- April 2012 : Sessa v. Italy at the ECHR
A Jewish lawyer requested that an audience not be held the day of Yom Kippur. He was told in response that he could send a substitute and that, in any event in view of the nature of the hearing, his presence was not mandatory. The Italian judges dismissed the lawyer’s appeal and the Strasbourg Court endorsed Italy’s position. However, three judges out of seven gave dissenting views, expressing their opinion that a reasonable work-around was possible and that consequently the Italian authorities had indeed infringed the lawyer’s religious freedom.
See the full article by Marco Ventura on the site of the Corriere (in italian).
- March 2012 : The ICI/IMU affair
The ’ICI’ affair exposed the discontent of an upset public opinion urging the Church to stop benefiting from ingenious tax exemptions, including the ICI exemption (Imposta Comunale sugli Immobili) based on the social relevance of activities carried on in relevant buildings.
Did a small chapel in a hotel transform that hotel in a religious facility, thus allowing the religious owner not to pay ICI on the whole building ? Could a bookshop run by a monastery in a separate building be considered instrumental to the subsistence of the monastic community and therefore could be exempted from ICI ?
ICI was replaced by the equivalent IMU (Imposta Municipale Unitaria) and the Monti government has drafted an amendment to the decree law of 24 January 2012 : in case of mixed commercial and non-profit use of the same building owned by an ecclesiastical entity, IMU will be owed for the portion of the property in which commercial activities take place.
However, serious application of the law will depend on the true will of State agencies to further clarify the principle, while implementing an effective system of control.
See the full article of Marco Ventura on the o-re-la website.