A READER OF THIS BLOG, WHO HAPPENS TO LIVE IN GERMANY, ASKED ME ABOUT THE CHURCH’S LAW REGARDING A CRUCIFIX ON THE ALTAR. EVIDENTLY IN SOME OF THE CHURCHES HE WORSHIPS IN THERE IS EITHER ONLY A PLAIN CROSS, OR A CROSS WITH THE IMAGE OF CHRIST THE KING.
I REPLIED TO HIS INQUIRY AS FOLLOWS:
Liturgical law on this matter is contained in the front of the Roman Missal.
In the front of the Missal is the section entitled: Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani.
Chapter 5 of the Institutio is entitled: De Ecclesiarum Dispositione et Ornatu ad Eucharistiam Celebrandam.
Article 308 of that Chapter states:
Also, upon the altar or near it a cross, with the figure of Christ crucified, is to be placed
which is easily seen by the congregation. It is proper that such a crucifix,
which helps the faithful to recall and keep in mind the saving sacrifice and passion of Our Lord,
should remain on the altar even apart from the time of liturgical celebrations.