I’ve been asked this question, along with wearing gold sovereigns and all the riches surrounding them. Why?
Nobody should be worshipping any crosses. Who is being accused of worshipping crosses?
If the question is, “Why use gold to decorate sacred spaces?”, my answer would depend on what the background of the asker was, how familiar they are with the details of the Temple and the Priestly Garments in the Old Testament, and so on.
The question I got posed was, why worship a gold cross , wood not good enough?
I know we don’t worship the cross. We worship the second person in the trinity.
But I would like people to help me out here. Why extravagance ?
“Worship” is an Old English word that has shifted meaning over time, but that’s another subject.
John Paul II answered the objection about extravagance by comparing it to the woman anointing Our Lord with precious oil and the preparation of the upper room:
Ecclesia De Eucharista:
- Reading the account of the institution of the Eucharist in the Synoptic Gospels, we are struck by the simplicity and the “solemnity” with which Jesus, on the evening of the Last Supper, instituted this great sacrament. There is an episode which in some way serves as its prelude: the anointing at Bethany. A woman, whom John identifies as Mary the sister of Lazarus, pours a flask of costly ointment over Jesus’ head, which provokes from the disciples – and from Judas in particular (cf. Mt 26:8; Mk 14:4; Jn 12:4) – an indignant response, as if this act, in light of the needs of the poor, represented an intolerable “waste”. But Jesus’ own reaction is completely different. While in no way detracting from the duty of charity towards the needy, for whom the disciples must always show special care – “the poor you will always have with you” (Mt 26, 11; Mk 14:7; cf. Jn 12:8) – he looks towards his imminent death and burial, and sees this act of anointing as an anticipation of the honour which his body will continue to merit even after his death, indissolubly bound as it is to the mystery of his person…
…48. Like the woman who anointed Jesus in Bethany, the Church has feared no “extravagance”, devoting the best of her resources to expressing her wonder and adoration before the unsurpassable gift of the Eucharist. No less than the first disciples charged with preparing the “large upper room”, she has felt the need, down the centuries and in her encounters with different cultures, to celebrate the Eucharist in a setting worthy of so great a mystery. In the wake of Jesus’ own words and actions, and building upon the ritual heritage of Judaism, the Christian liturgy was born. Could there ever be an adequate means of expressing the acceptance of that self-gift which the divine Bridegroom continually makes to his Bride, the Church, by bringing the Sacrifice offered once and for all on the Cross to successive generations of believers and thus becoming nourishment for all the faithful? Though the idea of a “banquet” naturally suggests familiarity, the Church has never yielded to the temptation to trivialize this “intimacy” with her Spouse by forgetting that he is also her Lord and that the “banquet” always remains a sacrificial banquet marked by the blood shed on Golgotha. The Eucharistic Banquet is truly a “sacred” banquet, in which the simplicity of the signs conceals the unfathomable holiness of God: O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur! The bread which is broken on our altars, offered to us as wayfarers along the paths of the world, is panis angelorum, the bread of angels, which cannot be approached except with the humility of the centurion in the Gospel: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof ” (Mt 8:8; Lk 7:6).
Thank you for your posts.
As others have said, we do not worship the cross.
We use it as a reminder of the death of our LORD.
And for this purpose, we use gold simply because it will last far longer than wood.
In the Old Testament, recall Solomon’s Temple and all the gold and precious materials used, the absolute best of everything.
It’s fine to use a wooden cross or one of gold. In neither case is Catholicism about “worshipping” the cross, itself, but God, as you well know.
We can express love, or adoration, in many ways. When we have a loved one over, we can serve dinner just as well on paper, or plastic, plates. Yet, we don’t. When we want to express affection and more, we dress in our Sunday best, bring out the best china, crystal, wines, and yes, often give diamonds as a token of love and affection, in engagements, and gold.
Recall, also, the time where the woman used a very expensive perfume just to anoint Christ’s feet, and she was criticized for this, by Judas, who said that money could have gone for the poor. Christ said that was a good act she did, even so, despite the fact, it really could have gone to serve the poor.
This is a trick question…
If you only answer the second part Gold vs wood, the response could be - “Oh so you admit that you worship a cross…IDOLATOR!!!”
So - make sure that you deal with both aspects of the question.
as others have pointed out, we do not “worship” the cross, though we do venerate it highly.
We are just as happy to venerate a wooden cross as a gold one.
Why the extravagance? I don’t know…maybe because we wish to give to God only the best and most precious.
Some people here have asked me why I sometimes show my dislike for the term protestant.
The question you received is a good example of why.
Catholics do not worship crosses, or statues, or popes, or the Blessed Virgin Mary. They worship Christ and Him crucified.
A wooden cross is a dead life. Golden crosses are made of exploded star dust.
Its an outward display of an inner belief and a constant reminder which centers the individual in Christian perspective daily, what a Cross or Crucifix is made of really distracts from the why the practice is done. I suppose the claim is lack of humility but the act itself is humility in submission to divinity thus faith. Its a constant reminder to ask the Lord to protect me till He returns and a reminder of my priority, the outward display states there in no name which salvation comes save Jesus Christ of which I am convicted. Its “Jesus I Love You”, regardless of what trial should arise, I know Christ loves YOU and me.
As to humility, I am humbled by humility and convicted by the Lords, of which I can only imitate and pray to obtain that which I know accompanies humility itself. I have no excuse for my human shortcomings only a firm faith in our Savior. My humility compares not to the Lords, I humbly pray to the Lord that I remain in state of grace and in perspective as a “sinner”. I ask and hope you pray for me too as I do for you.
I suppose I should say thank you for the concern.
I often very unobtrusively wear a tiny gold cross which doesn’t also depict the Figure of Christ.
However, when taking Holy Communion to the sick, I take a palm-sized olive wood cross which shows the Crucified Christ. It brings them great comfort and helps those with dementia to focus. It means a great to them and they hold it with obvious love - humbling to see.
Cannot imagine why people would think we worship anyone or anything, other than God.
Not only that, but look at what God commanded for His Tabernacle and Ark in Exodus 35
4Moses said to the whole Israelite community, “This is what the Lord has commanded: 5From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver and bronze; 6blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair; 7ram skins dyed red and another type of durable leathera ; acacia wood; 8olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; 9and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece
Gold, Silver, fine linens died in rich colors, acacia wood etc…
The offerings of those materials are an offering to God Himself. We give the riches up for the glory of God.
Witness to the Lord, how ironic you are able to do this as a result of wearing a Cross and from the UK to the states. Beautiful, how wonderful is the lord.
Thank you Gary but please believe I was just trying to explain how special wooden crosses can be, because of the tactile quality etc. I’m very new to the role of E.M.H.C, feel totally unworthy and although love being allowed to take Our Lord ( As directed by our Priest) to anyone who is too long-term sick to get to Mass, I haven’t yet sufficient courage to assist at the Mass. There are many E.M.H.Cs in our large double Parish - I’m a very small cog who frequently makes mistakes and am still learning! Have only mentioned this in case you thought I was being boastful, which truly wasn’t the case.
God bless you.
Thank you everyone who has posted, you have been of great help.
tell them they have to ask God that. Since it was God who dictated that gold be used for sacred objects. Have them read Exodus 25 to 30.
Also gold is the symbol of Kingship. It’s one of the reasons the Magi gave gold to the baby Jesus. Anything associated with the One True King should be gold.
Worshiping something not divine (God) is idolatry. The Cross are used as the symbol of Christianity.
Catholics do not worship anything or anyone other than God!