Crucifix is essential to European identity, say bishops of Poland


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Rome, Italy, Dec 1, 2009 / 12:02 am (CNA).- The Bishops of Poland have joined in the chorus of outrage over a ruling by the EU Human Rights Court in Strasbourg that ordered all crucifixes be removed from schools in Italy. The Polish bishops echoed the sentiments of numerous government officials from various countries, and even of one young Muslim writer.

Gathered for their plenary assembly in Czstochowa, the bishops expressed their protest "against the ruling by the Strasbourg court regarding the symbol of the cross" and rejected "the gestures of hostility that, on this occasion, have taken place in Poland against this symbol, reported the Polish Catholic information agency KAI."

The ruling does not currently apply to the northern European nation, but it could bring about a revision of its laws governing the public display of symbols, including those in state-run schools.

Crucifixes were only just reinstalled in public areas in Poland following the end of communism there in 1989. The cross had been absent since the Nazis occupied the country in 1939.

According to L'Osservatore Romano, the bishops said the crucifix "is not only a sacred sign for all Christians but also an important element of European cultural identity, among the symbols of many countries and organizations."