Is it proper to wear a cross or must it be a crucifix?

Full Question

What is the proper crucifix to have or to wear? I was told that a cross is not the same as a crucifix. I was told also that a cross represents that Jesus has risen and is proper to wear.


Some Protestants suggest that because Catholics often depict Jesus on the cross it means that they believe he has not risen. This is, of course, nonsense. Catholics are adamant about the Resurrection of Christ. That’s why it is written into the creed that we say every Sunday.
Depicting the cross bare is not an especially good symbol of the resurrection since the cross probably never stood bare. When Jesus was taken down from it, the crossbeam that his arms were nailed to was probably removed. It is doubtful that after he rose from the dead anyone bothered putting the crossbeam back up.

From a Catholic perspective there is little theological significance for items of personal jewelry whether or not the cross is bare. In a wide variety of art forms, Christians throughout the ages have depicted both Jesus on the cross and the bare cross depending not on theological considerations but on other factors, such as whether the medium they were working in could accommodate the human form easily and whether they had the artistic skill or craftsmanship to fashion a corpus.
Traditionally there has been a preference for showing the corpus when possible, as this is a more vivid reminder of the crucifixion (the crucifixion is the whole point of a cross, after all). However, this is not a theological mandate.

Bottom line: Wear whichever one you prefer. (Though know that most people will identify you as a Catholic if you wear one with a corpus.)

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This post was published on November 3, 2014 5:02 pm

Raphael Benedict

Raphael Benedict is a Catholic who wants nothing but to spread the catholic faith to reach the ends of the world. Make this possible by always sharing any article or prayers posted on your social media platforms. Remain blessed

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  • The catholic church has been the custodian of the Christians religion for over 1500years. Who is the better authority in that area? It's because of other things that they specifically broke away and necessarily the faith. I always tell them that, try keeping a religion for more than 2000years then come back and talk about faith and doctrines

  • In addition when Christ was nailed to the cross two thieves were nailed beside him,how are we sure those who wear a cross without a crucifix are not carrying the one of the thieves?

  • But we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,4 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor. 1:23-24).

  • There's always what St Paul said:
    For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
    1 Corinthians 2:2
    ...but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
    1 Corinthians 1:23
    Pax Christi

  • I have a cross tattoo, that is two infinity symbols that is my reminder that good is infinite in his love and mercy and Jesus will always be there for me, is this bad? I'm genuinely interested in becoming Catholic, since my grandmother was. How do I do this? Email me at socialmediastandin(at)gmail(dot)com please

  • I was told by a Catholic nun that I should always wear a cross/crucifix at all times because Christ carried the cross for us, so we should carry a cross for Him.

  • I wear a crucifix all the time. One, because I want to be identified as Catholic and two, because some young Muslim guys decided they were offended by the cross I was wearing. It was on the Metro in Paris and all they did was spit...we got off the train and they did follow so it wasn't awful. But, I did decided I would only wear a crucifix, and the bigger the better.

  • To Geraldine, remember every rosary has the crucifix on which we profess our faith by saying the Apostle's Creed. You also know Jesus life & ministry including His mother are honored in the mysteries. God knows what's in all our hearts & minds in all we think, say, & do. Read a little book called "The Secret of the Rosary" by St. Louis De Montfort. My guess is you will never be without a rosary & will understand why our seniors in nursing homes immediately put their rosary over their head to wear it, even if only have one good arm to do it with. They know that the rosary is a powerful sacramental & not jewelry. Saw a news video with a quick view of a Syrian soldier whose shirt was torn open to expose the rosary around his neck. They said he was led away to be tortured & put to death. He risked & lost his life for wearing this sacramental. There was no doubt he was a Christian. When it has been worn that I know of, it is over the neck under clothes, or in a pocket or purse. Nuns & friars used to loop them over a belt to pray throughout the day. God knows why each person has chosen to wear theirs. God bless!

  • I read that wearing a Rosary around your neck was disrespectful to our lord Jesus is this true or false ?

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