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

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


Women sentenced to three months for self-induced abortion in Northern Ireland Watch

Image of There are better solutions than abortion.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A woman in Northern Ireland has been convicted of aborting her child, and sentenced to a three-month, suspended jail sentence. The woman left her baby in a trash bag for eight days until police were contacted. The case has sparked renewed debate over abortion in ... continue reading


World's worst nuclear catastrophe commemorated 30 years later (WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES) Watch

Image of The Ukraine commemorates the 30th anniversary of Chernobyl's explosion.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Thirty years after the greatest nuclear disaster the world has ever seen, Ukrainians solemnly commemorate the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The meltdown at the Russian plant began when an uncontrolled reaction ... continue reading


LISTEN NOW: Stolen manuscript reveals song not performed for 1,000 years Watch

Image of One Cambridge researcher admitted the music was nearly tangible (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A Cambridge researcher and world-class medieval music performer combined their talents to perform an ancient song for the first time in over 1,000 years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The music, titled "Songs of Consolation," was performed for the first time on ... continue reading


What's 'Hijab Day' and why is it causing a 'FREAK OUT' in France? Watch

Image of French students held a Hijab Day to raise awareness of discrimination against women (Styles Glamor).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Students from the French university Sciences Po Paris held a Hijab Day to raise awareness of the discrimination and verbal abuse Muslim women face every day - and it went exactly how you might expect. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With the influx of Muslim ... continue reading


MASS TOURIST ATTACK: ISIS to plant bombs in Europe's most popular beaches Watch

Image of ISIS threatens popular beach resorts (Express).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

German and Italian intelligence agencies discovered ISIS' plan to pose as refugees to detonate bombs and suicide vests buried beneath lounge chairs across Spanish, French and Italian beaches this summer. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the Mirror, ... continue reading


Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik wins human rights case. See the 'inhumanity' of Norway's prison system (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of Breivik has won a case that his solitary confinement and other conditions of his imprisonment are 'inhumane.'

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The conditions that Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik have been subjected to are inhumane, according to a Norwegian court. Breivik was convicted of killing 77, and injured 319. Many of his victims were children. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Life ... continue reading


Why is the Trevi Fountain being dyed blood red? Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

On April 29, the Trevi Fountain, one of the most popular and emblematic tourist spots in Rome, will be dyed red in recognition of all Christians who even today give their life for the faith.  Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - The event is being organized by Aid to the ... continue reading


'No Muslim leader has done what he has done:' Pope Francis returns to Vatican with 12 migrants Watch

Image of Pope Francis returned from Greece with twelve migrants (EPA).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis traveled to Lesbos, Greece, to speak on behalf of the thousands of migrants streaming into the small island. When the pontiff departed back to Rome, he did so with twelve migrants in tow and has offered them a safe haven at the Vatican. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Pope Francis in Lesbos - The Pope joins other churches to call for prayer and humanitarian aid Watch

Image of Pope Francis visits Lesbos to speak on behalf of the refugees (Guardian).

By CNA/EWTN News

Forced migration affects millions of people and is "a crisis of humanity." That is what Pope Francis and two leading Greek Orthodox churchmen have said in a joint declaration signed on the Greek island of Lesbos. Lesbos, Greece (CNA/EWTN News) - "Europe today faces one ... 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

  • LISTEN NOW: Benedictine nuns release new album
  • Why are these transparent wires being put up in cities around the world?
  • Daily Readings for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • 5 tips for Catholics to stay positive
  • St. Catherine of Siena: Saint of the Day for Friday, April 29, 2016
  • A Marriage Blessing Prayer HD Video
  • Daily Reading for Sunday, May 1st, 2016 HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 15:7-21
7 and after a long discussion, Peter stood up and addressed them. 'My ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1-2, 2-3, 10
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!2 ... Read More

Gospel, John 15:9-11
9 I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. Remain in my ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 28th, 2016 Image

St. Peter Chanel
April 28: In St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (Feast day ... Read More