Top Church Dignitaries Step Down in Wake of Financial Scandal

POLITICS,  02 Aug 2013  / By STA, T. M.

Two leading dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church in Slovenia have resigned in the wake of the collapse of a Church-operated financial holding, in what is the latest fallout of the scandal that has been rocking the Church for months.

Stres and Turnšek accepted their part of responsibility and apologised for the financial collapse of the Maribor Archdiocese, but denied the media allegation that they were the main culprits for the fall of the diocese-owned financial empire (Photo: BoBo)
Stres and Turnšek accepted their part of responsibility and apologised for the financial collapse of the Maribor Archdiocese, but denied the media allegation that they were the main culprits for the fall of the diocese-owned financial empire (Photo: BoBo)

.The resignation of the archbishops of Ljubljana and Maribor, Anton Stres and Marjan Turnšek, has been accepted by Pope Francis, Apostolic Nuncio Juliusz Janusz announced on Wednesday.

Janusz cited the difficult financial situation at the Maribor Archdiocese as the reason for the archbishops' decision, suggesting that the move had been prompted by the pope, as reported earlier by the daily Dnevnik.

Andrej Glavan, the bishop of Novo mesto, and Stanislav Lipovšek, the bishop of Celje, have been appointed administrators until full-time archbishops are appointed by the pope.

Addressing the press on Wednesday, Stres and Turnšek accepted their part of responsibility and apologised for the financial collapse of the Maribor Archdiocese and its financial firms Gospodarstvo rast and Zvon I and II.

However, both denied speculation that they were the main culprits for the fall of the archdiocese-owned financial empire. "It is not the diocese which brought down Zvon I and II, but it was the two Zvons which brought down the archdiocese," Stres told the press.

"I was not involved in the management of Zvons nor was it my responsibility. Yet the crisis of the Maribor Archdiocese has been weighing heavily on me from the start," he said.

He added that he accepted that "a share of responsibility was on me", given his previous role in the Maribor archdiocese, even though he denied that the collapse was a consequence of the decisions taken by the Diocesan Economic Council, which he had chaired in this time.

Before taking over as archbishop of Ljubljana in January 2010, Stres, served as coadjutor archbishop in Maribor from January 2009, while he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Maribor as early as 2000.

Similarly, Turnšek, who received the pope's call to resign from his service on 30 April, said that he followed the call in his belief "that this gesture can contribute to the renewal of the Slovenian Church and give its representatives more strength in promoting new evangelisation".

Januzs underscored that he appreciated the attitude of both archbishops, who "demonstrated great attachment to the Church, obedience and humility" in accepting the pope's call for resignation.

He also asked the public to accept the move "as a sign of our obedience to the pope and unity with the pope, so there will be no disruption in our relations with the Holy See because of this.

The Holy See Press Office said in a press release that both archbishops resigned in accordance with the second paragraph of Canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law which deals with bishops who have become unable to perform their office.

Stres and Turnšek are the latest Slovenian church dignitaries who have had to retire in the wake of the scandal that broke out in January 2011, when the financial firms Zvon Ena Holding and Zvon Dva Holding, in majority ownership of the Maribor Archdiocese, had already declared insolvency.

Mirko Krašovec, who resigned as chief of financial operations at the Maribor Archdiocese soon after the scandal erupted, was forced to move abroad in April this year. Similarly, the retirement of Archbishop of Maribor Franc Kramberger in February 2011 was widely interpreted as a repercussion of the scandal.

The action taken against the top two officials of the Roman Catholic Church in Slovenia has been deemed as too severe by two Slovenian Canon Law experts. Both Karel Bončina and Ivan Štuhec believe that the real culprits for the scandal remain safely hidden in the background.

Moreover, Bolčina suggested that the resignations by Stres and Turnšek were more for show. "Many people, not as much within the Church, but outside it, wanted some heads to fall. And heads did fall," Bolčina told the STA.

Italian weekly L' Espresso first broke the news in January 2011 that the Maribor Archdiocese had run up EUR 800m in debts, while the Holy See had allegedly known about the gaping financial hole at the diocese's companies since as early as late 2007.

The diocese managed its financial operations through Gospodarstvo rast, which in turn controlled the holdings Zvon I and Zvon II. All three firms are in receivership, owing some EUR 1.7bn to creditors.

The biggest creditor is Slovenia's largest bank NLB, which is struggling with bad loans. The implications of the collapse of Gospodarstvo rast and its subsidiaries has also impacted on businesses owned by them. The first to enter court-mandated debt restructuring in the process of which it changed hands was the telecommunication company T-2.

In addition, around 65,000 small shareholders stand to lose much of their investments in the Zvon holdings as a result of the developments.

The Vatican has set up to commissions to investigate the scandal, but little is known about the findings. However, the former chief of financial operations at the Maribor Archdiocese Krašovec broke silence last year and pointed his finger at Stres and Turnšek as the ones responsible for risky financial transactions that went against canon law.

Stres, who is widely regarded a strong advocate of religious freedoms and preservation of the traditional family, announced for Radio Ognjišče that he would now return to taking up philosophy, which he labelled his "first love".

Turnšek on the other hand said he would withdraw from public life to practice spirituality in private for the next year. He told Radio Ognjišče that he intended to pursue theology in the future.

Tags: Slovenia, church, scandal, resignation, Pope Francis, Anton Stres, Marjan Turnšek, zvon ena, Zvona dva, Betnava Castle




Quotes of MG, 21.10.2013 ob 16:01

Quotes of Mahatma Ganthi on Religion:

"Religion is a matter of the heart. No physical inconvenience can warrant abandonment of one's own religion."

"All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth."

"A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion."

"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is."

"Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good."

"One's own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one's Maker and no one else's."

"Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent."

Mrs Woman, 21.10.2013 ob 15:05

Religion has been imposed on man for many centuries, purely as an attempt to control and manipulate.
The Catholic church is probably the best run Mafioso organisation going., 11.09.2013 ob 10:47

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Boris, 25.08.2013 ob 18:59

A token gesture, by the Mafia Boss, to fire a couple of bad boys that got found out...

Julian, 07.08.2013 ob 17:23

According to Gilmartin...the love-shys' parents were much more likely than the parents of the non-shys to feel that they OWNED their children, and that anything which happened in their child's life was fully and completely their business. (p217)

"Several times I sort of implied to my mother that I was really interested in girls and that I was really hurting a lot inside because I couldn't get one. Like I told both of my parents on several occasions that I'd really Appreciate it if they would help me meet some girls. Anyway, whenever I would even vaguely broach the subject with
my mother she would invariably tell me to finish my education first. She'd always say to finish my education first. Now
I've got seven years of university education and I'm a 36-year old
virgin. So what the hell good did all the piss-hole education do me?!" (p187)

Causes, Consequences, and Treatment
By Dr. Brian G. Gilmartin

This book on an unfashionable topic is out of print, but luckily can be downloaded at

West Balkan, reforma, 07.08.2013 ob 16:51

The Spread of the Reformation:
The Protestant Reformation did not have a profound and long-lasting impact on the Croatian nation. Even the spread of the Reformation on the territory of today’s Croatia was limited to a few distinct regions. While in northern Croatia the Reformation ideas achieved success among the masses of people, in the coastal regions the followers of the Reformation came only from among accomplished intellectuals and rich families.

Hans Ungnad, military captain of Styria and chief captain of Slavonia played an important role in the initial spread of Protestantism in northern Croatia. His basic plan was to help Protestantism take a foothold in all the frontier regions that he controlled and in the areas that were under Ottoman Turkish rule. It was for this purpose that he founded a Slavic Protestant publishing house in Urach and intended to use the books printed there for spreading the ideas of the Reformation. When the publishing house stopped working in 1565, Croatian ban Nikola Zrinski (1508-1566) established a similar printing press on his property in Međimurje (the northernmost county in today’s Croatia).

Julian, 07.08.2013 ob 08:02

So it seems, according to Gilmartin, that the biggest cause of love-shyness is school bullying.

Gilmartin, Brian G. (1987). "Peer Group Antecedents of Severe Love-shyness in Males". Journal of Personality 55 (3): 467–489.

Groups in ex-Yugosla, 06.08.2013 ob 21:37

Yes in ex-Yugoslvia, and of groups of ex- Yugoslavia.
Srbs have their Srb Ortodox church.
Bosnians had their own Bosnian church in History, and than converted to Islam.
Croats have Romo catholic Church,
And Slovenes have their Protestnats and their Protestnat tradition.

Protestant tradition, 06.08.2013 ob 21:27

It is look like that that Slovenian nation is like some protestnat, Lutheran nation. Like some Nothen Ireland maybe.
At least according Wikapedias pages. And famoes Slovenes there.

Primož Trubar or Primož Truber[nb 1] ( pronunciation (help·info)) (1508[nb 2] – 28 June 1586)[1] was the Protestant reformer, most known as the author of the first Slovene language printed book,[2] the founder and the first superintendent of the Protestant Church of the Slovene Lands, notable for consolidating the Slovene language. Trubar is the key figure of Slovenian cultural history and in many aspects a major historical personality.

Sebastian Krelj, also known as Sebastjan Krelj, Sebastijan Krelj or Boštjan Krelj (1538–1567) was a Slovene Protestant reformer, writer, theologian, linguist and preacher and regarded as one of the most educated Slovene Protestants of the 16th century.
In Ljubljana he later became superintendent of Slovenian Protestant Church.

Milan Kučan, one of five children, was born in a Lutheran teachers' family.Milan Kučan (born 14 January 1941) is a Slovenian politician and statesman. He was the first President of Slovenia.

Julian, 01.08.2013 ob 21:43

Lacks context.

Bang!, 31.07.2013 ob 19:55

Looks like the bullet found its mark! How many more to go?

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