Cross Purposes

Some years ago a Catholic friend shared with me an exchange he’d had with a Protestant acquaintance. The Protestant had pointed to a crucifix and said, “I don’t know why you Catholics always leave Jesus hanging on the Cross.” To which my friend had replied, “I don’t know why you Protestants are so eager to take him off.”

Both have a point. The Protestant is right that the Crucifixion finds completion in the Resurrection, and the Catholic justly underscores the Incarnation, symbolized by the corpus: Christ suffers as one of us. To me the story is a reminder that no single image covers the richness of our faith.

This is perhaps why I have found one crucifix to be particularly intriguing. The cross pictured here, by the Italian artist Filip Moroder-Doss, adorns the wall above the altar in the Sacramentskerk in Nijmegen. It has been my privilege to pray before it regularly, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, since the church first opened in 2011: this is the start of my workday. For that reason I am grateful for the compelling power of this sculpture. It is an example of religious art at its best: it is a continuing revelation, always...

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About the Author

Timothy P. Schilling studied English at Princeton and theology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and earned a doctorate in practical theology at the Katholieke Theologische Universiteit te Utrecht. Since 2003 he has served on the staff of the Center for Parish Spirituality, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.