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Apostolic Movement

Official statement of the International Schoenstatt Movement

General Presidium of the International Schoenstatt Movement

As the General Presidium of the International Schoenstatt Work, we acknowledge the decision of Bishop Dr. Stefan Ackermann to suspend the beatification process for the founder of the Schoenstatt Movement,  Father Joseph Kentenich. We accept this decision, not without thanks to the diocese for the work already  done in the process. Schoenstatt will make use of the suspension of the beatification process for further  intensive examination of the historical contexts.

Allegations of abuse against Father Kentenich were made public two years ago. In March 2020, the Vatican archives up to the end of the pontificate of Pope Pius XII in 1958 were opened. The impression was created  that the above-mentioned accusations had come to light through documents in these now accessible  archives; thus the real, previously veiled reason for Father Kentenich’s exile had been exposed. In fact, the  accusations published since 2020 come almost entirely from the archives of the Pallottines in Limburg – not  from the Roman archives, which have only now become accessible – and were already available during the  beatification process. Those involved in the process knew the files, but were not allowed to publish them.

The research so far shows that the documents from the Roman archives do not add anything substantially new to the accusations already known in the beatification proceedings. However, the newly accessible  archival material is significant because it helps to shed light on the overall situation of Schoenstatt’s  visitations and Father Kentenich’s time in exile.

On the background of the current debate about Father Kentenich, Bishop Ackermann had a further allegation of sexual abuse by Father Kentenich from an American citizen – which had been previously  investigated as part of the beatification process – re-investigated in 2021. We acknowledge the result  communicated in the press release of the diocese.

The research group announced by Bishop Ackermann in 2020, initially thought of as a historical commission, then convened as a group of experts, had not begun working in terms of content. The bishop nevertheless  encourages transparent and free research. We share this concern. Where previously restraint and discretion  were required out of consideration for the ongoing beatification proceedings, questions and findings can  now be treated and communicated with the necessary openness. Considerations regarding the framework of  the continued research are underway.

The bishop’s decision is an impulse for us as Schoenstatters. Further research into the contexts can help us to understand Schoenstatt’s founder even better, also as a personality who, aware of his mission for the  Church could evoke and endure opposition. Our striving for a contemporary authentic Christian life that  helps shape the Church and society is the best way to keep the importance of Father Kentenich alive for  today.

Schoenstatt International Coordination,
Höhrer Straße 103a, 56179 Vallendar Germany,
Mobil: 0049 157 8193 4602, E-Mail:


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