The Roman Catholic Church of Norway and migration challenges
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHovdelien OH. The Roman Catholic Church of Norway and migration challenges. International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church. 2019 https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1474225X.2019.1580953
Ever since its re-establishment in Norway in 1843, the Roman Catholic Church has grown steadily. The church has now a total membership of approximately 150,000 (1 January 2017). The reason for the latest, and certainly largest, wave of Catholic migrants to settle in Norway is labour migration resulting from the eastward expansion of the EU when Poland and Lithuania joined in 2004. About half of the Catholic population of Norway originates in these two countries. This article focuses on the following research question: How does the Roman Catholic Church in Norway, represented by religious sisters, priests and ecclesiastical employees, respond to the large influx of Catholic migrants to Norway? The study is based on a qualitative survey consisting of semi-structured interviews with 10 informants comprising religious sisters, priests and ecclesiastical employees. Although some informants admit that the strong growth resulting from migration has posed problems, such as tendencies to form ‘parallel congregations’ based on ethnic origin, most expressed a positive view of this influx of migrants and of the future of the Catholic Church in Norway.