.- Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said today that the ruling by the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, France ordering the removal of crucifixes from classrooms in Italy is “truly a loss” as it is necessary “to conserve the signs of our faith for those who believe as well as for those who do not.”
“This Europe of the third millennium has left us only with the pumpkins of the recently celebrated feast and has eliminated the most beloved symbols.”
After voicing his support for the Italian government’s decision to appeal the ruling, Cardinal Bertone stressed that the crucifix “is the symbol of universal love, a symbol of welcome and not exclusion.”
“I wonder if this ruling is a sign of rationality or not,” he questioned.
It its edition today, L’Osservatore Romano (LOR) recalled statements made on March 22, 1988, by Natalia Ginzbug, published in l’Unita, the newspaper founded by Communist party member Antonio Gramsci, who said, “The crucifix does not lead to any discrimination. It is the image of the Christian revolution which has spread the idea of equality between all men all over the world.”
“More than twenty years later,” LOR reported, “these words express a sentiment that is still widely shared in Italy.” “The political world has almost unanimously testified to the lack of common sense in this ruling, reiterating that the secularization of institutions is a value quite distinct from the denial of the role of Christianity,” the paper stated.
After emphasizing that in 2006 the Italian government ruled it was lawful to have crucifixes in the classroom, LOR said that the EU court’s ruling is part of a tendency towards a “not-too-distant future of public places without religious or cultural references out of fear of offending the sensibilities of others.”
The Vatican newspaper said the State should be accepting and respectful different identities rather than denying them.