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The Bodnariu family will also see the two older boys twice a week for two hours. “The battle for the children continues”, the family's spokesman wrote in a statement.
A Norwegian judge has ruled that the baby son of the Bodnariu family should be reunited with his parents.
The Bodnariu family temporarily lost custody of baby Ezekiel and his four older children, by Norway's Barnevernet or child welfare service last November.
The judge has also ruled that Marius and Ruth Bodnariu should see the two older boys twice a week for two hours at a time.
The family's spokesman, Pastor Cristian Ionescu, wrote in a statement: "This ruling is a step in the judicial process and does not end the Bodnariu's appeal or fight to regain full and unhindered custody of all of their five children.”
“The battle for the children continues", he concluded.
LOOKING FOR A BETTER LIFE IN NORWAY
Marius, a Romanian, and Ruth, a Norwegian, were suspected of parental child abuse and religious indoctrination after one of the daughters told her headteacher that they spanked the children as a disciplinary measure.
Formerly members of the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in Bucharest, Marius and Ruth moved to Norway 10 years ago to start a family there.
The case has highlighted other examples of Barnevernet removing children from their parents. In Norway, the law of minors applies to every child who lives there, no matter their nationality and origin.
DEMONSTRATIONS AND PETITIONS OF SUPPORT
Since they lost custody of their children, the Bodnariu family has received the support of many Christians worldwide. A petition calling for the return of the Bodnariu children has drawn around 60,000 signatures.
Last January, hundreds of people gathered in demonstrations outside the embassies of Norway in several countries.
Ionescu has encouraged supporters to join a day of protest on April 16.
NORWAY: “A MISUNDERSTANDING”
When those demonstrations where taking place, Spanish media Protestante Digital talked to Lars Andersen, Minister-Counsellor of the Norwegian embassy in Spain.
“Demonstrations are a legal way to protest in Norway and Spain, but it seems that these ones have their origin in a misunderstanding about the way Norway deals with child protection”, Andersen told Protestante Digital.
He defended Barnevenet´s work: “Whenever possible, the authorities work for minors to have good living conditions, through less invasive measures, if they are accepted, the parents should not lose their children's custody.”
DIFFERENT CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVES
Despite the support the family is receiving from many Christian churches, organisations and individuals, Christian Norwegian newspaper Dagen gave a different perspective. “Vital information about the reasons for the resolution by Barnevernet has been omitted in the written articles. Hence the picture presented of the alleged Christian persecution becomes unjust.”
“The situation for Norwegian Christians is not on a catacomb level. Even if millions of Christians are now given that impression”, Dagen argued.