It might seem like a ridiculous question, almost as ridiculous as the ever popular ‘Are you Catholic or Christian?‘ question, which many of the Protestant groups like to toss around every so often, almost as if they are trying to justify how they belong to a Christian community that Protested the Church that Christ established. Unfortunately, there are many Protestant communities out there that refer to themselves as ‘Christian’ but they don’t like the Crucifix… or more importantly they don’t like Catholics because they think that Catholics ‘like Christ’s dead body’ and thus keep It hanging from the Cross. They find the Crucifix annoying, since ‘we all know’ that Jesus resurrected, and that honoring Him ‘dead on the cross‘ is just plain stupid.
Unfortunately so many of these same ‘Christians’ don’t know the Faith. They don’t understand that it is only the Catholic Church that can trace it’s roots all the way back to Jesus… and then to Peter, whom Christ appointed as His successor…
“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Matthew 16:18
…The Apostolic line that continues all the way to our present day Pope. No other Christian ‘group’ can do that... all of them are just some sort of breaking away from the Truth…
Did you know, that everyone who considered himself a Christian in the early days was in fact a ‘Catholic’? They were one and the same….Christian equals Catholic, and it remained that way for over fifteen hundred years. Sure, there were periods when heresies against the Faith popped up and people had misunderstandings about what to believe, but for the most part, everyone who considered himself a Christian…was Catholic, that is until King Henry wanted to divorce his wife in 1509. Since he could not get the approval of the pope, he broke away…and became the head of his own church.
Then in 1517 Martin Luther, who was catholic, became concerned with some of the actions being taken by several corrupt priests and so he nailed his now famous ‘Thesis’ to the Church door, pointing out problems with some of these members. Most people never mention the fact, that the Catholic Church agreed with him on many of these same problems and worked them out without throwing the fit that Luther threw. But this action of Luther, caused an even further splintering or a breaking away from the True Church… Thus breaking the line of Apostolic succession…and creating ‘church communities’ that fail to encompass the True faith that Jesus Christ came to share. An interesting thing to note, is that when Martin Luther was on his death bed, he repented of his actions. He said that what started out as him trying to fix the actions of one bad church leader, only resulted in creating many more bad church leaders…. He realized that no good would come of this splintering… he realized too late that his own ego had stood in the way of the Truth.
As a result of this falling away, there are several tenants of the True faith that were lost among those who protested Jesus’ Church. Many of the Truths that had been handed on by Christ Himself were dismissed and abandoned all together… such as the truth about the Blessed Mother and her virginity. But the main Truth that they fail to believe is that the Eucharist is in fact the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ… instituted at the last Supper…
The list of things that protestants have rejected through the years goes on and on… furthering the separation of these groups from the Body of Christ... which is His Holy Catholic Church. And unfortunately there are now so many wolves in sheep’s clothing out there who are pretending to be preachers of the Lord’s Words, when in fact they spend all of their time bashing Christ’s True Church instead of actually bringing others to Him. This deserves our prayers because when you think about it… it is really quite sad.
This leads me to the title of this post… the Cross or the Crucifix… Many protestants dislike the idea of the Crucifix. They have a twisted view of Catholics over this. They profess that Jesus Christ has been resurrected and that we no longer need to have His ‘dead’ body nailed to the Cross for all eternity…they seem to think…or perhaps they have been told… that Catholics don’t accept Christ’s Resurrection…and that Catholics worship a dead Lord…. when in fact, nothing could be further from the truth… for Catholics… at least for this Catholic… witnessing Christ’s dead body on the Cross helps me to focus my love on Christ’s Living Body which is the Eucharist…
It is precisely for this reason that throughout the years the Crucifix has remained a center point for worship and prayer…it helps the human mind to understand…to somehow comprehend the enormous sacrifice that was made by Christ in His suffering and death on the Cross. It helps us to love the Lord… We must realize that it was not the bare cross that saved us… but it was the death of Christ on the Cross that brought man his salvation. With Christ’s Crucifixion, our sins have lost their power over us. Without this sacrificial death, we would still be un-forgiven, un-redeemed, unsaved… we would be lost. To have the Crucifix instead of the plain Cross, is by far the better way to instill this Truth in the hearts of all men. By using the Crucifix as a sacramental… a point on which to meditate, we can ‘witness’ the pain and the immense suffering our sin caused Jesus…
For those who call themselves ‘Bible’ Christians, this link between Jesus’ death on the Cross and His Resurrection from the tomb can be found in Scripture, Catholics just didn’t make it up.…And as faithful Christians we must maintain this link. We must not hide the brutal force our sin has against Our Dear Lord… We must not deny ourselves the Truth that it was our sin that Crucified our Dear Lord. Even to this day, it is a reminder for us to not allow ourselves to become seduced by the lies of the evil one… Think about it…the devil would like us all to forget that Jesus died for us…in fact, it was the devil himself who didn’t want Christ to get nailed to the Cross in the first place… there would be no redemption without it! It is that powerful... that important… and it helps us to remember the fullness of Christ’s message. The Crucifix helps convey to the faithful, the intensely personal nature of Christ’s death and redemption. The Crucifix has the power to open even the most hardened of hearts, revealing to the soul, the depth to which Our Lord loved each one of us. It is a message that just can’t be conveyed with bare wood. To remember only one aspect of Christ’s redemption would be to believe in a false gospel that cannot save us. For Christians who preach the Resurrection…you need to remember this; if we embrace the Resurrection we must also embrace the Holy Cross of His Crucifixion.
