Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Hilary White

11/10/2009 (5 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 (5 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

Not London, New York or Paris: Luanda, Angola the most expensive city on Earth for... Watch

Image of According to Mercer's annual Cost of Living survey, places Luanda as by far the priciest city for foreign workers to live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's nowhere as well known as New York, Paris or London - but Luanda, Angola remains the most expensive city by far for expatriates to live in. Luanda ranked as the most expensive city to live in for the third time in a row. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Discovery of purported 'Nazi gold train' taken seriously in Poland Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The declarations from a German man and Polish man of discovery a long-lost Nazi train filled with gold and other treasures is being taken seriously by Poland's deputy culture minister. He says he is "convinced" the train exists. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Abandoned truck holds over 20 dead migrants in Austria Watch

Image of Truck found abandoned carrying the bodies of more than 20 dead migrants

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A police manhunt takes place after the discovery of an abandoned truck containing the bodies of migrants attempting to cross Austria's border. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Austrian police report up to 50 migrants suffocated in the back of a refrigerated food ... continue reading


Vatican involvement in Ashley Madison Web site leak disproven Watch

Image of At first glance, the claim seems questionable - why would top Church officials sworn to celibacy sign up for a Web site for married people, and no less one that promotes adultery?

By CNA/EWTN News

Early this week, a leak of personal data from millions of users of Ashley Madison, a Web site designed to arrange extramarital affairs, wreaked havoc on and off the internet. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - At least two suicides have been reported in conjunction ... continue reading


Four-star General reveals horrendous WWII scenes in never-before-seen photographs (PHOTOS) Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Four-star General Charles Day Palmer detailed the fights in Western Front during World War II by taking snapshots of the bombed-out cities and lifeless bodies. He kept personal photos of the battlefields in Germany and France and is now releasing them to the public for ... continue reading


Brainwashed teenage girl taken away from radical jihadi parents Watch

Image of Judge Anthony Hayden, pictured, today compared the radicalization of the 16-year-old girl, known as B as similar to that as child sex abuse.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 16-year-old girl in East London has been removed from her home after a judge ruled that she was being radicalized by her parents with Islamic State propaganda. The straight-A student, known only as "B" was stopped last year when she tried to fly to Syria to ... continue reading


HEROISM - AND EXTREME COWARDICE: American service members disarm terrorist aboard train - as train's staff lock themselves in office, denying help Watch

Image of U.S. serviceman Spencer Stone answering reporters' questions at the U.S. embassy in Paris this past weekend.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was an example of high heroism - undercut with a despicable act of cowardice and selfishness. As an Islamic militant from Morocco threatened life and limb a high-speed train bound for Paris with a Kalashnikov, American service members with a British man were ... continue reading


Afghan man rips up Koran sparking threatening riot in overcrowded German refugee camp Watch

Image of A riot sparked in a refugee camp in Germany, leaving 15 civilians injured.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A riot broke in an overcrowded German refugee camp shelter after an Afghan man damaged the Koran and threw pages of it in the toilet. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - One resident from an overcrowded German refugee camp tore up a Koran and dumped pages ... continue reading


Legendary lost Nazi train loaded with gold treasure found by two men Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A train commandeered by the Nazis - reportedly loaded with gold, gems and valuable art vanished into a system of secret tunnels in the Polish countryside as the Germans fled advancing Soviet forces at the end of World War II. That story has gone down in Polish ... continue reading


Stalking Prince George: William and Kate condemn paparazzi photographers inappropriately hanging around play area Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After finding paparazzi photographers hiding near the play area of the two-year-old prince, Kensington Palace has released a stern letter from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge condemning the inappropriate action harming the privacy of their toddler. William and Kate ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1, 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 31st, 2015 Image

St. Raymond Nonnatus
August 31: Raymond was born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain. He was delivered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter