The Koordinacija kulturnih organizacij Slovenije (KOKS, Coordination of Cultural Organizations of Slovenia), the Društvo slovenskih pisateljev (Slovenian Writers Association) and some other related organizations have sent an open letter, dated 3 January 2013 and addressed to the international community, regarding the current social and political situation in Slovenia, in which they attempt to discredit the Slovenian Government and the Catholic Church on account of budget deficit reduction measures. In the letter, the authors have stated that the current Slovenian Government is supporting private schools at the expense of public education and that the situation in the country is unacceptable also due to economic corruptibility of the Church and its intense meddling in politics.
First, the Slovenian Episcopal Conference emphatically rejects any insinuation that the Church is intensely meddling in politics. The bishops are taking a stand regarding the social situation in Slovenia in a way that is in accord with the social teaching of the Church, its mission in ethics and social welfare, and its rightful place in society. The bishops are cautioning the international community that the aforementioned letter is written in a markedly ideological and biased language and distorts the state of democracy in the Republic of Slovenia as well as the place and role of the Catholic Church and its attitude towards social issues.
Second, the claim that the current political leadership supports private education at the expense of public education is an egregious falsification of the truth. The Catholic Church now runs four private secondary schools (2% of the secondary school population) and one primary school (0.08% of the primary school population). We wish to emphasize here that the so-called budget-saving measures of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia affect private education to the same extent as public education; however, private education is financed to a lower degree by the state than public education and thus represents an additional burden for the founder and parents.
The Slovenian Episcopal Conference firmly protests against dissemination of false information and problematization of private education, for Slovenia takes the last place in the EU regarding the proportion of private education in its school system, according to statistics.
Just as its assessment of the state of private education in Slovenia, many other evaluations in the letter do not reflect reality at all, and thus the letter intentionally deceives both domestic and international community. Hence, the leadership of the Church is resolutely distancing itself from the letter.
Msgr. Anton Stres, Ph. D.
Metropolitan Archbishop of Ljubljana and
President of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference