Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”


In a landmark ruling, occasioned by the scandal a few years ago of the proposed removal of crucifixes in Italian state schoolrooms, the European Court of Human Rights has determined, in a final judgement in the case Lautsi and Others v. Italy (application no. 30814/06), that the display of crucifixes in schools presents no violation under the European Convention of Human Rights.

This very welcome ruling will be of relevance not only to those in Education in Britain, but also in Healthcare, and gives support to the display of crucifixes and religious symbols in Catholic hospitals, clinics and care-homes, even those which receive State funding.  It is to be hoped that those responsible for the administration of such institutions will take this opportunity for the practice of Tuitio Fidei, and provide such symbols for the spiritual inspiration and comfort of the patients they serve.

As the text of the ruling quotes (para 15(11.9)) " the present-day social reality the crucifix should be regarded not only as a symbol of a historical and cultural development, and therefore of the identity of our people, but also as a symbol of a value system: liberty, equality, human dignity and religious toleration..."

The PRESS RELEASE many be read here, and the text of the FULL JUDGEMENT here.   It merits careful study, not least of all for the underscoring of the influence of the values of Christianity in the foundation of modern society, something the modern political world, and some influential Catholics in the public sphere, sometimes forget.

To members of the Order of Malta, and those who assist in its work, this judgment will be of great help.
"The cross, as the symbol of Christianity, can therefore not exclude anyone without denying itself; it even constitutes in a sense the universal sign of the acceptance of and respect for every human being as such, irrespective of any belief, religious or other, which he or she may hold. ...  "  (para 15 (13.4))
Pope Benedict in procession in the Order's San Giovanni Baptista Hospital in Rome
before saying Mass for the patients and staff in the presence of Grand Master Bertie.