Monday, December 18, 2006

More on the ressurifix

This is the original(?) crucifix;

This is the previous ressurifix;

but it's ok to have an aborifix?

In answer to why it is not ok to have a crucifix in a Catholic Church, I was told by (one of the diocese's) Canon Lawyer; "why worry about such a little thing, is this the hill you wish to die on?" - which reminded me of another priest's adominition to "pick your battles carefully." I am not looking to die on a little hill, or even do battle; I just don't get it.

I pointed out to the Canon Lawyer that Mother Theresa observed that the efforts of man, measured against the immensity of God, are ALL LITTLE, to the point of being indistinguishable. That is why it is easier to become a saint in the little way...

Thus, if the Church says that a parish church will have a crucifix; and in my mind I can justify that a processional cross sporting a ressurifix (which is not a crucifix), an item that is not even present except during mass, fulfills the letter of the law, even if contravening the intent, then it seems that I am being rather legalistic, and not displaying much respect for the law of the church in its own right.

I normally stay away from these topics on this blog; and will not tarry here. I will only add that the crucifix plays an important role in the organic whole of a church, just as does the holy water in the font. When entering the church with a heavy heart, and finding rocks in the font during lent, the heart is not assisted, but hurt. When we enter a church and cannot find the crucifix, or even worse, cannot find the tabernacle, we cry out in the anguish of the profound devotion of Mary Magdalen, They have taken my Lord, and I don't know where they have laid him. This heartbreaking sorrow is why it is good to do justice, and render what is due to the faithful.

May the legalistic thinking that justifies injustice give way to charity.


  1. Using "is this the hill you want to die on" in reference to a crucifix is rather ironic. Calvary anyone?

  2. St. Paul said, "we preach Christ crucified" [I Cor. 1:23]. which was a stumblingblock for many of the Jews and foolishness to the world. He didn't preach Christ resurrected. Sorry Mark, it is I that gave you that term, ressurifix. Christ also said that when He would be raised up, He would draw all men unto Himself. It is critical that the Church preach Christ crucified because as long as we are alive, He is our Way and our Life.

  3. He didn't preach Christ resurrected.

    Sure he did. "If Christ be not raised...."

    "Christ has died, Christ is risen" may be the mother of all both/ands in the Catholic faith.

    Whether a single article of devotion can or should express both is a question where art, prudence, and theology meet.

  4. Tom,

    when you wrote; "Christ has died, Christ is risen" were you referring to the "mysterium fide," which was removed from the new translation being prepared because it is an ICEL construct, rather than an actual part of the mass, per the Typical Edition?

  5. Mark:

    Yes, I quoted that ICEL construct. Yes, it is being removed (last I heard) from the new translation.

    What is it you think follows from this?

  6. Tom,

    You observed: "Whether a single article of devotion can or should express both is a question where art, prudence, and theology meet."

    That is a good summation, and certainly it is an open question, in its proper place. However, as far as I can tell, the question is not open when it comes to the mass, where we are not given authority to change the words and symbols, or their meaning, but are to faithfully transmit what we have received.

    To be bored or otherwise dissatisfied with what has been received, and to think we can improve on it by changing it, betrays a need to consider that the problem is not with the holy things we have received, but with us.

    That, by the way, describes marriage as much as the mass!

    God bless,