Tuesday, November 3, 2009

European Court nixes crucifixes (in schools)

The last times I dealt with European regulations on these pages, it was to express distress at allowing blended rose' wine and also to discuss the heated controversy on whether wonky vegetables should be sold. The EU decided to deregulate certain fruits and veggies. There was no need to deregulate eggplants (which they insist on calling "aubergines") as there are no imperfect eggplants.
Now, a Finnish-born Italian mom has presented a complaint to the European Court in Strasbourg protesting the presence of crucifixes in Italian schools, and has won. Mind you, these are state schools we're talking about. And the crosses are not only in state schools, but in public hospitals, and most incongruously, in courts, where people regularly lie through their teeth, and you have the sorry parade of all of society's unending sins, from outrageous divorces to Mafia killings.

The Catholic Church is not happy with this, and the Italian government will appeal. The woman bringing the suit, as mentioned, is actually from Finland. And it is significant, as the ubiquity of the crucifix in Italy does strike a foreigner. Even someone like me, who was raised as a Catholic and lived in Italy many years, attending parochial schools there. Those who oppose the ruling maintain that it undermines Italy's identity as a Christian country. To which I say, even if you were to remove every last cross in Italy this minute, there would be no doubt whatsoever about its predominant faith.

(In picture, Lorenzo Maitani's Crucifixion in the spectacular Orvieto Cathedral)