E.U. Decision Lamented

While applauding the recognition by the European Court of Human Rights of the right of a British airline employee to wear a cross on her uniform, the Vatican lamented the court’s denial of the full right of conscientious objection in other cases involving claims of religious discrimination in the United Kingdom. The court on Jan. 15 dismissed cases brought by a British relationships counselor fired after he objected to offering therapy to same-sex couples, a registrar who objected to presiding over same-sex civil partnership ceremonies and a nurse forced from her job for wearing a cross in breach of uniform policy. Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican secretary for relations with states, said on Jan. 16 that the cases demonstrate how “questions relating to freedom of conscience and religion are complex,” in particular in European society, marked by religious diversity and “the corresponding hardening of secularism.” But “regarding morally controversial subjects, such as abortion or homosexuality, freedom of consciences must be respected,” the archbishop said.

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