Veneration of the cross
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 363
    I'm not sure this is the right forum but on Good Friday in every Catholic Church we venerate the cross. Should the crucified Jesus be on the cross? Are there any church rubrics or requirements regarding this?
  • Somewhat fraught question, discussed before.

    The rubrics in the 2011 current novus ordo Missal do not specify explicitly whether the adored Cross should have a Corpus or not.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,066
    It is said that this has been clarified and that "all liturgical references to the cross mean a cross with a corpus". However I have not yet seen a source referenced. If true I would regret the loss of the desolate experience of gazing at something like this in our Cathedral. But we had a relic of the true cross to venerate as well.
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  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,066
    FWIW a similar question was answered -
    ROME, 3 MAY 2011 (ZENIT)
    Answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
    ... Finally, while I personally hold that it is preferable to use a cross with a corpus, the possibility of using a simple cross is contemplated in several documents published by the U.S. bishops' conference. I have not found anything in universal law that could decide the question one way or the other, although my own interpretation is that when the liturgical documents mention a cross they almost invariably mean a crucifix.
    But I have seen it implied that there is a recent Vatican ruling which I cannot find.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,888
    isn't JESUS on the cross the one whom we adore, crucify daily in the Mass, and take into our beings?

    On this very day of days in which we remember what Christ has done for us, For God's Sake and Yours, find a real crucifix.
  • I would be very, very happy, to have adored a traditional crucifix today. Instead, a bare cross.

    However... the traditional hymn (which alas we did not sing at my parish today) is addressed to the Cross itself, that faithful Tree, which bore so sweet a Fruit, and which we implore to

    ... smooth your roughness,
    Flex your boughs for blossoming;
    Let your fibres lose their toughness,
    Gently let your tendrils cling;
    Lay aside your native gruffness,
    Clasp the body of your King!

    So, say I, in fact and foundation we are on this one day in this one ritual, worshipping (dulia not latria) the Cross itself.
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,888
    I may be wrong, however, I may be correct, but a Crucifix without a corpus is a novelty of very late. We have always kissed the feet of Jesus in veneration.

    a representation of a cross with a figure of Jesus Christ on it.

    If I ever approach a relic of the true cross, that would be an entirely different matter.

    Furthermore, it would be interesting to know what the VO has always prescribed in its theology and practice as compared to the NO and its theology and practice.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,888

    the last line of your post...

    Clasp the body of your King!

    The cross without the Christ? Is not this the symbol of non Catholic theology?

    Incidentally, Aquinas also addresses this sticky subject concerning Latria.
  • Francis, I am sorry, but I don't know what you are asking me.

    There is no meaning to the Cross except for Christ! And we (the Catholics) do place an image of Christ upon the Cross, and so we should continue to do. Also those (protestants? Not sure) who say that the Cross should always be depicted without Christ's body "because he is risen", are wrong. Also those (hmm, some Catholics too) who prefer a so-called "Resurrection crucifix" with a welcoming Christ-figure wide alive and arms open in welcome.. well that's not the theology of the Cross either, that they prefer.

    But it's easy to find historical and ancient images of the Cross without the body of the Lord. Because the Cross itself was and is venerated. Read, if you will, the acts of Second Nicaea, wherein the icon of the Cross is pretty clearly described and allowed, separately from the icons of the Saviour.

    The quote is from the current Missal, translating Fortunatus's superni membra regis mite tendas stipite. Clearly it addresses the personified Cross, of whom Christ is the King as He is of all.
  • St John of the Cross wrote,
    Do not seek Christ without the Cross.

    works the other way, too. we don't have the strength to bear it without Him.
    Thanked by 1AndrewSincerely
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    We venerate a large plain cross with a documented relic of the true cross in the center.
  • JonLaird
    Posts: 209
    Hearing today's Passion and the accompanying homily, and the Reproaches, "My Song Is Love Unknown," and Crux fidelis as they approached the large bare cross in our church today, I don't think anyone was ignorant of the dulce pondus as their lips touched the dulce lignum.

