A Crucifix without Christ examines the sentence of the European Court of Strasburg (3 November 2009) that decrees illegitimate the presence of the crucifix in Italian schools. The response of the Catholic church, the government and the centre-right political parties has been very hard. Those opposing the sentence, using both juridical and historical arguments, distinguish between the neutrality of the State and laicism in religious matters, and consider (French-inspired) laicism as equivalent to atheism. Above all, in order to defend the presence of crucifixes in public buildings, the government, its parties and the Church have reduced it to a mere cross, depriving the crucifix of its essentially religious significance by presenting it as a symbol of national identity and tradition.
Keywords: Crocifisso, Italia, Chiesa, Identità nazionale