Church of Norway to apologise for “pain and shame” to LGBT people


Northern Europe

A bishop's meeting of the Norwegian Church. Photo Helene Moe Slinning, Church of Norway

The Church of Norway is planning to apologise for its attitude toward LGBT people. In the past year, they have changed their view on this matter.

According to the Church of Norway, she has caused many "deep wounds, pain and shame" to the LGBT people in the past. Therefore, the clergy of the Church is working on a liturgy for a service to apologise. "Since the Episcopal Conference's acknowledgement in February last year, we have listened to several stories that have clarified the painful experiences. The Bishop's meeting believes there is a need to say a clear apology to those whom the Church –and in particular the Bishop's meeting– have caused damage and pain", bishop Olav Fykse Tveit says to the Christian daily Vart Land.

About a year ago, the bishops said that they recognised the pain the Church of Norway has inflicted on homosexuals. Fifty years after the decriminalisation of sex between men, the Bishops' Conference acknowledged that their attitudes had caused great harm and pain to many. The clergy does not explain specifically what has caused the pain.

Tveit hopes an apology will contribute to further work to heal wounds and create justice. "An apology will not end the work, but a continuation."


Despite these words, the LGBT committee within the Church is not satisfied. "I do not understand that the bishops' meeting thinks that such a service will end the work to repair these wounds", Kristine Sandmæl says. But she is also positive. "It is commendable that the bishops' meeting wants to come to terms with the church's past."

The recognition made last year was not an apology, bishop Halvor Nordhaug said. "You don't apologise for it. You only determine that it was experienced this way", he said at the time. But now, the bishops seem to have changed their mind.



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