Paolo Caretti

The Lay Principle in Thirty Years of Constitutional Jurisprudence

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The essay reconstructs from a historical perspective the stages that have marked the development of religion-State relations in Italy's constitutional experience and, in this framework, assesses the role played by the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court. With regard to this, it brings out how the principal contribution made by the same to the definition of this relationship lies in: 1) the affirmation of the lay principle as the 'supreme principle' of the constitutional system; 2) the elimination of discriminatory normative provisions inherited from Fascist lawmakers. The author's reflection concludes with a positive assessment of the jurisprudence analyzed, with particular regard to both the fill-in role played by the Constitutional Court as concerns legislative non-fulfilment of religious freedom and the reconstruction by it of a constitutional statute of the lay principle able to meet the challenges posed by today's pluralistic context.

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