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World News

Norwegian bishops happy to ordain unmarried cohabiting priests

by Kelly Valencia

Bishops in the church of Norway have recently revealed they are open to ordaining unmarried cohabiting priests even though the church's official stance recommends against it.

A recent survey conducted by Norwegian news outlet Vart Land, revealed all bishops would be willing to ordain priests who live with their partner without being married. It also reported the bishop of Oslo, Kari Veiteberg has ordained cohabiting priests, cantors, catechists and deacons since 2017.

Under current rules, the church of Norway does not allow the ordination of cohabiting partners who are not married, according to their 1995 statement on the issue. 

"The Bishop's meeting will express the clear expectation to all the church's employees and leaders that they for their part choose marriage as the framework for their own cohabitation.

"Employees in the church must not testify with their lives against marriage as God's good arrangement. It is not compatible with the requirements the church places on its employees to establish cohabitation outside of an arranged marriage."

But in a recent statement, the church's presiding bishop, Most Rev Olav Fykse Tveit said the decision to ordain unmarried cohabiting priest is now up to each bishop. 

He said: "They agree to hold marriage as the best arrangement for cohabitation, but also agree that each bishop must make an individual assessment of each candidate seeking marriage."


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