Rorate Caeli

RORATE EXCLUSIVE — Leaked Document of Slovenian Bishops’ Conference Attacking Traditionalists: A Window into the Bergoglian Hive-Mind

Rorate has received this information from Slovenia. We extend our commiserations to the ill-treated traditional faithful there and hope and pray for a resolution of their long-standing difficulties.


The following letter was sent to the main representative of the Group of St. Joseph for the promotion of Catholic Tradition, located in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on the feast day of Pope St. Hygnius. It is a response from the Slovenian Conference of Catholic Bishops to multiple letters, which were sent to them last year regarding the application of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes.

Now for some background about the situation in this central European country. It should be said that the faithful in Slovenia for years, contrary to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, only had permission for one public Traditional Latin Mass a month, despite many requests from laymen and priests for the possibility of attending the Mass weekly and on major feastdays. These requests were continually denied by the Slovenian Bishops since at least 2015. One priest made an agreement with the faithful to celebrate the monthly Mass and continued to do so until August of last year, when he received a decree from his bishop forbidding him to celebrate the Mass of Ages ever again for this group of faithful.

In his place, the Archbishop put a Cistercian priest who happens to have a doctorate in liturgy from Sant’Anselmo in Rome (sound familiar?). At first, the faithful were thrilled to have such a priest celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass in Slovenia, but their joy quickly ceased, as his Masses were full of liturgical abuses. For example, he did not elevate the chalice with the Precious Blood after consecration, and even gave communion in the hand. The faithful were scandalized by what they witnessed, so the Group of St. Joseph, which previously notified them of Mass times on the online blog Ad Dominum, advised them against going to these Masses. As a result, the TLM attendance in Ljubljana dropped from over 300 faithful to only five people in just three months.

In the following letter, the general secretary of the Slovenian Liturgical Commision accuses the faithful of the group of “tiredness and incomprehension of the postconcilliar liturgy,” “disobedience,” “apostasy,” and even of setting up a “parallel Church,” with the main representative of the Group of St. Joseph as its leader, simply because they refuse to attend a Mass full of abuses said by the “bishop’s delegate.” The lay apostolate Scutum Fidei, which runs a Traditional Catholic web blog and a popular YouTube channel, is also accused of “mocking the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council and the Holy Father Pope Francis.”

Having the country’s Episcopal Conference make such accusations is, in our opinion, currently unheard of anywhere else in the world. They also claim that the Masses of a certain priest, who is associated with the FSSPX but not a member, are “illicit and invalid” because of his excommunication, which he received because he joined the FSSPX 20 years ago (although, in reality, he never did).

We hope this letter sheds some light on the dreadful situation here and we ask you to keep us in your prayers.

Slavko Krajnc

Dear Sir,

We were asked for an opinion regarding the liturgical rites in the older liturgical form. Despite the motu proprio being very precise, one could, by abbreviating certain points, arrive at wrong conclusions. Therefore, we find it necessary to provide you with some commentary:

1. Granting faculties only in line with the guidelines laid down by the Apostolic See

Your letter claims that: “the motu proprio sets forth a fundamental rule, which states that it is the exclusive competence of each ordinary to grant faculties for the celebration according to this form.” Despite this being true, the other part of the same sentence should not be overlooked either: “The ordinary can grant such faculties only in line with the guidelines from the Apostolic See” and not on his own accord or with “pastoral prudence.” The guidelines demand that he should strive towards permanent unity and that he should have the awareness that the liturgical books of Pope Paul VI are the only expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite. In addition, the bishop should delegate a priest for the celebration of liturgies prior to the reform of 1970 and pastoral care only for groups of the faithful which do not exclude the validity of postconciliar liturgies.

