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Friday, June 1, 2007
A Crucifix versus a Risen Christ

Unfortunately, some sanctuaries in Catholic chapels and churches are replacing the image of Jesus Crucified with those of a Risen Christ. This is wrong from both a traditional and historical perspective. We must never forget that only through the Crucifixion is there a Resurrection.

Should an image of the Risen Christ replace a Crucifix?


From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the United States: "117. ... Also on or close to the altar, there is to be a cross with a figure of Christ crucified."

The Code of Canon Law, canon 846 requires the liturgical books be faithfully followed. Therefore, an image of the Risen Christ should never replace the Crucifix. Not until the past few generations would churches even begin to think of doing such an action. Let us pray for an end to modernism.


del_button June 3, 2007 at 11:23 AM
Mark said...


What about Christ the King on the Cross? I know this picture is from an Anglican Church, but I was wondering if you would ever see this in a Catholic Church?

del_button June 3, 2007 at 11:31 AM
Seminarian Matthew said...

Mark, from what I see, I don't think there is a problem with the Cross in the link. After all, at least it is an image of Our Lord on the Cross not an image of Christ Risen like this one.

del_button June 3, 2007 at 1:33 PM
Joseph-USA said...

I never thought about this before.

Thanks for bringing such an obvious and fundamental issue into view. Subtle changes erode like running water, constantly wearing away.

You are using your mind well. You will likely become a valuable priest.

I've just today been introduced to your blog, as an outgrowth of a sad event.

del_button June 3, 2007 at 2:12 PM
Mark said...

Aaaaaah! Gotcha; thanks!

del_button April 8, 2010 at 11:10 AM
Ron Zeilinger said...

Dear Matthew,
Thank you for your theological precision. There is a lot of uninformed good will, but also a great need to understand our long-standing traditions. Any inmate we serve in our Catholic prison outreach will tell you that there is no resurrection without passing through the crucifixion!
Ron Zeilinger Dismas Ministry

del_button April 8, 2010 at 1:05 PM
Matthew said...

Ron Zeilinger:

Thank you for writing me. I have not heard of Dismas Ministry before. Would you be willing to write up something so that I could possibly share it with my blog readers to make them aware of its existence.

del_button June 18, 2010 at 3:38 PM
Anonymous said...

I've been giving this issue some thought lately. I try to place myself into the mindset of the early church, or rather, the early followers of Christ. It would seem to me that to have the dead Christ on the cross (from an early perspective) would be blasphemy except for on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Having an image of the Risen Christ would seem to be a true celebration of Christ's Ascension and prophesied return. In my opinion, I feel that an image of the Risen Christ on the cross would be the most appropriate image on all days except Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Otherwise it seems as though his death is being celebrated, rather than his (and our) salvation. I know this is VERY complex and issue to deal with. I'm only trying to envision it from a very early perspective. Thank you.

del_button July 6, 2010 at 10:21 AM
Anonymous said...

I am sorry, but this perspective is wrong. It is only through studying history that we discover that in the first few centuries after Christ died and rose from the dead that the first followers understood the cross as a victory over sin, death and suffering. If there was no Resurrection then Christ's death would have been meaningless. The Risen Christ is what the first Christians believed and we are getting back to the true meaning of why Christ came.

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