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St. Anthony Messenger

Use a Cross or a Crucifix?

March 29, 2017
Issue
Use a Cross or a Crucifix?

During the Good Friday liturgy at our parish, we venerate a plain cross and not a crucifix with a representation of Jesus’ body on it. The crucifix is kept out of sight in the sacristy.

Because this doesn’t seem right to me, I wrote a note in the parish’s suggestion box, recommending that we use a crucifix rather than a cross. A member of the parish staff responded that we are venerating the wood of the cross on which Jesus died, not a replica of Jesus’ body.

Also, our parish uses not the Way of the Cross composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori, but a text written by a parishioner. A booklet that has the St. Alphonsus text notes that a plenary indulgence is granted under the usual conditions. Does that apply to the text written by this parishioner? As far as I know, that text does not have a nihil obstat or imprimatur.

In the Third Edition of the Roman Missal (2010), the rubrics for veneration on Good Friday use the term cross 26 times and never use the word crucifix.

I realize that many places once used or may still use a crucifix for veneration, but that is not required. In fact, the ritual calls for the priest or deacon to proclaim three times before the veneration begins: “Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung the salvation of the world. Come, let us adore.”

Regarding your question about a plenary indulgence for praying the Way of the Cross, Concession 13 of the 2006 Manual of Indulgences addresses the conditions with no ref erence to a particular text to be prayed. You are free to prefer the one by St. Alphonsus, but that text does not enter into the gaining of the indulgence or not.

What is required is that the 14 stations be legitimately erected and have at least a cross on each one, that people meditate devoutly on Our Lord’s passion, and that at least the presider move from station to station. The same indulgence is available for similar pious practices established by Church authorities.

Confession and holy Communion are required either two weeks before or after the act to which an indulgence is attached. Also, praying the creed and remembering the pope’s intentions are expected. God sorts out all questions or doubts concerning indulgences.