Editorial schoenstatt.org, Maria Fischer •
“Out of respect for the possible victims” and “the Schoenstatt Movement, a great movement that is spread throughout the world, with a very large footprint at the service of the Gospel,” Dr. Stephan Ackermann, the Bishop of Trier — the diocese where the Original Shrine is located and the headquarters for the International Schoenstatt Presidium, where the process for the beatification of Fr. Kentenich is in the diocesan phase — has adopted “a wider focus over the process […] “after debating with academics in various disciplines, historians, psychologists and educators.” He explains this focus in an interview on the website of the diocese’s ecclesial newspaper, “Paulinus”. As Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio commented to schoenstatt.org, the interview and its content are also the result of an express desire on his part. —
In addition to the explanation of the why and wherefore of the change of procedure already published in the press release of March 6, in the interview Bishop Ackermann reveals his decision to “look again at another part of the process, in fact, concluded”.
“There is an accusation by an American citizen against Fr. Joseph Kentenich, who claimed to have been abused by him between 1958-1962. The accusations were made in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in 1994 and were examined there, especially in light of the beatification process that was underway. The investigation into the accusations by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee gave rise to a report written by the local Church tribunal. The said report stated the position that it was not necessary to continue with the matter at this time.”
Everything was sent to the Diocese of Trier and is part of the documents in the process.
“Since then, more than 25 years have passed,” explained Mons. Ackermann in the interview. “In this time, we have gained a great deal of experience — all over the world — in bringing to light alleged cases of sexual abuse. However, I would like for it to be reexamined, also with regard to the accusation already investigated in the USA, if the investigation carried out at that time can also be considered sufficient according to current criteria, or if it ignored aspects that should definitely be taken into account in a final assessment. In this case, the investigation from that time will need to be completed, and if necessary, the results should be corrected.”
Now “it is possible for the General Presidium to give the Schoenstatt Family the following information”
On the same day, Fr. Juan Pablo Catoggio sent a communique to the movement’s official communication channels and the schoenstatt.org editorial team that beings with a very compelling sentence:
“With the today’s publication of an interview with Bishop Stephan Ackermann about the beatification process for Fr. Kentenich in Paulinus online, it is possible for the General Presidium to give the Schoenstatt Family the following information.” It seems to indicate a “now, finally…”
Then: “Given that this matter falls exclusively under the responsibility of the two dioceses mentioned, until now it was not possible for the directors of the Schoenstatt Movement to provide information about it.”
In this time of controversy on every side, from violent confrontations defending or accusing Fr. Kentenich and a serious distrust based on feeling that they were poorly informed (or even betrayed), it is possible that neither side, neither inside nor outside Schoenstatt, believe in the sincerity of the official statements.
The following is a personal opinion, based on long conversations. I see the communique as sincere:
“As the General Presidium, we expressly welcome the manner in which the bishop has proceeded with the goal of a full clarification.”
Original: Spanish. Translation: Sarah-Leah Pimentel, Cape Town, South Africa