The State Church of Sweden (02:40)
In 1593 the Lutheran Church became the established church of formerly Catholic Sweden. All Swedes are nominally members and pay a church tax. Now many Swedish pastors are pressing for reform of the Lutheran Church.
Churchgoers a Minority in Sweden (02:03)
Eskil Frank, Professor of Theology, calls for separating church and state. He believes the Church must accept its minority status. Only 5% of Swedes regularly attend church. It seems the Church is no longer communicating with anyone.
Changing Attitudes Under the Welfare State (01:44)
In the Swedish Lutheran church, the pastor was also the local registrar and charity commissioner--now functions of the welfare state. Attitudes have changed among the younger generation. A majority of church members are passive and indifferent.
The Individual's Relationship to God (01:22)
Apathy towards the church as an institution doesn't necessarily mean the demise of religion. The majority of Swedes still profess a personal Christian belief. A highly individual faith is consistent with Lutheran theology.
Rising Tide of Secularization (02:11)
Until recently, in rural parishes Lutheran values were the backbone of the community. In a seaside village, church attendance is still relatively high, but the congregation is mostly elderly. 100 years ago congregations were four times larger.
Appealing to the Young (02:19)
The Swedish Lutheran Church holds little appeal for young people. They prefer less formal services. Nonconformist and evangelical denominations are gaining ground. The Lutheran Church must adapt or die. Luther would approve the attempt at relevance.
Searching for Meaning (03:18)
A rural parishioner says people are searching for the purpose of life, but the Church has failed to meet their needs. Religious witness now seems pale and jaded. The church is no longer the center of social life. Some are more like museums.
Challenging Old Stereotypes (02:01)
Sweden is one of the most secular countries in Europe. In Stockholm, few people ever go near a church. But since 1960, women priests have been bringing new life to the Church. One explains her conviction that joy brings people closer to God.
Lamenting the Church-State Link (02:47)
Despite falling demand, 700 new churches have been built since 1945, all paid for by the church tax. Many believe the Church should be freed from state control.
Salvaging Christian Unity (02:37)
Luther's split with Rome suited the ambitions of Swedish princes. But in recent years Pope John Paul II worshiped at Uppsala Cathedral. The Swedish Lutheran Church is closer to the Catholic Church than at any time since the Reformation.
Closing Comments and Credits: The Swedish Lutheran Church (02:00)
Closing Comments and Credits: The Swedish Lutheran Church
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