Gay marriage will lead to a schism in the Church of Norway, the Bishop of Tønsberg said last week, but the ordination of gay clergy will not split the church
Gay marriage will lead to a schism in the Church of Norway, the Bishop of Tønsberg said last week, but the ordination of gay clergy will not split the church. The comments by the Rt. Rev. Arne Dahl (pictured) came as he announced he would ordain a Church of Norway seminary graduate who had been blocked from ordination because she was living in a same-sex relationship. In April the Bishop of More, the Rt. Rev. Ingeborg Midttømme, came under sharp criticism from the media and government leaders after she refused to ordain Hanne Marie Pedersen-Eriksen, who had been offered the post of vicar of Sandøy in Western Norway by the parish council. Bishop Midttømme, one of three women bishops among the 12 diocesan bishops in Norway, told the Vårt Land newspaper on 9 April 2015 the House of Bishops had met and agreed to disagree. ”It is well known that we have different views.” Last week the Bishop of Tønsberg, the Rt. Rev. Arne Dahl said he would ordain Ms Pedersen-Eriksen to serve a temporary cure at the Norderhov Church in Buskerud. However, he added that he stood with the rest of his episcopal colleagues in rejecting calls for the church to bless same-sex marriages. “It’s nothing new that I stand for the classic view on marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman,” Bishop Dahl told the Tønsberg Blad. “We must respect that those of us in the church have two views” on the issue, he said, but the call to church order and unity prevented him from supporting same-sex marriage — a move, he said, that would “create a schism” in the state church.