Message to the faithful from Bishop Bernt Eidsvig

We have today (07.03.2015) received the following letter from Bishop Bernt Eidsvig. He invites celebrating priests to read the letter to the congregations at the masses on Sunday 8. March.

Message to the Faithful from Bishop Bernt Eidsvig

An unfortunate practice has been discovered which means that persons who have moved to Norway from Catholic countries, and whom we have assumed to be Catholics, have been registered as members of the Catholic Church in Norway by OKB (Oslo Catholic Bishopric). This has been done without the individual's consent. We agree that this practice is unfortunate and we accept the criticism directed at us.

We are now undertaking a thorough revision of the membership list to ensure that it is correct. On 13. March the revised list will be presented to the County administration in Oslo and Akershus. We are fairly confident that this updated list will be more extensive than speculations in the media has suggested.

I wish to assure you that our staff never have intended to register anyone but Catholics. Neither have we intentionally registered anyone against their will nor wanted to receive financial support from the Norwegian state for persons who are not Catholics. With hindsight we accept that it would have been wiser to ask each person individually before registration took place. The regulations and laws governing the registration of religious membership are complex and there is an important difference between acting carelessly and acting illegally.

The leaders and staff at OKB are most unhappy about the situation and we are doing our utmost to provide the police with all the information they need.  I hope that we, in coopration with the county authorities and the police, can reach a satisfactory clarification and that our register will comply with all current rules and regulations. 

We do not wish to speculate, but rather to keep to the facts of the matter. While we are awaiting clarification it is important to maintain normal church activities and look after our fellowship and community, both locally and in the bishopric as a whole. 

+ Bernt Eidsvig