    To those whose hearts are steeped in the liturgy, the absence of "Alleluia" is a real penance. Similarly, the absence of the corpus seemed like the same . . . this was no social-justice-resurrection-Jesus-don't-look-there's-nothing-to-see-here cross. We read the Passion; Jesus has given up his spirit. He is dead -- in a sense, really gone from us. The bleakness of the church, empty of adornment, is compounded when we are deprived even of his body to venerate, but only the blessed wood which bore it.

    Of course -- of course! -- the witness of the crucifix must prevail; we cannot be ashamed of it. And in a church where one is likely to have many parishioners with such an attitude of shame, pastoral wisdom suggests being sure to use a crucifix with a corpus. But in a place where the counsel "take up your Cross" is preached week after week and liturgy and symbols in the church are not watered down, the faithful who are "well fed" (spiritually) with Christ's body at other times can bear to see it separated from the cross on Good Friday without fear of scandal.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,550
    If one wants to see a corpus in our church one need only look at the giant crucifix atop the rood screen. You can't miss it.
  • We use a very large cross with a relic of the True Cross mounted in the center.
    Otherwise I should think a crucifix would be most fitting.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,125
    For us a bare cross that lives most of the year in the choir staircase.

    I noticed something new (or maybe newly noticed?) this year: at each of the three "Ecce lignum" intonations a bit of the shroud was peeled back, from each arm and last from the top-piece. Is this, um, drama a widespread tradition?
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,066
    The gradual unveiling is unchanged from the EF. There are in OF two options - 1/ gradual unveiling in the sanctuary, or 2/ entrance from the back of the church with an unveiled cross. The unveiling is -first the top of the cross, then the right arm, then the whole cross is revealed. Either way there are three pronouncements "This is ..." each followed by the adoration of the people.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Richard Mix
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,888
    Furthermore, it would be interesting to know what the VO has always prescribed in its theology and practice as compared to the NO and its theology and practice.

    Perhaps you should research and answer this question yourself!
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,125
    unchanged from the EF. The unveiling is -first the top of the cross, then the right arm, then the whole cross is revealed.
    Is there actually a rubric for this? My 1923 LU simply says "versus ad populum discooperit Crucem".
  • KyleM18
    Posts: 150
    From Roman Missal 2010, Good Friday, Veneration of the Holy Cross, First Form:
    T he Deacon accompanied by ministers, or another suitable minister, goes to the sacristy, from which, in procession, accompanied by two ministers with lighted candles, he carries the Cross, covered with a violet veil, through the church to the middle of the sanctuary. The Priest, standing before the altar and facing the people, receives the Cross, uncovers a little of its upper part and elevates it while beginning the Ecce lignum Crucis (Behold the wood of the Cross). He is assisted in singing by the Deacon or, if need be, by the choir. All respond, Come, let us adore. At the end of the singing, all kneel and for a brief moment adore in silence, while the Priest stands and holds the Cross raised...
    Then the Priest uncovers the right arm of the Cross and again, raising up the Cross, begins, Behold the wood of the Cross and everything takes place as above.
    Finally, he uncovers the Cross entirely and, raising it up, he begins the invitation Behold the wood of the Cross a third time and everything takes place like the first time.

    Emphasis mine.
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,066
    From my father's hand missal, printing date missing but moveable feasts listed from 1925 :
    ... the officiating priest having laid aside his black chasuble, and having recieved from the deacon the Altar Cross, ... He uncovers before all the people, first, the head of the crucifix, next, the right arm, and lastly the entire cross. While doing so, he advances from the Epistle corner ... thrice chanting, each time on a higher tone: Ecce lignum ...
    That is before any 1955 changes. Clearly this is a crucifix, not a plain cross.
    For EF the LU 1962 (English rubrics etc.) has scrambled the description (complete unveiling done twice!) but is clearly intended to be the same sequence.
    Thanked by 1Richard Mix
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,888
    from The Cross and the Crucifix by former Protestant Steve Ray

    Ecumenical Considerations
    Most Protestants, I am convinced, don’t “cross themselves” and reject the crucifix in favor of a bare cross, simply because these practices are Catholic--period. They do not think deeply on this matter, they simply try to avoid “Romish ritual”. They say cute things like “Jesus is risen and not on the cross, so why do you Catholics leave Him on the cross?”, but that is not really the reason they shun the crucifix. They shun the crucifix in principle because it is Catholic and in their heart they believe Catholic teaching and practice is unbiblical, and therefore to be avoided or rebuked, certainly not encouraged or practiced. I know, I was there as an Evangelical Protestant Christian.

