Faith under Attack
A Sentence against Christ Crucified
Juan Sanahuya, Argentina
On November 3, 2009, the European Court for Human Rights – the Strasburg Court - issued a sentence against the Italian State affirming that “the presence of Crucifixes in classrooms constitutes a violation of the parents’ rights to form their children according to their convictions, and violates the religious liberty of the students.”
It added that “the Court cannot understand how the exposition of a symbol in the classrooms that can reasonably be associated with Catholicism may serve a pluralist education, which is essential for the conservation of a democratic society as conceived by the European Convention of Human Rights, a pluralism recognized by the Italian Constitutional Court.”
A new decision of the European Court forbids the Crucifix in classrooms
Commenting on the topic, Mario Mauro, one of the vice-presidents of the European Parliament, issued a statement on November 6 that said: “I believe it is fundamental to stress that the Court is not an organism of the European Union. Indeed, among the group of seven judges that issued that sentence, one is Turkish and another is Serbian [that is, both are Muslims]. In the newspapers and televisions there are erroneous headlines making Europe responsible for the ‘rejection of the Crucifix in the classrooms.’
“This sentence is the fruit of the work of a Court that, under the protection of the European Council, is attempting to change the meaning of the European plan itself. The decision of the Strasburg Court presents an example of a laic imposition intended to relegate religion - principally the Christian Religion - into a ghetto.”
“The decision ignores the role of religion, above all the Christian one, in the construction of the public space, and promotes a religious indifference that deeply contradicts the history, culture and law of the Italian people.”
Earlier, the Italian courts had ruled that the Crucifix represents an element of cohesion in society, which cannot do away with its Christian tradition.
The Italian Minister of Education, Mariastella Gelmini, also rejected the decision affirming, “No one, and much less a European court steeped in [a different] ideology, will strip us of our identity.” Gelmini explained that “the presence of Crucifixes in classrooms does not signify adhesion to Catholicism, but rather it represents our tradition. Italian history has many symbols, and if they are eliminated, we end by eliminating a part of ourselves.”
“In this country no one wants to impose the Catholic Religion,” she added, but she recalled that the Italian Constitution “justly recognizes the value of the Catholic Religion for our society.”
In his turn, Minister of Agriculture Luca Zaia lamented the decision and noted that “the Court decided that the Crucifix offends the sensibilities of non-Christians. However, the truth is that it is the Court that offends the feelings of the European peoples that were born from Christianity.”
Ex-Minister of Culture Rocco Buttiglione went even further against “the politically correct prejudice of respecting minorities.” He called for the official rejection of the sentence because “Italy has its own culture, traditions and history. Those who live among us must understand and accept this culture and history.”
A Bishop speaks out clearly
Bishop Luigi Negri of San Marino-Montefeltro wrote what many Catholics think: that a consequence of the excessive pacifism and openness of the Catholic world is a radical, anti-Christian Laicism that despises it.
Given its interest, we reproduce most of Bishop Negri’s communiqué:
We must not lose our Catholic identity, Bishop Luigi Negri warns
“The decision delivered by the Human Rights Court in Strasburg was generally predicable and expected, in some aspects. Those institutions effectively harbor the worst kind of Laicism, one with an anti-Catholic bias that aims to eliminate - even by violent means - the Christian presence in the life of society, including the symbols of that presence. … I believe it is correct to affirm that we are witnessing the intent to eliminate the Christian presence; a ferocious intent that is only comparable to the apparent objectivity or neutrality of the established institutions. …
“It is, however, correct to ask ourselves whether we as Christian people and, further, we as ecclesiastics, are not partly responsibility for this situation. It is always an upright position to ask ourselves whether in some way we were accomplices.
“The brutality of the Strasburg case is also a consequence of the excessive pacifism of the Catholic world, in force for some decades now. According to it, what is fundamental is not our identity, but a dialogue at any price and concord with those far distant [from our Catholic Faith]. This respect for a variety of cultural and religious positions based on the idea of a substantial similarity among many religious stands is what causes Catholicism to lose its absolute specific nature. Such pacifism, openness, and desire to dialogue at any cost are rewarded the only way human powers always repaid for disordered positions of compromise: with loathing and violence.
“It is necessary to return to the conscientiousness of our own identity … being prepared to dialogue with other positions not based on a demobilizing of our own identity, but rather as a final, critical and intense expression of our identity. …”
Bishop Negri said a Mass of reparation “in face of the fact that this is objectively a rejection of Christ Crucified,” and instructed his parish priests to make similar acts.
Posted on November 16, 2009
Juan Sanahuja first published this article in Spanish on his website
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