On March 2, the European Court accepted an appeal from the Italian government which will allow crucifixes to remain in classrooms throughout the country.
Cardinal Péter Erdő, President of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences, reacted to the decision in a statement on Tuesday, saying, “I express satisfaction for the decision taken by the panel of judges of the Grande Chambre of the European Court for Human Rights of Strasbourg in upholding the appeal filed by the Italian Government on January 29th against the ruling of November 3rd 2009 in Lautsi v. Italy affair on the display of the crucifix in Italian classrooms.”
In November of last year, the court ruled in favor of Soile Lautsi's case to remove religious symbols, including crucifixes, from public schools to ensure her children's right to a secular education.
Vatican officials denounced the ruling upon its release, saying it was not in the court's hands to rule on a matter of Italian tradition. In recent meetings among representatives from its 47 different countries, the European Court adopted a policy that limited the court's decisions concerning traditions and national culture in member countries.
“I insist how necessary it is for religious issues to be addressed at a national level, based on the principle of subsidiarity, since religious credibility and the very perception of the principle of laicism changes from country to country,” Cardinal Erdő said in his Tuesday statement.
“I believe that it would be a very wise gesture if the Grande Chambre, in its review, accepted this fact, which I am sure would give confidence back in the European institutions to the many European citizens, Christians, believers and lay, who had felt deeply injured by this ruling,” he concluded.