The lay Catholic movement Communion and Liberation has issued a statement on the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the presence of crucifixes in Italian classrooms. Here is an English translation of this judgment.
Regarding the European Court’s ruling over crucifixes
AN IRREDUCIBLE PRESENCE
The ruling of the European Court of Human Rights against crucifixes in public school classrooms has generated a vast echo of protests: rightly almost all Italians, 84% according to a poll by Corriere della Sera, were shocked by the decision.
“And you, who do say I am?” This question of Jesus to the disciples reaches us from the past and challenges us now.
That Christ on the crucifix is not a memorabilia of popular piety for which we can nurture, at most, a devout memory.
It is neither a generic symbol of our social and cultural tradition.
Christ is a living man, who has brought into the world a judgment, a new experience that deals with everything: with study and work, with affections and desires, with life and death. An experience of a fulfilled humanity.
Crucifixes can be removed, but the reality of a living man cannot be. Unless he is killed, as it happened: but then, he is more alive than before!
All those who want to remove crucifixes deceive themselves, if they think of contributing in this way to delete Christianity as an experience and a judgment from the “public sphere”: if it is in their power –and everything still needs to be proven and we trust they will be belied –to abolish crucifixes, it is not in their hands to remove living Christians from reality.
But there is an inconvenience: that we Christians might not be ourselves, forgetting what Christianity is; then, defending the crucifix would be a lost battle, because that man would not mean anything to our life.
The European ruling is a challenge for our faith. For this reason, we cannot go back with tranquility to the usual things, after having protested with shock, avoiding the fundamental question: crucifix yes, crucifix no, where is the event of Christ today? Or, said in Dostoevsky’s words: “Can an educated man, a European of our days believe, really believe, in the divinity of the son of God, Jesus Christ?”
Communion and Liberation
This decision could lead to the removal of all public displays of Christianity in Europe.
Read Joseph Weiler's article on this ruling.