Greek Bishops Defend Crucifix

Caution Against Denying Cultural Patrimony

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ATHENS, Greece, JUNE 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Banning the crucifix from public places is not an aid to peaceful coexistence in Europe, say the bishops of Greece.



The holy synod of the Catholic hierarchy of Greece affirmed this in a June 11 communiqué in view of a June 30 public hearing regarding the European Court of Human Rights November decision to ban the crucifix.

The communiqué was signed by the president and secretary of the conference, Bishop Franghiskos Papamanolis and Archbishop Nikolaos Printesis, respectively.

The court decision regarded a case originating in Italy. Ten member states have since joined Italy in appealing the decision.

The Greek bishops pointed to the ruling as another move in a series of actions, to refuse to "recognize in the Constitution the Christian roots of our Old Continent."
 
The prelates insisted that "mutual respect of religious traditions is necessary in a society that is increasingly becoming more multi-cultural."

They said this respect assures "peaceful coexistence" of "all creeds and traditions, condemning all forms of religious fundamentalism, which has only caused pain to humanity."
 
The Greek bishops stated that "the public exhibition of Christian religious symbols must not be prohibited in societies that have centuries of Christian tradition."

Such a prohibition, they said, "would be a contradiction and the denial of the spiritual and cultural patrimony of a country, whose roots form part of the future."