Catholic Iceland. An account



“For Catholics, Iceland is ‘terra ingognita’ . Overwhelmingly Lutheran for the last several centuries, the nation is now mostly secular, with some regions even beginning to backslide into paganism.”

“The Church is making a comeback. Six parishes currently exist, but that number is expected to nearly double in the next five years … While secularism defines the laws of the land and paganism brings in the tourists, the Church in Iceland is quietly rebuilding, gathering strength, biding time.”

Iceland, an island all by itself in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, is about the size of New York State. It was settled from Scandinavia, a background which determines its language and culture; about 400,00 people live there.

(An Iceland scene. This photo from “The Independent,” a UK newspaper)


Not the hero they wanted, but the hero they needed. Cheers for the Church in Iceland.


If I may dare ask, could this be the future of the Church in Europe (and perhaps the US) which seems to be secularized or secularizing, among other places in the world like Latin America and that despite everything, there is still much hope out there and hope abounds even when it doesn’t seem so?


For a place that’s not supposed to be very Catholic, they sure do have an impressive Catholic church in Reyjkavik - Christ the King Cathedral. Also, for once the Catholics have the nice old traditional Cathedral while the Lutherans built something that looks like a rocket ship getting ready to take off for the moon.


To be fair, aren’t a lot of mainline Churches rather pretty and beautiful themselves, not that I have much experience; but some of the wooden style “Gothic” churches (stereotyping) especially the more old-fashioned mainline ones seem like they could fit as a Catholic parish.


Some are, some aren’t. I’m particularly fond of the old-school Anglican churches in England, particularly the ones that were Catholic to begin with until King Henry VIII stole them from us.


A comeback is the right word here. For Irish monks existed in Iceland centuries before the Norsemen arrived.


Henry the 8th was a very bad boy. Ann is still looking for something she lost…her head maybe?

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