Q: Can you tell me where in church documents I can find information on the red cross on the corporal? Is this optional? If a corporal has a red cross, where is it placed on the linen? The middle of the linen or toward one edge of the cloth, i.e. closer to the priest and where he will place the sacred vessels?
A: Sure. The red cross appears nowhere in church documents. It’s a custom that has evolved over many years. Sometimes the cross is in the middle. Sometimes it’s closer to one edge. Sometimes there is no cross.
The important point about a corporal is the creases, not the cross. It should be placed flat on the altar and then opened up so that the downward creases can collect any particles of the broken host. Many priests and deacons set the corporal on the altar with the bumps up – upside down.
The creases have a function. The cross does not.