New Italian Laws Discriminate Against Non-catholic Religions Despite Concordat’s Provisions

Though the Concordat which has been signed by the Vatican and the Fascist government of Italy provides for equal treatment of all religions, nevertheless laws have recently been passed which discriminate in favor of Catholicism, which according to the Concordat is now the Italian state religion, and which do not afford sufficient protection to other faiths.

The new legislation does not provide for compulsory religious instruction for non-Catholics and does not give sufficient sanction to non-Catholic marriages. Worse still are the laws which provide penalties for insults to religions. According to the new legislation one can be punished for insulting the Catholic faith, but not for insulting other faiths. Only for insulting the ministers or religious objects of non-Catholic faiths may one be punished.

Several legal bodies have protested against this discriminatory legislation and the Consistory of the Jewish Communities of Italy has sent the Minister of the Interior a memorandum on this subject. The Italian government and the parliament haven’t as yet said their last word on this legislation, which is being temporarily enforced by the Ministry of Justice.

Prof. Mario Falco, well-known Jewish professor of canonical law at the University of Milan, is not optimistic over the prospects of repealing this discriminatory legislation. When a question of justice is to be solved in accordance with political expediency, he says, those who speak in the name of justice are no longer consulted.

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