Priests wish to be relieved of death notifications

Priest PriestsIllustration.Priest.

Priests wish to be relieved of task of delivering death notifications

Many priests feel it’s uncomfortable to deliver death notifications to the relatives of a deceased person, and some have experienced violence while performing the task. Now a parish priest wants to remove this, at times, heavy duty.


The parish priest, Inger Bøkken, at Nøtterøy, said she’s sometimes afraid when she delivers news of somebody’s death, reporting that she’s experienced aggression while carrying out such assignments.

‘This service, which is today performed by priests, has had its time. I want to stop doing it,’ she wrote in a Facebook discussion on the theme, according to Vårt Land newspaper.

Leader of the Priesthood Association, Martin Enstad, confirmed that some priests have been in threatening situations when they deliver death notifications.

Police task

Although, formally, the police are responsible for delivering notices of death, the mission is often given to priests, either the local priest on the day, or a priest who’s part of a contingency plan for delivery of such messages.

‘The priesthood wishes to hand over the task, partly because many people aren’t members of the church, and so it’s not natural for the priest to arrive at the door. I mean the police will do it.

They are very well equipped with the necessary human knowledge, and they have experience of coping with sudden death scenarios,’ said Bækken


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today