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Norway: Catholic Church, appeal trial over repayment of €4 million for inflated membership figures. The line of defence of the Diocese of Oslo

The appeal trial in the civil case between the Catholic Diocese of Oslo and the Ministry of Culture will start tomorrow, Tuesday, 8 January, at the Borgarting Court of Appeal, the website of the Norwegian Diocese reports. The Diocese of Oslo, accused of having inflated its membership figures over the 2011-2014 period, and thus of having received more state subsidies than those payable based on the number of its Catholic faithful, was ordered by the Ministry of Culture to repay 40,581,723 Norwegian kroner (over €4 million). According to the lawyers of the Diocese, such amount is excessive and the Diocese has therefore appealed the 2017 judgement of the District Court. Tomorrow, it will appear before the Court and will be defended by lawyer Anders Ryssdal. The Catholic Diocese in Norway has admitted that questionable practices were used in the past in handling its membership registries, but it maintains the amount calculated by state authorities does not take into account a large number of people who, while not being registered as Catholics, live in Norway and hence benefit from the services provided by the Catholic Church in the country.

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