I seem to remember reading in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal that a crucifix showing Christ crucified must be present in the altar area during Mass. Is this correct?
There is also to be a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified upon it, either on the altar or near it, where it is clearly visible to the assembled congregation. It is appropriate that such a cross, which calls to mind for the faithful the saving Passion of the Lord, remain near the altar even outside of liturgical celebrations. (GIRM 308)