and what we should do for others… Not always in the form of sacrifying ourselves through death but sacrificial love is the type of love God wants us to have for others… Say a parent to a child… They love them and would do anything for them, including sacrificing their own needs for the sake of the children… A crucifix is a beautiful reminder of the love God has for us.

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

St. Paul said the cross will be a stumbling block. It is confusing, isn’t it?

The crucifix depicts THE MOMENT that God gave everything to save humanity. It is the image of self sacrifice, and of the ultimate act of love.

And it’s a paradox. How can the ultimate act of evil (killing an innocent man, or worse, killing God) be the ultimate redemptive act and catalyst for saving the human race – for reconciling mankind to God? We could go in to a in-depth discussion on why this is so – but suffice for now, know that only by God can this be so.

It’s the central moment of the Christian faith, and therefore the central symbol of Christianity.

Isn’t it odd though? If the sniper crosshairs were the symbol of JFK, they wouldn’t cease to be snipers crosshairs for mundane practical purposes. If a lead bullet were a symbol of MLK Jr…we’d still use bullets and pictures of bullets for anything else. But the Cross – tens of thousands of people were crucified by the Roman Empire (and before the Empire, and after the Empire) – yet ONE man in particular was crucifed, and all of a sudden the cross as a symbol is recognized all over the world, by christians and non-christians alike. The symbol of treason, torture, and the most brutal death has become the symbol for love, redemption, and selflessness.

Death transformed to life, torture transformed to love…these are the acts and character of God Himself. This is why the Crucifix is so important, and central to the faith. It is literally the cause of the faith, and one of the most holy events in history.

Thanks guys, good answers.

Because without the Crucifix; there would have been no redemption.

This is one of the best answers I’ve ever seen.
Jesus rose from the dead, so why do Catholics morbidly dwell on his death?

Well, the analogy fails because the importance of JFK for Americans is very different than the importance of Jesus Christ. I doubt JFK, a catholic, would think of himself as some kind of Jesus. I think Christian use the crucifix as a means of reappropriation, like 19th century painters calling themselves impressionists.

Superb answer.

When someone has died, that is normally the end of them insofar as human life is concerned; we choose to remember the life and not its ending.

But our LORD overcame His death, which alone makes it memorable.


1 Cor 1 23-24

We preach Christ crucified as the power and wisdom of God

God gave His only begotten Son for us, and sent His Holy Spirit to raise Him up again on the third day.

The sniper analogy is a no go

Great answers guys. I have another question, this time about the Eucharist.

I know the Mass is the Sacrifice at Calvary, and I know our Lord said that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we have no life. But how does one correct non Catholics who say this:

“If the Jewish leaders were evil for arresting Jesus and handing him to Pilate to be Crucified, then how much more evil are Catholic priests for wanting to Crucify Jesus again and eat his flesh on a regular basis?”

Jesus commanded us to eat his flesh and to “do this in memory of me”. It’s not canabalism as they are attempting to imply.

They should also learn 1 Cor 1 23-24 about preaching Christ crucified.

Realize that you cannot convince folks who have this agenda. I would engage with those who are open to the possibility of truth

True. I had one more question about the Eucharist. Kind of minor and a bit silly too; but I’ve seen non Catholics say that if a consecrated host is the body of Christ, then multiple consecrated hosts must be multiple bodies of Christ or something weird like that.

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