The 3rd November 2009 goes to history also because, the ECtHR solved the case Lautsi vs. Italy. What was the case about? – The ECtHR ruled that the display of the crucifix in an Italian State school was contrary to parents’ right to educate their children in line with their convictions and to childrens’ right to freedom of religion. Violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (right to education) was examined jointly with Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion). The ECtHR reasoned its decision so that the presence of the crucifix „could easily be interpreted by pupils of all ages as a religious sign and they would feel that they were being educated in a school environment bearing the stamp of a given religion“. The ECtHR did not understand „how the display, in classrooms in State schools, of a symbol that could reasonably be associated with Catholicism (the majority religion in Italy) could serve the educational pluralism that was essential to the preservation of a “democratic society“. In the end, the ECtHR awarded the applicant 5,000 euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
Since blogging, even academic blogging, does not prohibit expression of personal opinion, I would say that I was quite shocked by the judgment. First, crucifix is part of the local heritage and culture that also confesses of pluralism. Second, Catholicism constitutes the continuity of religious heritage, being perhaps the only considerable force in the today’s world that reasonably can oppose the mundane subjectivity, human constraints (the consequent stupidity and trivialities), connecting the mankind to its historical and spiritual roots.
I think that when the children see such cultural symbols that have deep meaning and roots – crucifix as a specific symbol is connected to the preserved known history of human mind and consciousness – they might start thinking over the world problems.
The Catholic Church has selected certain sectors of human history for preservation, because it has been impossible to preserve the whole history in its depth. Connected to the pre-Christian history, the preserved deep sector allows deeper analysis and conclusions.
I really do hope that the ECtHR does not oppose the Catholic Church and the World spiritual heritage by that judgment. People are nothing without understanding their history and development rules. One life is too short to understand all the processes in the world. Therefore human consciousness, and the access to it (through thinking over the most central symbol) cannot be destroyed. I understand that in some places of the world the mission of the Catholic Church has been wronged and misunderstood. But I wouldn’t recommend a human being to take the responsibility for making a judgment banning crucifixes. The least that may happen is that the history and cognitive processes still go on, but the particular judgment confesses of its and its maker’s brevity and powerlessness.