eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • 9 March 2011 : Crucifixes in schools in Lower Austria

While the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights was issuing its decision in the case Lautsi v. Italy, the Austrian Constitutional Court decided that the Lower Austrian law on nursery schools violates neither freedom of religion, nor the principle of equality, nor the right of parents to provide religious education for their children. This law envisages that a crucifix is affixed in nursery schools when the majority of pupils are Christian.
The Court argued that the law cannot be interpreted as allowing children to be steered in a particular religious direction. Given that Austria is characterised by the principle of separation between the state and religions, the crucifix may also not be considered as a symbol of a state church. And even if one may wish to view this as interfering with negative freedom of religion, it is in no way excessive, because the crucifix is not a tool of indoctrination or conversion (VfGH 9.3. 2011, G 287/09).

  • February 2011 : Recognition of the Conference of Orthodox Bishops

Law BGBl. I 2011/68 amended the law on the external relations of the Eastern Greek Church. §1 recognises the Conference of Orthodox Bishops under the presidency of the Metropolitan of Austria. The Conference’s mission is to coordinate religious education, to exercise a right to provide its expertise in respect of draft legislation and other plans by public authorities and to give its point of view on recognising Orthodox institutions according to the provisions of this law.
New §3a also facilitates the recognition of Orthodox dioceses at the request of the patriarchate, if at least two communities of the faith concerned exist in Austria, if the seat of the bishop or his substitute is located in Austria and if the diocese has a status approved by the higher ecclesiastical authority. The dioceses then obtain the status of public law corporations. According to §3d, the Church can also create parishes without legal personality beneath ecclesial communities.

D 23 mars 2011   

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