07/04/2012 09:13 BST | Updated 07/04/2012 09:13 BST

Christians Should Wear A Cross Every Day, Says Leader Of Scottish Catholics

Christians should wear a cross on their clothes every day as "a symbol of their beliefs", according to the head of the Catholic church in Scotland.

In his Easter Sunday homily, Cardinal Keith O'Brien will call on Christians to make the cross "more prominent in their lives".

Speaking at Edinburgh's St Mary's Cathedral on Sunday, he will tell them to "wear proudly a symbol of the cross of Christ on their garments each and every day of their lives".

He will say: "I know that many of you do wear such a cross of Christ, not in any ostentatious way, not in a way that might harm you at your work or recreation, but a simple indication that you value the role of Jesus Christ in the history of the world, that you are trying to live by Christ's standards in your own daily life."

Two women who say they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing the symbol are fighting to get their cases heard at the European Court of Human Rights.

Nadia Eweida, 59, of Twickenham, south west London, was suspended by British Airways for breaching BA's uniform code in 2006.

Shirley Chaplin, 56, from Exeter, was barred from working on wards by Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust after refusing to hide the cross she wore on a necklace chain.

Tomorrow, Cardinal O'Brien will quote Pope Benedict XVI, who said Christians "need to be free to act in accordance with their own principles".

He will say: "I hope that increasing numbers of Christians adopt the practice of wearing a cross in a simple and discreet way as a symbol of their beliefs.

"Easter provides the ideal time to remind ourselves of the centrality of the cross in our Christian faith.

"A simple lapel cross pin costs around £1. Since this is less than a chocolate Easter egg, I hope many people will consider giving some as gifts and wearing them with pride."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "Wearing a religious symbol is entirely a matter for individual members of staff. We have no policy as an employer."

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Parliament said: "The Scottish Parliament does not have a specific policy for staff displaying religious symbols in their work attire."

NHS Scotland advises health boards to "conduct a full risk assessment" to ensure that their local dress code policy "is appropriate for different categories of staff and should look to support staff in complying with both the needs of the service and any religious or cultural requirements".