Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Hilary White

11/10/2009 (6 years ago)

LifeSiteNews (www.lifesitenews.com)

'Unless the European Court of Human Rights overrules itself on appeal, Italy and the rest of Europe has a serious problem'.

The ECHR decision came last week in response to a single suit brought by an Italian citizen of Finnish origin who has been campaigning for eight years to have crucifixes removed from schools. The court ruled that the display of crucifixes in public schools restricted religious freedoms.

The ECHR decision came last week in response to a single suit brought by an Italian citizen of Finnish origin who has been campaigning for eight years to have crucifixes removed from schools. The court ruled that the display of crucifixes in public schools restricted religious freedoms.

Highlights

By Hilary White

LifeSiteNews (www.lifesitenews.com)

11/10/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in Europe


ROME (LifeSiteNews.com) - The recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemning the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools could result in the removal of all public displays of a Christian origin in all public buildings of Europe under the newly passed Lisbon Treaty, a British legal expert has warned.

Given the intimate connections between the ECHR, the Lisbon Treaty and the European Convention on Human Rights, UK barrister and anti-discrimination law expert Neil Addison told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN), "unless the European Court of Human Rights overrules itself on appeal, Italy, and indeed the rest of Europe, has a serious problem."

Addison, the author of the legal textbook, "Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law," said that the only way out, if an appeal by the Italian government to the same ECHR fails, would be for Italy to withdraw entirely from the EU, an option that he said is unlikely.

The ECHR decision came last week in response to a single suit brought by an Italian citizen of Finnish origin who has been campaigning for eight years to have crucifixes removed from schools. The court ruled that the display of crucifixes in public schools restricted religious freedoms. "The compulsory display of a symbol of a given confession in premises used by the public authorities ... restricted the right of parents to educate their children in conformity with their convictions," the court said.

While the ECHR, as a body of the Council of Europe, did not have the power to order the removal of crucifixes, "what it does do is find a violation of the Convention. The Italian government now has to report back to the Council of Europe exactly what it proposes to do in order to implement the ruling, which in this case will mean removing crucifixes from the classrooms, courts public buildings etc," Addison said.

He explained that if the ECHR judgment is not overturned on appeal then Italy cannot simply ignore the ruling. The effects will be profound, he said, since the Lisbon Treaty "in effect incorporates European Convention on Human Rights into EU law," which is now binding on Italy, and all other 26 member states.

Addison called the decision "an extraordinarily wide decision which could be used, for example, to prevent state schools putting on nativity plays." He cited the examples of Greek and Cypriot schools where it is common to see icons displayed. If the Italian crucifix ruling stands, he said, "those icons will have to be removed and, arguably so will displays of Christianity from all public buildings throughout Europe."

He said what is perhaps "most surprising" is that ECHR did not apply "its own concept of 'Margin of Appreciation and recognise that this type of question should be left to individual countries to decide."

Addison commented, "I do wonder if perhaps this judgment may, in time, come to be seen as European 'Dredd Scott' case, a moment when the implications of a court ruling are so significant and so contrary to public opinion that they lead to a public backlash."

The recently passed Lisbon Treaty gives the European Court of Justice (ECJ), a body of the European Union, the power to force the overturning of any law put in place in Italy or any other EU country the court interprets as being in violation of the Convention. The Lisbon Treaty's Declaration 17 says clearly that the EU would have primacy over the laws of member states: "The Conference recalls that, in accordance with well settled case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Treaties and the law adopted by the Union on the basis of the Treaties have primacy over the law of Member States, under the conditions laid down by the said case law."

The ruling was greeted with furious defiance from the majority of Italian politicians of all parties who condemned it as an example of gross interference with and hostility towards the history, culture and religious traditions of Italy.

Editorials in European newspapers are beginning to note the irony, as Europe commemorates the fall of the Berlin Wall and prepares to celebrate (in the words of Italian government advertisements), "venti di liberta" ("twenty years of freedom"), that the Lisbon Treaty has significantly jeopardised democracy in the EU.

An editorial in the UK's Daily Telegraph said, "On Monday, Gordon Brown will stand alongside other European leaders to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He will be doing so at a moment when British democracy is under great strain. Will he notice the irony of the situation? Indeed, will other national leaders recognise that they face a similar democratic crisis?

"Italian Catholics feel just as strongly about the banning of crucifixes in their classrooms as (to cite a small but telling example) Britain's sea anglers feel about the EU's absurd demand that they report every fish they catch ... Discontent is growing with the undemocratic aspects of European institutions generally, though it surfaces in different ways across the Continent."