    This may not be the conscious action of modern Protestants, but it is certainly their heritage as the progeny of the “Reformation”. It boils down to principle, intolerance, and even pettiness. Catholics should not take down their crosses or their crucifixes to please Protestant friends. Instead, they should educate their Protestant friends to the history of the subject and expose the silly inconsistencies of the Protestant position. Protestants tend to be uninterested in church history and while they criticize Catholics for following tradition and the Pope, they slavishly follow their own Fundamentalist traditions and believe everything their pastors tell them. The difference is that the Catholic has 2,000 years of history, exegesis, and precedent, whereas the Protestant makes it up as he goes along, reinventing the wheel in thousands of differing styles and shapes with each generation.

    If we as Catholics are so ready to give up our Catholic distinctives, customs passed down to us by the Fathers, then Protestant brethren will conclude that the Catholic distinctives are irrelevant, even to the Catholic. They will then conclude that the sacraments, Holy Tradition, the Magisterium, and other “Catholic things” are just unnecessary appurtenances. For example: a Catholic goes to pray with a group of Protestants. The Protestants are watching very carefully. The Protestants don’t sacrifice a single thing--they pray like Protestants, like they do in their exclusively Protestant circles. The Catholic, on the other hand, does not cross himself with Protestants, does not begin “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” and does not mention Mary, the Saints, and never quotes from the seven books the Protestants removed from the Bible

    What does the non-Catholic think? “We gave up nothing to pray with the Catholic, we stuck to our principles. The Catholic gave up his Catholic distinctives, in other words, the Catholic left his Catholicism at the door with his hat and coat. He is willing to give up his Catholicism to “become Protestant” for an hour, like us, so why is it necessary for us to consider Catholicism as anything singularly important? If he is willing to give up as unnecessary his Catholic customs, then probably the other distinctively “Catholic things” are also dispensable: the Real Presence, regenerative baptism, infant baptism, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium, Mary and the saints, sexual mores, Purgatory, the Sacrifice of the Mass, etc.”

    If we Catholics so willingly to set aside practice (Catholic distinctives), the Protestants assume we will just as easily dispense with the dogma. They will assume this because they don’t understand the difference between the two. This conclusion is the inevitable, though not necessarily factual conclusion, and it does great harm to the Church and to Christian unity. In the practice of “compromising unity,” a false unity, we have the potential to damage true unity under the successor of Peter. These Catholics should put the crucifix back on your wall, cross yourself proudly, and wear their Catholicism proudly, unabashedly, without apologizing to anyone.

    I don’t believe it is an exaggeration to say that the bare cross is a sign of Protestantism in many cases, like the crucifix is to the Catholic. “Ecumenically-sensitive” Catholics have in the past removed their crucifixes (and other distinctly Catholic symbols) to accommodate their Protestant brethren [Endnote 25]; does the Protestant take down their Protestant symbols and statement, the bare cross or others, out of sensitivity to their Catholic brethren, or do they leave their stripped down statements boldly in place?

    This has been a brief overview of the situation with images, the cross and the Crucifix. It has gone through many stages and various controversies have swirled around the great sign of the Christian and the Catholic Church. The best we can do is learn our history, correctly understand Scripture, trust in the Church of God, “the pillar and foundation of the truth,” and be bold and confident about Her faith and practice.
  • JahazaJahaza
    Posts: 467
    The clarification that a cross with a crucifix was to be used at Mass was in the latest edition of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

    That the cross used on Good Friday should also be a cross with an image of the crucified Christ is not explicit currently, but I think is a reasonable conclusion.