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


  • September 2005 : Bishop’s conference against secularisation

Cardinal Ruini is under attack in Sienna for his active involvement in Italian politics (a role he reaffirmed in an official address in September 2005).
The Bishop’s conference continues its offensive against the secularisation of Italian law. Following the position taken by Italian opposition leader Romano Prodi, supporting a law that will institute a system similar to the French PACS (form of civil union between two adults, of the same or opposite sex), Cardinal Ruini, who is the President of the Episcopal conference, declared that such a reform would be "unconstitutional".
In his address, the Cardinal also criticised Italian magistrates for using wiretaps which, according to him, did not take into account the dignity of persons. Although he was speaking generally, his remarks were interpreted as referring to the independence of the scandal-tainted head of the Bank of Italy, Antonio Fazio, who is a fervent Catholic.

Read the entire address (in italien), and a commentaire commentary on the Sienna debate by Marco Ventura (article in Italian published by the Corriere de Siena).

  • September 2005 : The Via Quaranta Mosque affair

Police authorities in Milan have ordered the closure of an Islamic school. This has provoked debates on the rights of Muslim communities and the admissibility of a parallel system of education.

  • April 2005 : The Appointment of Teachers at the Catholic University

The appointment of teachers at Sacred Heart Catholic University is subject to the approval of the competent church authority. This approval is a legitimate condition of the appointment and cannot be controlled by the university or the adjudicator (Consiglio di Stato, Sentenza 18 aprile 2005, n. 1762).

  • March 2005 : The Crucifix in State School Classrooms

The judges of the Regional Administrative Court of Veneto (Venetia) rejected an appeal on the exposition of crucifixes in classrooms. They explained that the crucifix is the symbol of values shared by Christianity and the State, including secularism and that there is therefore no reason to view it as a symbol that would exclude someone in the name of religion (Tribunale Amministrativo, Sentenza 17 marzo 2005, n. 1110).

  • March 2005 : Assisted Reproduction

The challengers of the law on assisted reproduction (particularly the radicals, a centre left majority and a centre right minority) succeeded in getting a popular referendum for the repeal of certain parts of the law, in accordance with article 75 of the Constitution.
The articles that are targeted are considered the most "Catholic" articles of the law and they involve the status of the embryo, freedom for women and same-sex couples and the exclusion of having recourse to a donor.
This referendum will be held on 12 June.

After having already expressed himself on this topic on 17 January 2005, the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (Cardinal Ruini) officially called on Catholics, on 7 March 2005, to not go to the polling stations so that the referendum would fail through lack of quorum : "È chiaro il senso dell’indicazione di non partecipare al voto : non si tratta in alcun modo di una scelta di disimpegno, ma di opporsi nella maniera più forte ed efficace ai contenuti dei referendum e alla stessa applicazione dello strumento referendario in materie di tale complessità".
For more information on the position of the Italian Bishops’ Conference refer to the referendum on procreation section on the official website.

The Italian bishops’ stand has roused criticism regarding the compatibility of such a direct commitment with the balance of the Concordat, and has opened the debate among Catholics. Some Catholics intend to vote to defend the law by voting against the repeal, others have put together a document advocating a Catholic "yes" vote in favour of the repeal.

The referendum that was held on 12 and 13 June 2005 was not validated due to the high level of abstention, a mere 25.9% of those registered actually voted.

D 13 octobre 2005    AMarco Ventura

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