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Symbolism and Catholicism

25 Jul 2016, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Doctrines, Sacraments

That Catholic liturgy is full of symbolism is not an exaggeration, but symbolism with a meaningful explanation. I don’t really want to detail symbolism in general but limit myself to Chasubles’ symbols.

The Chasuble is the Catholic priest’s outer garment for the Holy Mass’s celebration; it comes in different colors, depending on the liturgical season. It also comes with different designs and symbols, which some few persons confuse for something that it is not. An anti-Catholic Christian once said that the Catholic Church has an occult background reflected in the Catholic Chasubles’ designs; he claimed that most of the symbols on Catholic liturgical vessels and vestments are of demonic origin. What a shallow way of thinking! Ignorance is indeed an inflammatory disease that can make the mind swell to resist the truth.

The rich heritage and traditions of the Catholic Church are too deep for some people to understand; Catholicism demands a lot of faith, so many things to really understand; if not, you may confuse it for what it is not just as many confuse our symbols for what they are not. The symbols used in the Catholic Church are not connected to Satanism; they are Christian symbols with a beautiful meaning. Below are some of these symbols engraved on the Chasuble.

FishThis is a Chasuble with the symbol of a Fish. The fish was the early Christian symbol of identity. When the Church was under persecution, they could not use the cross as their symbol but rather used the fish to avoid easy identification.

DoveThe Dove is the Holy Spirit’s symbol; it is the same Holy Spirit at work in and through the Church.

ChaliceThe Holy Mass is all about sacrificing the body and blood of Jesus Christ fully present in the form of bread and wine. The Chalice engraved on the Chasuble symbolizes the blood, why the bread the body.

LambJesus is referred to as the Lamb of God in the bible, so Lamb’s image on this Chasuble reflects that biblical title and nothing more. Jesus is the Lamb of God.

KingOn this Chasuble is the design of a crown, which symbolizes kingship. Jesus is the king of kings; he is the one who works in and through the priests.

PXThe symbol on this Chasuble is familiar to many Catholics, but I guess not every Catholic knows what it stands for. The sign (PX) means Christ, the priest; why the sign or symbol below signifies Christ’s beginning and the end.

CrossSome Chasubles carries the sign of the cross. You don’t need anyone to explain to you the centrality of the cross in Christendom, do you?

These are some of the symbols engraved in Catholic vestments and sacred vessels; they are not satanic or connected to occult practices. We are proud of our heritage.

  • Madonna Reply

    Thanks Fr. for all these explanations, infact the more knowledgeable we are the more firm we be, sometimes due to lack of knowledge of some of these things many are been deceived by those who claim to know God better but only out there to make money. More Greece to your elbow, more nointing may the Good Lord continue to protect and bless you.

  • Damian Olisa Reply

    Thks Padre for this informetion, i am very happy about this.

  • ada Reply

    wonderful teaching!