Wheelton's Crucifix

At St Chad’s Roman Catholic Church near Wheelton, Lancashire, is a large crucifix displayed, such as Catholic churches are wont to have. It appears to be life-sized, which, in the run up to Good Friday, I found particularly affecting. Nevertheless, a crucifix one will not find in a protestant church, save those Anglicans which look Rome-ward. Such effigies always tempt the viewer to idolatry, as though the image were the real thing.

They do usefully bespeak Christ’s suffering on the Cross that our sins merited. Nevertheless, they tell but half the tale. He rose again for our justification, having declared His work finished ahead of expiring. He came off the cross, His suffering complete, His full payment made. This is where Rome errs. She teaches that He is sacrificed anew in the Mass, as though His actual Passion was insufficient. Furthermore, Rome teaches that the Christian suffers for his own sins in purgatory; a text beneath this very crucifix begs the reader to ‘pray for Father George…’. If the Lord Jesus paid for George’s sins at Calvary, my prayers are not needed. If the Lord Jesus did not pay for His sins in full, my prayers are useless. The Lord’s sacrifice ended at His death; the believer's atoning for his own sins is impossible except in hell. This really is good news- even for Roman Catholics.