Collective site for news about the membership registration issue

Oslo Catholic Diocese (OKB) has now established a website where all the information and news concerning the membership registration issue will be assembled. Of special interest just now is the formal statement from one of Norway's leading experts on administrative law, who supports OKB in their complaint against the decision by the Chief Administrative Officer (Fylkesmannen) in Oslo and Akershus that OKB pay back NOK 40 million of the public contributions they have received.

<link http: nyheter medlemsregister external-link-new-window external link in new>Link to the collective site, mostly in Norwegian

<link http: nyheter klage-pa-fylkesmannens-vedtak external link in new>Read the announcement from OKB (Translation into English see below) 

Read a <link http: en nyheter enkeltvisning-nyhet nyhetssak sammendrag-av-rapporten-om-medlemstall-i-oslo-katolske-bispedoemme external link in new>brief background explanation  in English provided by the editors of this website.

See also <link http: en nyheter enkeltvisning-nyhet nyhetssak se-ny-video-med-biskop-bernt-eidsvig external link in new>video with Bishop Bernt Eidsvig's comments on the issue. There are subtitles in English.

The announcement from OKB:

Oslo Catholic Diocese (OKB) appeal against the decision of the Chief Administrative Officer (Fylkesmannen)

 On 24. August OKB presented an appeal against the decision by the Chief Administrative Officer that OKB should pay back NOK 40 million of the public contributions they have received as support for their members. OKB refer in their appeal to the conclusion that the Chief Administrative Officer has based his decision on a mistaken interpretation of the law which there is no legal basis for in Norwegian Statute. This conclusion is supported by one of Norway’s leading experts on administrative law.

Lisa Wade, acting administrative leader of OKB states: We are of the opinion that persons who have joined OKB, whether they have been baptized or have converted, are full members of the Catholic Church, whichever country the baptism or conversion took place in. This is according to the practice followed by all the Nordic Churches, including the Norwegian State Church. When a person moves to OKB, a local registration takes place, not a registration of ‘new members’ as the Chief Administrative Officer claims is required. The vast majority of the members for whom OKB have received contributions, contributions which the Chief Administrative Officer now demands must be returned, were thus both formally and in practical terms members of OKB.

Earlier Civil Ombudsman criticizes the administration’s treatment of OKB

Accompanying the appeal is also a judicial evaluation prepared by Arne Fliflet on the instruction of OKB. Arne Fliflet has served as Civil Ombudsman and is a barrister-at-law and he is considered one of the chief experts on administrative law in Norway. His views strongly support OKB’s understanding that it is unclear exactly what laws the bishop, the economist or the diocese are supposed to have broken in this matter of the membership registration.

– In the new appeal we refer to the preparatory work on the law regarding Religious and Faith Communities, the intentions behind this law and the way it has been applied throughout the years. Here it is clearly demonstrated that OKB have done nothing illegal, even if some aspects of the registration have been unfortunate. Fliflet is one of several who supports our understanding of the law, says Lisa Wade.

OKB are of the opinion that the conditions needed to receive financial support on the basis of the law for Religious and Faith Communities have been fulfilled for everyone registered between 2010-2014, provided they confirm that they are Catholics. The result of the work undertaken to clarify this shows that individuals wrongly registered are fewer than 5% of the members. OKB wish to return the contributions received for these wrongly registered members.