People defend crucifixes
The verdict of the Court of Human Rights in Strasburg (3 November 2009) concerning the removal of crucifixes from Italian state schools still evokes many emotions in the Apennine Peninsula. ‘This verdict is unfair and is against the values and goods that are important to the Italians’, said the former President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Camillo Ruini. He does not deny that the Strasburg judges ‘aimed at protecting freedom of several people who did not notice the fact that the verdict undermines and hurts freedom of expression of the whole nation whose tradition and deepest values are expressed in the cross.’ Replying to the verdict of the Tribunal the council of the Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia undertook a notion concerning the placement of a crucifix in the meeting hall, at the same time rejecting the proposal to hang a portrait of the president of the Republic of Italy there. In Catania, Sicily, the Financial Guard began withdrawing the import of Chinese shoes that have crucifixes on their soles. The initiative to confiscate the shoes was taken by Fr Pietro Galvano, the parish priest of one of the local parishes, who had learnt about that from two of his parishioners. The priest thinks that those who buy such shoes are unconsciously forced to trample the cross. ‘We demand respect for religious symbols’, said the priest, expressing his outcry about the way the religious sensitivity of Christians was harmed.