2. The prohibition of sacraments and sacramentals according to the old rite, except Holy Mass

In your letter you mentioned the question of the celebrations of other sacraments according to the older rite. The motu proprio is abundantly clear: “Previous norms, instructions, permissions, and customs that do not conform to the provisions of the present motu proprio are abrogated” (Traditionis Custodes, art. 8). The motu proprio does not allow for any other sacrament or sacramental other than the Missale Romanum of 1962. It is therefore impossible for the bishop to give permission for celebration of marriage and other sacraments or sacramentals. It is clear from a juridical point of view due to the apostolic constitutions Divinæ consortium naturæ (Confirmation), Sacrum unctionem infirmorum (Anointing of the Sick), Pontificalis Romani recognitio (Ordinations), alongside the decrees by which the Congregation for Divine Worship instituted the new ritual, which declare that “there is nothing contradictory” to the previous rites and do not permit their use. It is declared in the motu proprio that: “The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of Vatican Council II, are the only expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite” (Traditionis Custodes art. 1) and that it is no longer possible to use the older forms of other sacraments and sacramentals (for example, the sacrament of penance according to the ancient use). In short, all ancient liturgical books, except the Missale Romanum, are now explicitly forbidden, as it was written by Cardinal Angelo de Donatis [for the Vicariate in Rome].

3. Granting faculties to celebrate the Holy Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962

After the Council there was no group of faithful in Slovenia that continued the celebration of Holy Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962. Because of this, the bishop had absolutely no reason to grant the faculty to celebrate Holy Mass according to the older rite to anyone. It would be appropriate, in light of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, to remind all priests that “priests who already celebrate according to the Missale Romanum of 1962 should request from the diocesan Bishop the authorization to continue to enjoy this faculty.” Cardinal Angelo de Donatis, the papal vicar for Rome, wrote in his letter to priests: “Paragraph 4 of article 3 of Traditionis Custodes, which speaks of a diocesan delegate for individual groups, attached to the old rite, will not be implemented in the Diocese of Rome.”

The metropolitan archbishop of Ljubljana, Msgr. Stanislav Zore, had, in contrast to Cardinal de Donatis, delegated a priest for this task in the Archdiocese of Ljubljana. However, after two months, the group of faithful had decided that it would no longer attend these Holy Masses. It, or rather some individuals, had expressed a wish to decide, on their own, who would participate in the Mass, and in what way. In addition, it would seem that they attended these Masses only with the intent of finding mistakes and accusing the celebrant of not being rigorous enough in respect to the old rite rubrics. He was accused of a liturgical abuse of giving three of the faithful communion in the hand [during a TLM]. Because of all this—the unjust intentions, and the rejection of the validity and legitimacy of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council (see the web page Scutum Fidei etc.) on the part of the group—we believe that paragraph 4 of article 3 of Traditionis Custodes should not be implemented in Slovenia.

4. Misleading interpretations of the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes in online posts and letters from representatives of the newly-formed Group of St. Joseph in Slovenia

The members of an online blog Scutum Fidei continuously mock the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council, the Holy Father Pope Francis (they say he closed the door to the Faith, that he made it impossible to practice the Faith, that he drove faithful from the Church, etc.), and the bishops and current liturgical rites of the Catholic Church in Slovenia, and insult priests and laymen. On the other hand, the web site Ad Dominum frequently posts one-sided and misleading interpretations of ecclesiastical documents, especially the aforementioned motu proprio. This concerns especially the “Canonical Guidance on ‘Traditionis Custodes’” from the Latin Mass Society [of England and Wales] which was declared erroneous by Msgr. Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, who also demanded that it should not be [transmitted by] any Catholic media. We will examine the following misleading claims:

4.1 That “because the motu proprio never mentions the right of the faithful to attend the Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962, the celebration of other sacraments according to the older Rituale Romanum or the use of the older Breviarium Romanum, all of these books remain allowed” (Ad Dominum). They substantiate this claim with Canon 18, which states: “Laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception from the law are subject to strict interpretation.”

4.2 Commentary at Ad Dominum problematizes the translation of the word “groups,” which is supposed to include “formal groups and associations,” but exclude “informal requests.” Regarding this, Matevž Hribernik writes: “The explanation given in article 3 applies only to the Masses of formally established groups, and not to individual requests for extraordinary occasions, such as weddings, pilgrimages etc. The other sacraments are also not the subject of article 3 but rather article 5, i.e., the priests’ request for celebrating Holy Mass. The restrictions from article 3 do not apply to Masses, which are therefore not being celebrated for an established group, and may consequently even be said in parish churches.”

4.3 Commentary at Ad Dominum claims: “The priest is not required to ask for permission to celebrate the Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962 privately. In addition, faithful are permitted to attend these Masses, as they are not being said for a formal group.”

4.4 There also the comments from Ad Dominum which condemn and disrespect pope Francis: “The pope’s letter to bishops makes our piety look worthless”; “Msgr. Stanislav Zore does not wish to grant them their request and his decision is an insult to two pious faithful who wish for a specific kind of spirituality contrary to what he preaches” [Note: the archbishop denied two young faithful their request to get married in traditional form; they ended up marrying in the new rite]; “It is the archbishop’s wish that the group attached to the older rite should simply disappear.”

Everything mentioned above could be deemed as:

- An a priori rejection, distortion, and purposefully misleading interpretation of the motu proprio and disagreement with the papal commitment to “ecclesial unity”;
- Interpretations that make the motu proprio Traditionis Custodes seem to be only partially binding, because it supposedly permits a distinction between a “formal group of faithful” and an “informal group,” i.e., individual requests for “extraordinary occasions,” such as weddings etc., which are according to them, despite everything, still permitted;
- Sympathizers of the old rite, which they seek because of their tiredness and incomprehension of the postconcilliar liturgy;
- Individuals (mostly laymen) who want to take the place of bishops, and make decisions about the liturgical discipline of the Church according to their own interests;
- Individuals who for personal reasons reject Pope Francis and make themselves leaders of a “parallel Church.”

In regard to Matevž Hribernik (the leader of the Group of St. Joseph and web blog Ad Dominum), his blog post “Bishop’s delegate, disobedience to the pope, and the TLM” at Ad Dominum reveals the authoritarianism of a layman who runs a “parallel Church” and dictates: which liturgies its members should attend; what kind of liturgy is correct; who can celebrate it and when, and what kind of liturgy is worthy of their “good name,” as he wrote. In addition, he declares communion in the hand to be a liturgical abuse, despite the Slovenian Conference of Catholic Bishops saying that is the only permissible form of receiving communion in the time of the pandemic. He also states that a certain priest, the bishop’s delegate, cannot correctly celebrate Holy Mass according to the Missale Romanum of 1962 and that he has no right to determine who is fit to serve at his Mass, etc. Because the bishop’s delegate, who has been celebrating Holy Mass according to the old Missal, had not allowed Mr. Hribernik to bring his altar servers but selected a server from the monastery, the monastery’s sacristan and organist alongside the vocal group Insulæ Memoriæ, Mr. Hribernik publicly advised the faithful against attending Masses at the monastery basilica in Stična and recommended they go to Mass elsewhere or even abroad. This is the reason there were only five people at the last Mass in November.

It is also certain that some signatories of the document that founded the Group of St. Joseph as well as sympathizers publicly endorse the effects of the movement founded by Msgr. Lefebvre. They also invite people to Masses celebrated by the FSSPX. Because a certain priest from the Archdiocese of Ljubljana became (and maybe still is) a member of this Society, he was excommunicated by Cardinal Rode. Inviting faithful to his illicit and invalid liturgies is therefore a criminal act, because it leads into apostasy from the Faith and the Church.

We can conclude the following:

- They wish the Church only to give them rights but to demand no duties;
- They accept from the Church only what they like and reaffirm their individuality;
- The notion of obedience to the bishop or to the Church is completely foreign to them;
- They exclude even the slightest attachment to the postconcilliar liturgy;
- They do not wish to build up the Church, but rather to gain independence and to do whatever suits them at the moment.

We therefore believe:

- That they are already outside the unity and communion of the Catholic Church;
- That they are not obedient to Church teaching, especially that of the current Pontiff;
- That they are outside of synodality, which works cum Petro et sub Petro.

I firmly believe that—as some bishops around the world have done—the preconciliar rite should be entirely forbidden and that we should strive for greater unity and oneness in the Catholic Church in Slovenia. A growing number of young people are attracted to this “liturgical independence,” which could give birth to even greater confusion in future pastoral work. I am glad that Pope Francis finally took decisive action and made it clear he wishes to abolish the “parallel Church and parallel liturgies.”

Slavko Krajnc,
General Secretary of the Slovenian Liturgical Commision