Italy’s Constitutional Court has wiped, the crime of contempt against the Roman Catholic Church, off the country’s penal code, thus reducing further the special relationship enjoyed when it was the religion of the state.
The court made its decision on the grounds that law number 402 of the code was contrary to the constitutional principals of equality and freedom, since it only defended Catholicism, which was Italy’s official religion until 1984.
‘The attitude of the state can only be one of impartiality and equal distance with regard to all religions,’ the judges said in their ruling.
The decision which resolved a question put to the court by the country’s Supreme Court, was said to be the result of a gradual evolution in the relationship between the Italian state and other religions practised in the country, including Judaism.
It meant that contemptuous use of religious images by the creative world will no longer be punishable with up to a year in jail.