Friday, January 22, 2010

Update on the Italian Crucifixes in Schools Case

The Italian government will appeal the European Court of Justice ruling that Crucifixes in its schools must be removed, according to a report in ANSA, the Italian news agency. I discussed this issue in my post entitled Berlusconi Defies European Court, Keeps Crucifixes in Italian Schools.

The court ruling was widely unpopular in predominately Catholic Italy, which refused to implement it. Although some on the left were in favor of removing the Crucifixes, even the Communists supported keeping them, according to a recent editorial in the Philadelphia Bulletin, where I had first seen a story on this subject in November. The case was brought by a Finnish woman. Italy’s appeal will be supported by a number of other European states, according to ANSA.

The Italian Supreme Court had ruled in 2004 that Crucifixes may remain in both schools and classrooms, but its opinion was not detailed, according to ANSA. This time, an Italian Cabinet member stated that the government plans to present “an abundance of documentation and evidence” in its appeal, according to the Italian news agency.

ANSA reports that around that time Nativity scenes were removed from the schools, however, and Christmas plays no longer performed so as not to offend Muslims. Nativity scenes were invented in Italy by St. Francis of Assisi in the Thirteenth Century. Pope John Paul II the Great warned that Europe was losing its Christian identity.

Meanwhile, ANSA reports that a judicial disciplinary body has removed a Jewish judge who refused to hear cases in courtrooms with a Crucifix. He intends to appeal the decision to Italy’s highest court of appeal, and, if failing there, to the European Court of Human Rights, according to the report.

As the Bulletin noted, the Italians, on both the left and the right, recognize that their equality and liberty comes from their faith, of which the Crucifix serves as a reminder. Perhaps even the Communists are sensitive about the removal of Crucifixes from public places because of their removal by the atheist Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who had large portraits of himself installed in the classrooms in their place.

No comments: