Cardinal Denies Role in Exiling of Retired Archbishop
Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rode denied rumours that he had played a role in the controversial exiling of retired Ljubljana Archbishop Alojz Uran. "All the claims are lies, all the insinuations are made up, they are far from the truth and they are misleading the public," he said in a written statement on Monday.
The denial follows media reports that the decision by the Holy See to order Uran to temporarily leave the country (ostensibly because he had fathered a child and concealed that from the Vatican) had been influenced by senior Slovenian clergy, including Rode.
Rode was also reported to have said that appointing Uran archbishop (and Rode's successor) in 2004 had been a "staffing mistake", but Rode denies ever having said that. "I said Uran was not my choice, but I also said I respected the decision of the Holy Father."
He also denied having denigrated Uran in the Vatican at the time when Uran decided not to use the Ljubljana Archdiocese's financial resources to help the struggling Maribor Archdiocese. "To think that I would put him in a bad light in the Vatican because of that - how can anyone even think that," Rode said.
The Roman Catholic Church in Slovenia has been strongly shaken after it transpired in last week that Uran had been ordered by the Vatican to leave the country. No official explanation was offered at the time, but a Church spokesman later confirmed he had to leave because of rumours that he had fathered a child.
Commentators have suggested the punishment is too harsh for a sin that pales against other Church sex scandals, in particular evidence of widespread child abuse around the world.
A commentator in the daily Delo recently suggested that the Vatican would have been more lenient "were it not for the whispers coming from the honest, pious, nation-dedicated men from home and men of Slovenian descent who serve in the Vatican."