The bishops’ still says no to cohabiting pastors

Helga Haugland ByfuglienHelga Haugland Byfuglien.Photo: Carina Johansen / NTB Scanpix

For the first time in 22 years the bishops of the Norwegian Church have commented on cohabiting pastors and ministers thereof, and the conclusion is the same as in 1995: Cohabitation is not okay.

Expectations for pastors living arrangements were made at the Bishops’ Conference last week.

The country’s church leaders did not alter their last statement, writes the religious newspaper Vårt Land.

The statement reads that “it is not consistent with the requirements the church sets for its employees to enter into marital relationships outside an ordained marriage.”

– We are quite in accord on our stance, and we want the ‘95 statement to be normative.

It is long time since 1995, but the views are not so different now, says leading bishop, Helga Haugland Byfuglien.

– This is unwise and gives a very wrong signal about how we want the church to be, says Svein Aage Christoffersen, who was part of the Episcopal committee on marital choice in 2013.

– It is a problem if the church gives the impression that Christianity and church life is only for people with a particular form of cohabitation. This is not the case for the vast majority of people, and can make them feel like second-class church members.

Head of Information for the Union of Norwegian Lutheran Missionaries, Espen Ottosen, thinks however it is brave of the bishops to be so clear on the issue.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today