Archbishop Juan Jose Asenjo of Sevilla in Spain said this week the crucifix is “the sign and emblem of the greatest values: commitment, solidarity, piety, mercy and universal brotherhood.” His comments came in the wake of a ruling by the EU Human Rights Court ordering crucifixes to be removed from all classrooms in Italy.
In an interview given to the COPE Radio Network, the archbishop said the ruling “denies the right of parents who want crucifixes to remain in the classroom.”
“Yesterday we read that 84% of Italians want to keep them, and the right to religious freedom of a majority is being denied, and the Christians roots of Europe are being forgotten,” he said.
Archbishop Asenjo went on to say, “More than ever, Europe is in need of these human values, and therefore I cannot help but lament this ruling.”
Referring later to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which happened 20 years ago on Nov. 9, the archbishop said the historic event also signified the “collapse of those regimes founded upon the denial of God and on ideologies that trample the dignity of persons and that unfortunately continue to do so.”
The fall of the Berlin Wall took place without a single drop of blood being shed and with the influence of Pope John Paul II, the archbishop noted. “My desire is that no more walls that divide man be raised and that others that divide Europe fall down, such as the wall of secularism, of moral relativism, of scorn for life in the womb or in its twilight, and the wall of forgetting our own history and the Christian roots of Europe.”