‘He who displays the cross, which was the instrument used by the Romans as a method of a most painful execution, in which the condemned is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross, left to hang until death, such a person who worships the plain cross…worships a wooden idol. But he who displays the Crucifix, with the Body of Our Dear Lord, he worships the Redeemer…That Who is present on the Cross…It is He who suffered an enormous amount of pain and suffering as payment for our sins.’ (Paraphrased from a quote by Cecil Dewars.)
This is SO true. I started a very similar post but have it saved as a draft because I haven’t been able to succinctly and beautifully summarize my thoughts. And you have done so perfectly. An empty cross is just that: empty. But a crucifix is a powerful testament to our God and Savior and His love which is so vast that we can never plumb the depths.
That last quote is so wonderful.
Thank you for this!!
I have been tossing this around for quite some time and recently read a comment by a young man who said that Catholics weren’t Christians because they worshiped the dead body of Jesus. He went on to make some other false points, but I just had to try and explain about the Crucifix. And yes, that last bit is quite beautiful, I wish I could commit it to memory. Thank you for your kind words!
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I am saddened by the hate in this post towards Evangelicals and I am sorry that you feel the way you do about them.
For some clarification though to all who read this article, I am the “young man” who supposedly said that Catholics worship the dead body of Christ and would like to point out that if you read the article I wrote, I never once said anything along those lines. I did say that Catholics focus more on Christ’s death than they do His death and resurrection as a whole. Please be sure to read/convey the words of others in context.
As far as the Catholic Church being the “Holy Church of Christ,” be sure to not fall into the same trap of arrogance that the Pharisees fell into. Yes, the Catholic Church can be tied back to Peter, but the first word that was used to refer to followers of Christ was the word “Christian” not Catholic. I pray that God would open your eyes to the truth and that you may find peace and rest in Him alone. God bless!
Wow… you might think that your eyes and heart are set on serving the Lord, but by evangelizing against the True Faith with such hostile efforts, you are only revealing that sadly, there is so much that you do not know. In a way, I can sympathize with you, because it is obvious that you have been raised in a ‘Christian community’ that knows little to nothing, about the One True Church that Christ instituted while He was here on earth.
I believe that you do love the Lord and wish to do His work, but that is almost impossible if in your ‘preaching’ you try to distort His Truth… His Church. In other words, though you may be doing some good works, through the power of the Holy Spirit, your heart is not open to the Truth… and His Spirit cannot move freely through you. Because if His Spirit was moving freely, you would not be so demeaning to the One True Faith, with ‘facts’ that border on slander. Oh yes, I believe that there are Christian communities that do well…as long as they retain an openness for God’s Truth. But the minute their efforts start as an attack against the Body of Christ here on earth…which by the way IS the Catholic Church, they have lost so much credibility.
I am praying for you and your efforts, as long as they work for God…for Christ…and not against Him. God Bless. Oh, here is the line in your post in which you present a distorted view of the Catholic Faith.
“Catholics, who claim that their faith is the original Christian faith, focus on the death only.” You also wrote “Christianity vs. Catholicism,” when in fact if the Truth be told…It should read: Christianity IS Catholicism.
There is nothing hostile in my efforts. Simply stating truth. My article was written with the intent to educate people on the difference between Christianity and Catholicism, which are not the same. If you felt it was hostile, that was due to my words being misinterpreted and taken out of context. On the contrary, your article was only written with hostile intent. You said yourself that you wrote it only after having read the article I wrote. So if a hostile person accuses a non-hostile person of being hostile, then what does that say to everyone else? I pray for you that you will discover the love and peace and mercy of Jesus Christ! This is all I will say. Best of luck to you in life. God bless!
As a Catholic who was poorly catechized in my youth and fell away from the Faith, and as one who was brought back to a relationship with Christ only through the goodness and Mercy of Our Dear Lord, as revealed in the fullness…and in the Truth of the Holy Catholic Church, I cannot help but to agree with this quote from Pope Pius XI, who served the Holy Mother Church from 1922- 1939. He says my sentiments exactly. We must accept God’s Words as Truth. We cannot turn our backs on those things we do not know…or those things we do not understand. I will pray for you, that you will be touched by God’s grace to see that there is so much more in His Holy Catholic Church than the few things which you do not understand.
“Wherefore, let the faithful also be on their guard against the overrated independence of private judgment and that false autonomy of human reason. For it is quite foreign to everyone bearing the name of a Christian to trust his own mental powers with such pride as to agree only with those things which he can examine from their inner nature, and to imagine that the Church, sent by God to teach and guide all nations, is not conversant with present affairs and circumstances; or even that they must obey only in those matters which she has decreed by solemn definition as though her other decisions might be presumed to be false or putting forward insufficient motive for truth and honesty. Quite to the contrary, a characteristic of all true followers of Christ, lettered or unlettered, is to suffer themselves to be guided and led in all things that touch upon faith or morals by the Holy Church of God through its Supreme Pastor the Roman Pontiff, who is himself guided by Jesus Christ Our Lord.”
(Pope Pius XI, – From his Encyclical Casti Connubii,which is his document on Holy Matrimony)