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Regulating Religion in Italy

Constitution Does (not) Matter

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
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This article focuses on state-church relations and on the peculiar implementation of the “idea of secularism” in Italy. First, it explores the formal provisions of the 1848 Constitution. Next, it investigates constitutional provisions that came into force in 1948. Finally, it examines how the actors of the living constitution (legislators, the government, judges, and the Constitutional Court in particular) tried to balance and develop the potentially conflicting principles included in the 1948 Constitution in the area of religious freedom, equality, and state-church relations. The article explores three particularly controversial examples: the teaching of religion in state schools; the display of the crucifix in classrooms; and state funding mechanisms of religious denominations. The main claim of the article is that, with regard to the regulation of religion in Italy, the transformation of the constitutional position of religion did not occur within the formal constitution, but in the “living constitution.”

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