Philip Kosloski graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Catholic Studies and completed his Master of Arts degree in Theology with the Augustine Institute. He is a writer and author of In the Footsteps of a Saint: John Paul II’s Visit to Wisconsin. He blogs at philipkosloski.com and writes to help all Catholics master the art of prayer by conquering the practical obstacles that prevent a fruitful relationship with Christ.
Last November a Romanian Christian family living in Norway were accused of spanking their children, resulting in the seizure of their five children by Norwegian Child Protective Services. Some sources close to the family claim the drastic measure was motivated by anti-Christian sentiment and a belief that they were “indoctrinating” their children.
After more than six months of separation, authorities are returning the children back to their parents later this month. The official statement from the Bodnariu family states:
“The Naustdal Municipality of Norway has come to terms with Marius & Ruth Bodnariu for the return home of all of their five (5) children.
We thank you all for your love, support, prayers, and active participation in the reunification of this family. May God richly bless you and repay you for all you have done to bring this family back together.
Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen! Revelation 7:12”
According to The Federalist, teachers at the children’s school alerted authorities to their concern of abuse and “after privately interviewing the family’s two oldest daughters at school, [CPS] abruptly took all five children into emergency custody…Charges focused on the family’s occasional use of physical discipline (which is banned in Norway), but lawyers pointed to troubling CPS statements about the Bodnarius’ Christian faith…Despite medical exams and interviews with family members, doctors, and neighbors, [CPS] was unable to find any evidence of abuse. Still, the children were split up among three foster homes, where they stayed for months with minimal parental contact.”
This sudden seizure of the Bodnariu children sparked an international outcry, resulting in a protest where “more than 100 attorneys from the United States and abroad and members of the European Parliament wrote a letter to the Norwegian Prime Minister, saying the government's act of seizing the children violated domestic and international law, and urging their immediate release.”
An attorney from Texas claims that this international pressure was the main force that freed the children, “The Norwegian system did not work…But for the international pressure on Norway, the children would not be home with their parents today. They would still be where they were back in November. I’m 101 percent certain of that.”
While this battle is coming to a close, lawyers involved with the case are not going to rest. They have committed to putting increased pressure on Norway to revise their laws and to ensure that this will never happen again.
This situation has also brought to the forefront the power of social media and the ability to create an international online movement that can rescue children who were wrongfully taken from their parents. Unfortunately, the Bodnariu are not alone in their situation and CPS services around the globe, including in the United States, are separating families for alleged abuse, where Christian teaching is passed on to children.
The family will now have the task of helping their children recover from this traumatic experience and try to return to a sense of normalcy. Let us keep them and all families in our prayers.