Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cross vs. the Crucifix: Which is more Catholic?

We have seen this but never did I expect that this will also happen Eastern Catholic parish.

Parishioners are fighting with their local bishop who wanted to remove the crucifix hanging over their altars with a Marthoma cross (shown above).  The parishioners want the traditional Latin crucifix with the corpus of the crucified Christ rather than the simple cross.

I am not familiar with the liturgical rubrics of the Syro-Malabar Church but it is simple logic why the people would prefer a crucifix over a cross.

John Paul II and Benedict XVI insisted the crucifix MUST be at the center of the church during Mass.

Which do you think reminds them more of the loving sacrifice of Christ made present always in the Holy Sacrifice or Divine Liturgy?

That is why the Church does not allow a simple cross nor a Resu-fix, the one with the levitating Christ.

1 comment:

  1. The St Thomas Cross is as Catholic as the Latin Crucifix. If you look at the Wikipedia picture of the Syro-Malabar church, this cross is kept in the Holy of Holies, veiled by a curtain. The St Thomas Cross represents to the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church what the Crucifix represents to the Latin Church.

    The bishop you mentioned is probably implementing Papal and conciliar decisions starting with Leo XIII's Orientalium Dignitas and confirmed by Vatican II's Orientalium Ecclesiarum on removing and forbidding Latin elements in the Eastern Catholic Churches.

    Removal of the legacy of centuries of Latinization will of course be contentious among some Eastern Catholics. Bishops have to be extremely pastorally sensitive in this regard. In the Ukrainian Catholic Church this has resulted in a mini-schism of a traditionalist group with backing from the schismatic SSPX.

    For example, the Rosary is not promoted as a public devotion in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church since the Greeks have a similar devotion. This would be shocking to Latin Catholics who regard the devotion as the Roman Catholic one.

    We have to look at these expressions of Catholicism beyond Roman Catholic eyes.

    This is an issue when the Anglican Church is restored as part of the Latin Church. In my opinion, the post Tridentine and Vatican II liturgical elements should not be imposed on the Anglican Church in union with Rome. The Sarum Mass in Latin is OK and we would welcome it as part of our identity. The Tridentine Mass is OK only if the Anglicans request it. The Mass of Paul VI is fine but it should not be encouraged. It is not the OF of the Anglican Church. The liturgy based on the Book of Common Prayer that draws from the Sarum and from Cranmer minus the Protestant innovations is probably the best.

    As for the Crucifix, Rosary and the Psalter, these devotions and expressions are part of Anglican spirituality. We can reintroduce the Psalter to laypeople in the Latin Church since this has long been lost after Trent and much more after Vatican II.