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Euro court bans school crucifixes, Italy bristles
11-04-2009, 11:01 AM,
Euro court bans school crucifixes, Italy bristles
Euro court bans school crucifixes, Italy bristles

[Image: tarapour20091104035032937.jpg]
A crucifix is seen on a wall as a student writes on a blackboard in a school classroom in Rome.

Public anger erupted in Italy after a European court ruled that displaying crucifixes in schools and public places violates educational and religious freedoms.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that Italy has been breaching the rights of parents to educate their children according to their own beliefs. It also violates children's right to freedom of religion, it said.

Italian Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini said she would appeal the European court's ruling. She added that as the cross was part of the Italian tradition, "no one, and certainly not an ideological European court, will succeed in erasing our identity."

The Italian bishops' conference also denounced the court ruling as "partial and ideological," saying the crucifix "is not just a religious symbol but also a sign of cultural belonging."

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Italian television that the ruling had been met "with astonishment and regret" by the Catholic Church.

"The crucifix has always been a sign of God's love, unity, and hospitality to all humanity. It is unpleasant that it is considered a sign of division, exclusion, or a restriction of freedom," he said.

The Italian foreign minister said the government would appeal against the ruling.



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