Six of the 11 bishops of the (Lutheran) Church of Norway have supported proposals going before the denomination’s general synod in November to allow people in same-sex registered partnerships to serve as bishops, priests, deacons or catechists.
The moderator of the Church of Norway bishops’ conference, Bishop Olav Skjevesland of Agder and Telemark, and four other bishops have said that they are opposed to the proposal, which was discussed at a meeting of the bishops’ conference in early October.
Current Church of Norway policy is that people in same-sex partnerships should not hold these consecrated offices.
All the bishops agreed that a decision by the general synod to allow homosexuals in registered partnerships would test the fellowship and unity of the church.
"We will have to live together after this general synod, no matter which side has a majority," said Bishop Ole Christian Kvarme of Oslo, who opposed the proposal.
The church’s national council has already decided to support the proposal. However, it said a bishop should still be able to refuse to ordain people in same-sex registered partnerships if the bishop believed it would be a violation of church teaching to do so.
Several dioceses already have priests and deacons living in same-sex partnerships, as some bishops have chosen not to follow existing church policy.
Ecumenical News International
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