Some Christians object to the Catholics' use of the crucifix, which portrays Jesus on the cross. They claim it shows a desire to keep Christ crucified, or that it is offensive because it shows Jesus' weakness and defeat. Instead, they say the cross is a much better symbol.
While Catholics are certainly free to prefer one over the over, we believe the crucifix portrays other things. For example, it shows Christ dying for the our sins - the greatest act of love that has ever been done. And Jesus was not weak. Though he was reluctant to be crucified (Luke 22:42), he ultimately did his Father's will, showing his strength. The bible stresses its importance: "I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2).
One way of looking at the cross and crucifix is this: The crucifix clearly displays Jesus' act of love, and his cross (as opposed to crosses of other people who have been crucified in history). An empty cross could represent his resurrection. An empty cross can also be carried - it can represent the cross every Christian must carry in life (Mark 8:34).
- Answers to Protestant Objections to the Crucifix - By Mary Beth Kramski (catholic.com)
- Quick Question: Why Not a Bare Cross? (catholic.com)
- Why Have a Crucifix? [2 min] - By John Martignoni (biblechristiansociety.com)
- Cross and Crucifix - Its history, liturgical uses, crucifixion, etc (oce.catholic.com)
- Archæology of the Cross and Crucifix - From an instrument of punishment, to art, and the crucifix (newadvent.org)
- Why Portray Jesus on a Cross - Very brief (davidmacd.com)
- The Cross & the Crucifix - Why we have the crucifix, and its place in Christian history. Scroll down to read the entire article in .doc format; by Steven Ray (catholic-convert.com)
- The Crucifix - A short piece on the crucifix and the greatest act of love ever made; by Patty Bonds (bringyou.to)
- Religious Images and Statues - Why do Catholics have them?