Pope wants more public display of crucifixes

Pope Benedict XVI has said that the crucifix should be present in public and private places because it is an external symbol of God's presence and a reminder of humanity's shared God-given dignity.

"The modern world believed that by putting God aside" and following man's ideas and desires people could "become truly free," but that did not happen, the pope said during his homily at Mass on Monday's Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The pope's comments came while he celebrated Mass at St. Thomas Church in Castel Gandolfo, where the papal summer residence is located south of Rome.

It is important that "God be present in the symbol of the cross in public places, (that) God be present in our communal life because only if God is present (will) we have a guide, a common path," the pope said.

Meanwhile the Catholic Church in New Zealand has written to the country's Electoral Commission, objecting to the use of the cross in the logo of the NZ National Front political party.

The Diocese of Dunedin said that the cross, representing as it does the means by which Christ died, is a revered symbol for Catholics and other Christians, and its significance has not diminished over the 2000-year period since the death of Christ.

Diocesan Chancellor Fr John Harrison said that the name and ethos of the New Zealand National Front party appears fundamentally opposed to Christianity, to the point that possible confusion occasioned by its use of the cross in its logo would create offence.

Section 65A of the Electoral Act 1993 provides that the Electoral Commission shall refuse an application for the registration of the logo of a political party if, in its opinion, the logo submitted by the party is offensive, is likely to cause confusion or mislead electors or contains any reference to a title or honour or similar form of identification.

The Dunedin Diocese has asked the Electoral Commission to decline approval of the logo of the new party in its present form.

In making this request, they also recall the high regard that our nation places on those who have merited the award of the Victoria Cross. For this reason alone, the association of a cross with a political party would seem the type of reference that should be avoided in a political party logo.

Pope says society needs cross as reminder of people's shared dignity (Catholic Online/Catholic News Service 15/8/05)
Catholic Diocese opposes NZ National Front party logo application (Catholic Communications New Zealand 16/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Church in New Zealand
Diocese of Dunedin

National Front's cross logo causes Catholic Church to complain to Electoral Commission (NZCity 16/8/05)
Church opposed to National Front logo (One News/TVNZ 16/8/05)
National Front cross plan angers church (New Zealand Herald 16/8/05)
Pope wants crosses back in public places (ABC/Reuters 16/8/05)
Pope says society needs cross as reminder of people's shared dignity (Catholic Online/Catholic News Service 15/8/05)
Crucifixes in government buildings (eitb24 15/8/05)

17 Aug 2005