Catholic Church admits inflating membership

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The Catholic Church in Norway was promising to sharpen its routines after newspaper Dagbladet revealed this week that it had inflated its membership numbers in an effort to receive more state funding. All faiths in Norway receive state support based on registered members.

The church had been registering immigrants to Norway who came from Catholic countries, without asking them whether they were practicing members of the church. Dagbladet reported that thousands of people could have been illegally registered in the Norwegian Catholic church without knowing it.

The Catholic Church has reported that its membership rose from 66,000 in 2010 to around 120,000 this year. Much of the increase may have been based on migrant labourers coming to Norway from economically troubled countries like Spain and Portugal, for example, and the church has admitted that its own accounting practices “are not satisfactory.” Those practices will now be “cleaned up,” noted Bishop Bernt Eidsvig, after what amounted to a disciplinary meeting with county officials last week. staff