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Slovenia’s 2 leading prelates resign in archdiocesan debt scandal

CWN - July 31, 2013

Pope Francis has accepted the resignations of both of Slovenia’s archbishops, who had amassed huge debts for their archdioceses with questionable investments.

Archbishop Anton Stres of Ljubljana, the nation’s capital, is 70. Archbishop Marjan Turnsek of Maribor is 58. Archbishop Franc Kramberger, the previous head of the Maribor archdiocese, had resigned in 2011, also because of financial problems.

In a statement posted on Ljubljana’s archdiocesan website, Archbishop Stres said that “the financial collapse of companies associated with the Archdiocese of Maribor has cast its shadow for more than two years” and has compromised the Church’s mission. The archdiocese had invested heavily in firms that are now bankrupt.

Archbishop Stres, a former Maribor auxiliary bishop and coadjutor archbishop, added that Pope Francis asked him to resign.

In 2011, L’Espresso reported that the Maribor archdiocese had accumulated $1 billion in debt through speculative investments and that the debt had led a television station in which the archdiocese had invested to broadcast pornography in the hope of attracting more viewers.

The financial problems date back to 2003, the Vatican Insider reports, and all of the bishops who have resigned were involved in planning the speculative investments.

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