The coalition government of Italy is now debating legislation to place Christian crucifixes in all public buildings, including universities, ports, train stations, airports, libraries, court houses, and post offices.
The legislation was introduced by the Northern League party, which is headed by Matteo Salvini, who is a deputy prime minister of Italy and the Minister of the Interior. The prime minister is Giuseppe Conte, who is supported by the Northern League and the Five Star Movement.
The crucifixes are to be displayed where they are visible to the public. For buildings that do not comply, they will be fined up to 1,000 euros, which currently is $1,158.00.
Although Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is very popular with devout Catholics in Italy, some liberal bishops have, ironically, criticized his proposal. For instance, Rev. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, a close adviser to Pope Francis, has denounced the crucifix plan.
"The Cross is a sign of protest against sin, violence, injustice and death," said Spadaro. "It is NEVER a sign of identity. It screams of love to the enemy and unconditional welcome."
Back in June, the government of Bavaria, Germany legislated to place crucifixes in all its public buildings. Markus Soder, the minister president of Bavaria and member of the Christian Social Union political party, said the crosses are not to be viewed as state-sanctioned religious symbols but as a "clear avowal of our Bavarian identity and Christian values."