---

LifeSiteNews.com is a non-profit Internet service dedicated to issues of culture, life, and family. It was launched in September 1997. LifeSiteNews Daily News reports and information pages are used by numerous organizations and publications, educators, professionals and political, religious and life and family organization leaders and grassroots people across North America and internationally.



Comments


More Europe

'Our meeting is the message': Pope Francis' historical meeting with top Sunni imam Watch

Image of

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

Pope Francis on Monday embraced the grand imam Sheik Ahmed Muhammad Al-Tayyib during a meeting at the Vatican, a move which is being seen as a step toward reopening dialogue between Christians and Sunni Muslims. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "Our meeting is the ... continue reading


'It will be a first': Pope Francis to meet Sunni Islamic leader Watch

Image of Pope Francis will meet Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb this week (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis has decided to meet with Sunni Islam's Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb on Monday. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP, "This audience is being prepared and has been scheduled for Monday. It will be a first."The pontiff's ... continue reading


Bizzare! Europe to release documentary on 'Human Pups' Watch

Image of 'Spot' is a 'human pup' to be featured in the new documentary (ZentaiSpot/Twitter).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In what most claim is a non-sexual "dog play," human pups have become the latest rage to spread across the UK - so much so that a new documentary will reveal the inner workings of the human pups' lives. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Channel 4, the ... continue reading


You won't believe what this Christian artwork reveals about Da Vinci! Watch

Image of Leonardo da Vinci's art may help researchers unveil his DNA (Pinterest).

By (CNA/EWTN News)

Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, Adoration of the Magi, will soon be undergoing testing that could help digitally reconstruct the artist's face and offer clues about his life and health. Florence, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - According to the U.K. outlet Sky News, ... continue reading


London boasts first Muslim Mayor despite racial and religious tensions Watch

Image of Sadiq Khan has become London's first Muslim Mayor (Wikipedia).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Islamophobia spreads as ISIS continues its terror attacks - but one city has taken a step toward accepting the fact that not all Muslims are terrorists. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - London has elected its first Muslim Mayor. Sadiq Khan won with 56.8 percent of ... continue reading


'The Evil': Exorcism classes forced on Spanish students Watch

Image of Spanish students were forced to take an exorcism class (Brendan Hoffman).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Anyone who has ever been in college knows there is a list of required classes to take before you are eligible for graduation. Some classes seem unnecessary, such as a Chemistry major forced to take art classes, but what if universities and colleges required exorcism ... continue reading


28 killed in refugee camp targeted by Assad's missiles Watch

Image of Innocent civilians targeted by Assad despite temporary cease-fire (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Humanitarian group reported airstrikes targeting a refugee camp full of innocent men, women and children during a cease-fire. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a Syrian refugee camp erected near the Turkish ... continue reading


Vatican under investigation - 5,000 bank accounts closed Watch

Image of Vatican auditors make move after three-year investigation (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Vatican auditors closed nearly 5,000 suspected Vatican bank accounts on suspicion of tax evasion. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The scandal includes a three-year investigation of 544 suspected transactions mainly involving tax evasion.To meet international ... continue reading


MASONS HACKED! Secrets of the Masons spilled - French media to expose highest-ranking Masons Watch

Image of The Masons have been hacked. A secret dump of documents will reveal their secrets to the world.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Hackers have just released thousands of documents in a new document dump to the media, this time, they contain the secrets of the Masons. The data dump is known as "Masonleaks" and journalists say it will take several months to complete their review of the documents. ... continue reading


Belgian minister warns against offending Muslims, wait until you see the scary reason why! Watch

Image of Muslims take over a Parisian street for prayers.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A Belgian minister has a telling warning for his country as hearings begin into the Brussels attack that killed 32 people at an airport in March.  The reason for the warning is quite compelling. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A Belgian minister is warning ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: He will never leave you
  • Daily Readings for Saturday, May 28, 2016
  • WARNING: Exorcist claims demon is targeting families
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • Woman diagnosed with 'nightmare bacteria' in US
  • Bl. Margaret Pole: Saint of the Day for Saturday, May 28, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jude 1:17, 20-25
17 But remember, my dear friends, what the apostles of our Lord Jesus ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary, seeing your power and your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:27-33
27 They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 28th, 2016 Image

Bl. Margaret Pole
May 28: Martyr of England. She was born Margaret ... Read More