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(Nov. 4, 2009) — Rogue courts are not endemic to the United States alone, nor are rogue justices who use their authority to undermine the Christian culture of the common man.

Yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Italian Government must remove Crucifixes from all the rooms in all the public schools of the nation.  The reason:  they offend the religious sensibility of one Finnish student, in a small village, outside of Padua, in Northern Italy.

The Post & Email reported last Friday that the European Union was about to adopt a legally binding Charter of Human Rights, which was written so vaguely that it would allow the encroachment of bureaucrats upon the rights of individuals.  Yesterday that was confirmed according to numerous comments from leading politicians and clergymen in Italy.

The Court’s ruling cited the presence of the Cross with the image of Christ crucified as a violation of the rights of parents to educate their children according to their own convictions, and of the students’ liberty of religion.  The Court’s actual words were:

The presence of the Crucifix, which is impossible not to notice in the student’s classrooms, could easily be interpreted by students of all ages as a religious symbol.  Such a display in an educational setting has the smack of religious instruction*

In Italy, in all public rooms of schools and government buildings, from town halls to the Parliament chambers, it has been customary for centuries to place a Cross depicting Christ’s crucifixion, as a sign of Christ’s Sovereignty over men, and of the adherence of the Nation to the Christian religion.  In recent decades it has been justified as a culture sign of the Christian history of the nation.

Mariastella Gelmini, Minister of Education for the Italian Republic immediately announced that the Italian Government would appeal the decision of the Court of Human Rights to the plenary assembly of justices, known as the Grand Camera, whose jurisdiction concerns disputes regarding the fundamental obligation of signatories to the European Union’s charter.

Father Frederico Lombardi, spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI reacted with dismay at news of the ruling, saying:

The crucifix has always been a sign of God’s offering of love and of the union and acceptance of all humanity.  It is deplorable that it has come to be considered as as sign of division, of exclusion or of a limitation of liberty.  It is not this, not is it such in the sentiments of our nation.

In particular, it is grave crime to want to marginalize from the world of education the fundamental sign of the importance of religious values in the history and culture of Italy.  Religion gives a precious contribution to the formation and moral growth of the human person, and is an essential component of our civilization.  It is wrong and myopic to want to exclude it from the reality of contemporary education.

I am shocked that a European Court would intervene so heavily in a matter so profoundly tied to the historical, cultural, and spiritual identity of the Italian people.

This is not the way to attract us to love and share the idea of a united Europe, as we Catholic Italians have done from its origins.

Gianfranco Fini, president of the House of Deputies, said:

I hope that the sentence will not considered a just affirmation of the secularity of public institutions, which value is something much more than the negation proper to the worse kind of secularism, a negation of the very role of Christianity in society and in the identity of Italy.

Sandro Boni, the Minister for Cultural Affairs, and chairman of Berlusconi’s “People of Liberty” political bloc, forewarned the decision would lead to the breakup of the European Union, if left to stand:

These decisions distance  us from the idea of Europe presented by De Gasperi, Adenauer and Schuman.  From this point onward the political failure of the Union is inevitable.

Pier Ferdinando Casini, leader of the Union of Christian Democrats, also reacted strongly against the ruling:

This ruling is the consequence of the sickliness of the European leadership, who have refused to even mention the Christian roots of the continent in the European Constitution.  The crucifix is a sign of the Christian identity of Italy and of Europe.

However, the National Association of Italian Atheists were jubilant.  Raffaele Carcano had this to say:

It is a great day for secularism in Italy!

Duro Adel Smith, president of the Islamic Union of Italy also responded to the ruling with satisfaction:

The supporters of the crucifix in the class room should have expected this:  in a State which defines itself as secular one cannot oppress the other confessions by exhibiting a symbol of a specific confession.

More than 97% of the Italian population is Christian, and nearly all of these are Catholics.

The ruling has clearly and starkly manifested the agenda of the European Union as an alliance of secularists and Muslims against Christians, used to impose the religious beliefs of minorities to such an extent as to deny the religious rights of the Christian majority.

Finally, it is ironic to note that the lawsuit was brought against Italy by a Finn, whose Nation’s flag bears a light-blue Cross upon it.


* All translations from the Italian by The Post & Email. Quotations in Italian were taken from the Italian Newspaper, Corriere della Sera, which has a more complete report in Italian.

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  1. The crucifix violates one of the Ten Commandments, Make no image of anything in heaven, earth or under the earth; neither bow down to it. Exodus 20. ….
    Mr. Charlton replies: Marie, you are a frequent reader of The Post & Email and have a zeal for your faith; but you fail to understand the motives of Christians who use religious symbols. While this is not a blog for religious discussoins, I will respond briefly.

    In the Old Testament God Himself commanded Moses to make two images of Cherubim out of gold and place them over the propitiatory of the Ark of the Convenant. Neither God nor Moses sinned when regarding these graven images, because these images were not worshiped as idols, that is, as if they were gods.

    Likewise Solomon places images of animals and birds and plants in the Temple, and God showed His favor for this artistic reverence for the Divine Dwelling by sending the Cloud down upon the Temple and engulfing it.

    When the Son of God became made, the Holy Spirit fashioned for Him a human nature, which was a physical body.

    When the Son of God rose from the dead He left His image upon the Shroud, and this was conserved by Christians for 2000 years.

    Many Christians understand that images are not gods but can be used to remember divine things; just as the photos you keep our your loved ones are not gods, but help you remember them and foster care and concern for them.

    The crucifix is 2 things: a cross and the image of Christ crucified attatched to it.

    The cross is a holy image, because God the Father willed that His Son die upon the Cross on Golgotha to redeem the human race. It was the will of God that He die upon the Cross. For that reason Christians from ancient times have venerated that same Cross and kept its wood intact distributing it to different churches throughout the world. Most of it is still kept in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, at Rome.

    Every cross is a symbol of that Cross; as such it is a symbol of the Divine Will.

    For this reasons Christians of all the churches founded by the Apostles use this symbol in their religious cerimonies, not because it is god, or can of itself impart grace, but because it reminds us of that salvific Will of God, which has redeemed us.

    There really is not room enought to respond to the rest of your letter, so I will confine myself to the topic of this news story: the crucifix.

    As the ancient Christian council of Nicea said in 787, respect payed to a religious symbol of Christ or the Cross passes to Him whom it represents; and therefore it is a good and holy thing to use and conserve such symbols. In this Christians follow the example of Moses and Solomon, of the Apostles and their disciples; and even of Jesus who drew images in the sand.

    Since Christ was stripped bare, when He was crucified, a modest representation of that historical reality is by no means contrary to Christian or Biblical morals. I agree with you, though, some Renaissance imagery does not capture that ideal.