Aftenposten (Norway), July 28, 2003
The bishop for the Norwegian state church district in Trondheim is encouraging journalists to critically review local church services. He said they should be covered just like other cultural events.
Bishop Finn Wagle, who presides over the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, even wants journalists to rate church services, just like they rate movies.
“It’s very seldom that journalists attend church services and actually cover what happens,” Wagle told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Monday.
He equated services to “the church’s pulse,” adding that “I therefore think the media should cover them” in line with other performances.
He said he welcomes ratings, if they’re accompanied by “good reasons as to why the ratings are given.”
Wagle, perhaps best-known for conducting the highly publicized marriage ceremonies for Princess Martha Louise and Ari Behn, is clearly soliciting more public attention and involvement in the church. Norwegians automatically become members of the state church at birth, but only about 4 percent regularly attend church services.
Norway’s state church, which ascribes to the Evangelical Lutheran religion, relies mostly on state funding. Other religions in Norway receive state funds as well.