Arguing before the Constitutional Court, the chief lawyer of the state of Italy, Antonio Palatiello, defended the presence of crucifixes in public schools against a petition by an Italian mother to have them removed, saying it was “for the good of the country.”
According to Palatiello, the crucifix “is the sign” of the special alliance between the state and the Church and “not of a preference for a particular religion.”
He added that the crucifix is “the visible sign of this alliance for the promotion of man and the good of the country,” since the Church is “the only international actor mentioned in the Constitution.”
The Italian Constitution states, “The Church and the State are independent and sovereign,” and “all religious confessions are free before the law.”
“It would be disconcerting at the very least if the State, after having established this special alliance (with the Church), would have the nerve to remove the emblem,” argued Palatiello.
A lower court in Venice sent the case to the Constitutional Court for a decision after it was brought forth by a mother in Padua who sued a local school for exposing her son to religious symbols.
Last year, Adel Smith, the controversial leader of the “Union of Muslims in Italy” demanded the removal of all crucifixes from public schools but his request was denied by a lower court.