Crucifixes should be displayed in private and public places throughout Italy, Pope Benedict XVI has maintained.
In mid August before a congregation at the papal retreat outside Rome, Benedict said, “It is important that God is great among us in public life and in private life. In public life, may God be present in signs of the cross in public buildings. May God be present in our community life.”
Italy’s constitution mandates that religions be treated equally, but two decrees from the 1920s allow Catholic symbols in state schools. Many state-owned hospitals also display crucifixes, but they are not usually found in government buildings.
Romano Prodi, former president of the European Commission, said that while he could appreciate Benedict’s views, he did “not think Italy should be in the business of endorsing on faith over all others,” the Religion News Service reported.