In heraldry, a cross towering over a fallen crescent may be related to a particular battle against the Ottoman Empire.
But typically in the Catholic Church, the crescent does not represent any such link. It has neither Muslim nor Christian origin; rather it goes back much further to an ancient Pagan association.
On a Christian Crescent Cross, the whiteness of the moon represents virginity, and in particular, the Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Mary is often pictured with a white crescent under her feet. An example is shown beneath the image of the Mexican painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe, although the colours have darkened substantially since it was painted in the 16th century.
This image relates to the reference in the Book of Rev. 12:1, where the woman is described as
The stars refer to the twelve tribes of Israel and the woman in Rev. 12 corresponds to Israel. Whilst it is recognised that Jesus was born of Mary, it is also recognised that Jesus, the son of David from the tribe of Judah, was born of Israel.
In the same chapter, verse 5, we read that the woman
These paintings are representations of Mary's Assumption into heaven.
For the Diocese of Trenton (dioceseoftrenton.org) in central New Jersey, USA, the patronal feast is 15 August, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Consequently, a white crescent moon appears on the Moline Cross of the diocese' emblem.
The symbol is not only used by Roman Catholics. On the right is a similar cross atop a Protestant church in Okinawa.
However, for that church the symbol does not represent a crescent. Neither is it supposed to be an Anchor Cross nor the hull of a boat with mast and yardarm, even though the church is just a 25-minute walk to the ocean.
The church warden told us that the upward-pointing curves represent hands. These could be a penitent's hands raised in supplication, or the hands of Christ, forming perhaps a chalice or baptsimal font. As it says in Ps. 37:5, we should put our lives in the hands of the Lord; have faith in him and he will look after us.
You may, or may not, already know the above information and if you have atheistic leanings you may, or may not, care anyway. But there's something else about the moon that even hard-core evolutionists may be interested in: Not only is the moon critical to life on earth, but it just so happens to be the right size, and the right distance from us.
You've probably seen the joke about three scientists and you don't have to be a scientist to notice in a solar eclipse it gets quite dark. But have you ever considered why this should be so? After all, the sun is gigantic in relation to the moon. So why does our tiny moon block out the sun? Why do the moon and the sun look almost exactly the same size?
The answer is simple: Although the sun is about 400 times wider than the moon, it's also 400 times farther away; hence they appear to us to be the same size. This is a unique situation among our solar system's eight planets and 166 known moons.
And there's more.
Not only do these numbers (400 and 400) match, but the size and positioning of the moon is just right for life on earth as we know it.
As the earth spins on its axis, it has a natural tendency to wobble because the side that happens to be facing the sun for a few hours is being pulled in that direction by the sun's gravity.
The moon's gravity also affects the earth (as we see in the ocean's tides). The moon's density, size and distance are just enough for its gravity to gently dampen the wobble created by the sun's gravity.
In other words, the moon prevents rotational instabilities which would otherwise cause dramatic changes in our climate, and that would not be conducive to life on earth.
In other words, You and me wouldn't exist.
Are all these facts mere coincidences? Well, that's not such a loony question and is worthy of an answer, which we offer through these two questions:
Could you calculate the probability of such a perfect chain of events ever happening, that ultimately lead to perfect conditions for life on earth?
Did God choose the moon size to align so neatly during an eclipse, so that astronomers would notice and ask questions about such things?
See other Crescent Crosses
The ingrained superstition which helps perpetuate the fear of having women in the priesthood.
Note this is not the logo to the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ).