Fr. Joseph Kentenich:
Steps taken toward clarification and revision
On July 2020 historian Dr. Alexandra von Teuffenbach raised several accusations against Father Kentenich. In the Vatican Archives, accessible since March 2020, she had found some documents which she interpreted as proof of abuse of power and, in a single case, of sexual abuse by Father Kentenich.
Pressoffice Schoenstatt International
July 10, 2021
Steps taken toward clarification and revision
July 2, 2020
A declaration by the General Presidium of the Schoenstatt Movement rejected said accusations. The postulator for Father Kentenich’s beatification process, Father Eduardo Aguirre, did the same after examining the Vatican documents.
July 4, 2020
Schoenstatt established a Media Commission of Communication to answer questions from the media on behalf of the General Presidium, coordinate activities on Schoenstatt media, and redact since then articles that highlight the background of the issues being raised and expose the contexts.
July 7, 2020
Bishop Ackermann decided to appoint a new commission of historians to re-examine the documents from the Vatican Archives, which had not been accessible before, so that they may become part of the documents being used for the beatification process. The Schoenstatt Movement expressly approves and supports the bishop’s decision.
Since September 21, 2020
The postulator for the beatification process, Father Eduardo Aguirre, investigates the Vatican Archives and makes the new documents from this era in Schoenstatt history available for the public to review.
October 12, 2020
The Schoenstatt Movement has created an International Investigation Group to complete a new revision of the period covering the visitation and the exile. This group develops a critical edition of various historical texts and an adequate interpretation of Father Kentenich’s principles and practices.
March 5, 2021
After several consultations, Bishop Ackermann expanded the planned commission into a group of experts in which representatives of various specialties work together. This group is free to work as they see fit and can deal openly with the results.
Treatment given so far to the issues currently under discussion
- Within some leaders of the Communities and among some members of the Movement, there was news of accusations stemming from the ambiance of the visitations and the exile, but as a general knowledge. Accusations concerning the moral integrity of the founder were also mentioned in various publications. The research work was not yet extensive enough to make a historical publication on the period of the visitations and the exile of the founder.
- It can be assumed that all the accusations raised, placed in the context of the visitations and Father Kentenich’s exile, on the one hand, have been annulled by the end of his exile and his return to Schoenstatt in 1965. On the other hand, such accusations have been treated and evaluated in the beatification process; as for the Roman phase of the process that is ahead, part of the process is, by regulation, completing a new and detailed study of the documents. There was no reason to distrust the work and the results of the process. As corroborated by Father Angel Strada, who was for many years the postulator of the cause, there is no reason to start from the basis of sexual abuse.
- Documents that were kept, until now, exclusively in the archives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have been available for a new revision of the history of Schoenstatt and Father Kentenich since March 2020. Therefore, the existing documentary material in the Schoenstatt archives and in the beatification process can now be compared with documents in the archives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in order to establish whether there is a need to investigate aspects that have not yet been taken into consideration.
- Immediately after the allegations became known, in July 2020, investigations of the existing archives were intensified. This is a procedure that requires painstaking and time-consuming work. The relevant results will be published gradually.
- An allegation of sexual misconduct that had been filed in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and is now being referred to once again, was investigated and rejected by Milwaukee’s diocesan authorities. As before, there was no reason to doubt the assessment made by the North American ecclesiastical authorities and to give the matter wide publicity. It remains to be seen to what extent information can be found today that goes beyond the results of the investigation at that time.
Press Office Schoenstatt International