Sixty percent of Norway’s marriages currently take place without the presence of a priest, new results show.
Just 8,501 of 23,100 couples, or 36.8 percent got married in under state church weddings in 2011. 20 years ago it was 54.3 percent, reports Vårt Land.
Norwegian Lutheran Elisabeth Ugland Moland, whose Portuguese husband Ricardo Miguel Costa Ferreira is a Catholic, told the paper, “We come from two different countries, with different religious backgrounds.”
“Neither of us are active churchgoers. It was completely natural for us for the wedding to take place in the district court. A non-religious wedding was the perfect solution for us,” she continued.
Moreover, in 2000, 1.7 percent of all weddings in Norway took place in non-state church institutions, for example mosques, so-called ‘free churches’ and the Humanist Association – which they describe as “an organisation for people who base their ethics on human values.” In 2010, the proportion was 6.7 percent.
“We now see a situation where it’s become unusual to get married in church, as the number of weddings has sunk to below 50 percent. This probably has a reinforcing effect. In the last few years, it has become more common for weddings to take place in the presence of a judge rather than a priest,” said Norwegian church advisory body leader Jens-Petter Johnsen.
When asked to give a reason for the decline, he answered, “Who knows! Levels at other types of church services are stable.”
“I’d suspect the general pattern of relationships in society, where cohabitation has become very common, partly influences where people get married. Other than that, I can’t understand why this particular figure is sinking.”
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